Q. I have some medical issues. How can I resolve them?
A. Look at the bottom of this page for some valuable information from the Border Patrol Hiring Unit (BPHU).
Q. I have a shoplifting conviction. Will that keep me out?
A. I can't say for sure. Many times a small misdemeanor offense will not keep you out of government service, HOWEVER, failure to disclose that information on your background investigation will close your case for good. Any arrest will more than likely throw your file into Arrest Review. AR is a weeding out process that the Border Patrol does to examine applicants on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Problems with bad credit and other blotches in your background should also be disclosed. They WILL find out.
Q. I was given a (MIP, Wee in Public, Cite & Release ticket for ??? PICK ONE). Will that put me into arrest review?
A. If you have to ask, chances are, it will. Arrest review is a procedure the Border Patrol has adopted to weed out criminals, potential criminals and knuckleheads. It is not a death sentence. Many have gone through arrest review and are now productive agents.
Q. Will bad credit keep me out of the Border Patrol?
A. Bad credit is a sin but it is not unforgivable. If you have made amends by paying your debt and can show proof, chances are you will make it through the background investigation. If you just blew it off, you can stop reading here. Bankruptcy is not necessarily looked upon with the same stigma as it was years ago. As long as the BK has been discharged and you have not accumulated more bad debt, you should be OK.
Q. I have crummy vision. Does the Border patrol give waivers?
A. I am not an expert on the vision requirements. I understand that the requirements state that your worst eye can be no worse than 20/100. It must be 20/20 corrected. My advice to applicants is that if your vision is good with contacts or glasses, go for it. Monocular vision (being able to see with only one eye) is disqualifying. If you are rejected for vision, you should be aware that many applicants have had good luck by obtaining another vision test by their own doctor at their own expense and filing an appeal. The VERY WORST thing they can say is no. (I would not give this advice to persons who are going to spend large amounts of money to go to a compressed hiring session.).
Lasik or Excimer eye surgery is acceptable for correction of vision. Several applicants who were very motivated to obtain a position as a Border Patrol Agent had the surgery with excellent (and immediate) results.
Read this new information regarding RK: Refractive surgical procedures (such as Radial Keratotomy, Photorefractive surgery (laser), Keratoplasty, LASIK surgery) are considered acceptable provided the individual's vision meets the above standards post-operatively, and an acceptable recovery time period has occurred. An acceptable amount of time is likely to be much greater for RK than LASIK. The individual must be free of post-operative complications. The results of an eye examination by a board-certified Ophthalmologist will be required to insure that vision is not impeded due to post-operative complications such as infection, glare and contrast-sensitivity.
After having LASIK, you must wait thirty days to request that your vision medical hold be lifted by the SEU. This is to give your eyes plenty of time to respond to the surgery. The folks on the message board who have had it are usually more than happy to share their experiences with you.
Q. I am a male and I never got around to registering for the draft. What do I do now?
A. (This info was taken from the Selective Service web site and you can find the Selective Service web site HERE.)
MEN CANNOT REGISTER AFTER REACHING AGE 26.
According to law, a man must register with Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. Selective Service will accept late registrations but not after a man has reached age 26.
Some men may have failed to register during the time they were eligible to do so and may now find they are ineligible for certain benefits.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU DID NOT REGISTER AND ARE NOW 26 OR OLDER?
If you have passed your 26th birthday and are now being denied eligibility for Federal student financial aid, Federal job training, or Federal employment, or are having difficulty obtaining U.S. citizenship because you failed to register, you have the following recourse available to you: Explain to the official handling your case (for example, a student financial aid officer) the reasons for your failure to register with Selective Service. A non-registrant may not be denied any benefit if he can "show by a preponderance of evidence" that his failure to register was not knowing and willful. Offer as much evidence supporting your case, and as much detail, as possible.
HOW TO GET AN OFFICIAL SELECTIVE SERVICE RESPONSE SAYING YOU WERE OR WERE NOT REQUIRED TO REGISTER
If you did not register with Selective Service, and are now a man over age 25, you may be ineligible for certain Federal or state programs and benefits, including U.S. citizenship. Some agencies may ask you to provide an official response from the Selective Service indicating if you were or were not required to register. To receive such a letter from the Selective Service System, please call 1-847-688-6888. Your call will be answered by an automated voice processing system. Please refrain from pressing any numbers, and an operator will soon come on the line to assist you. You may also send a written request to the Selective Service System at P.O. Box 94638, Palatine, IL 60094-4638. Ask for a "status information" letter. You will have to describe, in detail, the circumstances you believe prevented you from registering and provide copies of documents showing any periods when you were hospitalized, institutionalized, or incarcerated occurring between your 18th and 26th birthdays. If you are a non-citizen, you may be required to provide documents that show when you entered the United States. Please include your name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and return address.
For your convenience, you can download the Request for Status Information Letter form from the Selective Service web site along with the directions for completing this form. Both documents are in PDF format.
FINAL DECISION: The benefit agency official handling your case, not the Selective Service, will determine whether you have shown that your failure to register was not a knowing and willful failure to register. The final decision regarding your eligibility for the benefit that you seek will be made by the agency granting the benefit (for example, for student financial aid, this would be the Department of Education). In some agencies, an appeals process is available.
* Men born from March 29, 1957 to December 31, 1959 were never required to register because the registration program was not in operation at the time they turned 18. The requirement to register was reinstated in 1980 and applies to all men born on or after January 1, 1960.
