Border Force officer

Border Force officers protect UK border entry points like ports and airports, by enforcing immigration and customs regulations.

Average salary (a year)

£23,000 Starter


£31,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 42 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become a Border Force officer

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working your way up
  • applying directly
  • applying through the Civil Service Fast Stream service


You may be able to become an assistant officer through an advanced apprenticeship in public service operational delivery. You would then move up to an officer role through further training and promotion within the service.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information


You could start out as an assistant officer and work your way up.

To do this you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths or equivalent qualifications.

Direct application

To enter at officer level, you'll need to have either:

  • experience of serving in the army or the police force
  • 2 A levels or equivalent qualifications at grade E or above

Other routes

You can apply through the Civil Service Fast Stream if you have a degree.

More information

Further information

Read more about working for the Civil Service.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • be a UK national with no restrictions on your stay
  • have lived in the UK for the last 5 years
  • pass enhanced background checks
  • pass security checks
  • pass a medical check
  • have a good level of fitness
  • have a full UK or EU driving licence, held for at least 12 months

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • checking travel documents and passports
  • questioning passengers about their travel plans, and deciding if they need further questioning
  • searching people, luggage and vehicles
  • writing case notes
  • working with the police on major cases
  • attending court as a witness

Working environment

You could work at a border entry point or in a court.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

You'll get continuous training during your first 6 to 12 months. Once you’ve developed your skills and passed your probationary period, you'll have the full responsibilities of a Border Force officer.

With experience you could then become a team leader, or move into a management position. You could also use your skills in training and working with new staff.

You may also be able to apply for roles in other departments of the Home Office or Civil Service.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Customer Liaison Officer (Q064)

  • Wage : £11,750.00 Annually
  • Location: LE11 2TU

Hull City Council Children and Family Services Office Apprentice

  • Wage : £136.90 Weekly
  • Location: Hull HU1 3DT

Courses In England

Extended Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (Ambulance, Police, Fire, Prison, Customs, Armed Forces, Public Services)

  • Provider: Barking & Dagenham College
  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location: Romford

Public Services - Diploma In Public Services (Qcf)

  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Turnford

Get help using this service

Call 08000 150 950

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

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