Q. Is there a list of valuable phone numbers that I might need to keep the hiring process moving?
A. Yes, and here they are: (Please leave me a message on the message board to update numbers/personnel.) Please refer to the Important Phone Numbers page.
Q. Do you have any advise on how to keep the ball rolling regarding background investigations and oral boards?
A. Luckily, we are blessed with input from active field agents who take it upon themselves to provide good advice for applicants. Here are some words of wisdom from an oral board member and recruiter:
When you receive your packet, be sure and read the instructions carefully. Complete all forms as required, and as NEATLY AS POSSIBLE. Much of the paperwork I reviewed when I did boards a few weeks ago was difficult to read. If we have a difficult time reading it the folks at the National Hiring Center will too. If we cannot read it you will be contacted for clarification, and this slows you down.
Make sure your paperwork is correctly filled out. Leave no gaps in your list of residences and employment history. If you were unemployed, indicate so. Leaving gaps in information insures that your processing will be delayed as they must contact you to fill in the blanks.
Complete all required paperwork in a timely manner, and be sure you meet all the deadlines. Not meeting the deadlines will further delay your processing. You can request extensions, but that will delay your processing.
If you know that you need your vision corrected, or have other issues such as being out of shape, you should have addressed this before you applied. If you have an issue such as this, be aware that it may slow down your processing.
When you complete your paperwork, send the hiring center what they have directed you to send per the green form titled Border Patrol Agent Pre-Appointment Checklist 2, and MAKE A COPY OF EVERYTHING FOR YOUR RECORDS. Make a second copy of the required documents on the checklist to bring with you to the oral board. In other words, complete the paperwork and make two copies, one for you and one for the oral board. I have been informed that the hiring center has experienced a number of applicants calling them a day or two before their board requesting copies of their paperwork. There are too many applicants to accommodate all such requests. Speaking from a board members perspective it would be nice if your paperwork was organized and clipped together ready to go when you arrive for your oral board.
Do not call and request to reschedule your oral board unless absolutely, positively, necessary. I am informed that they are about to become a little stricter about oral board scheduling. You cannot pick and choose your time and location. If you want a great career such as this, you must sacrifice some of your time when needed.
Not completing the paperwork in a timely manner, failing to address things that YOU KNOW will be an issue before you apply, and requesting extensions will cause you delays and frustration as you watch others advance.
Q. How do you complete the financial disclosure statement?
A. Mary answered that one for us:
The applicant does not need to complete: 1d Agency Identification Number; 1g Employee Status; 1h Assigned Directorate/Office; or 1i Company or Home Agency.
They do need to complete the rest of the document completely though or it will be rejected. If they don't have anything that applies, then No or None must be indicated.
Internet guide to understanding the Border Patrol Agent Physical Requirements. (Kindly provided by Mr. Morris, formerly of the BPHU)
THE FIVE VISION CRITERIA ARE:
The five criteria listed must all be met collectively. For example, if your vision is 20/20 corrected, but your uncorrected vision is 20/200 in each eye, you do not meet the vision standards. Another example, if your vision in one eye only corrects to 20/40, then you do not meet the vision standards. One more example, if you are colorblind or have color vision deficiencies, but your vision is 20/20 uncorrected or corrected you do not meet the standards. Vision in one eye only is disqualifying (monocular vision). Deficiencies in depth perception is disqualifying. A person with color vision deficiency is not automatically disqualified. The individual is required to provide a diagnostic test. Once the test is evaluated a determination will be made based on the severity of the color vision deficiency. Those persons who attempt to meet the color vision standards that wear X Chrome lenses will not be accepted and the wearing of them does not constitute consideration under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). No waivers are granted for any part of the visual standards.
VISUAL CORRECTIVE PROCEDURES
Radial Keratotomy or Orthokeratology will not be accepted as a means of meeting Border Patrol Agent vision requirements. However, newer corrective visual procedures (LASIK , added by Webmaster, not Mr. Morris' words) have not been ruled out, for example, these procedures are looked at on a case-by-case basis. There is no guarantee they will be accepted because of possible complications with the procedure or individual characteristics. The applicant must of his/her own volition decide to undergo a visual corrective procedure without regard to being able to qualify for the BPA position. It is important that you consult with the ophthalmologist prior to making any decision.
(Webmaster note): If you KNOW you are blind as a bat and you intend to get LASIK done in order to be hired by the Border Patrol, you should get it done ASAP. Of course, the ideal situation would be to have the procedure done BEFORE you go to your medical exams. If and when you get your medical disqualification letter, you have 30 days to appeal. Have the doctor who did the procedure send a letter on their office letterhead stating your new visual acuity and any restrictions that would not allow you to perform the full range of duties as a BPA. That letter should be sent to:
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Attn: Douglas C. Halvorson,
Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building
1 Federal Drive, Room 400
(Confidential- Medical Appeal)
Ft. Snelling, MN 55111-4007
For individuals who have had Radial Keratotomy: Only those who have had it in the very distant past, should continue to apply for the BPA position, as this also will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
A loss of 30 decibels in either ear is disqualifying at the 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz levels. The use of a hearing aid does not constitute consideration under the Americans With Disability Act. No waivers are granted for any part of the hearing standards.
Diseases or conditions resulting in indistinct speech are disqualifying. Speech aids or prosthetic devices that are designed to amplify sound from the larynx are not acceptable and have no merit under the ADA.
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