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Border Patrol Enforcement Series 1896

Border Patrol Enforcement Series, 1896

Individual Occupational Requirements

Education and Experience Requirements

The following table shows the amounts of education and/or experience required to qualify for positions covered by this standard.

GS-5 4-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree 1 year equivalent to at least GS-4 None
GS-7 1 full academic year of graduate education or law school or
superior academic achievement
None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-5
GS-9 None None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-7
GS-11 None None 1 year equivalent to at least GS-9
GS-12 and above None None 1 year equivalent to at least next lower grade level

Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable. Note that academic study may be prorated to allow combinations of education and experience that total 1 year for GS-5, e.g., 1 year of college study is equivalent to 3 months of general experience, 2 years of study to 6 months of general experience, and 3 years of study to 9 months of general experience.


Undergraduate Education: Major study -- any field.

Graduate Education: Major study -- fields related to law enforcement, e.g., police science, or law school education meets the requirements for GS-7.

Education is not creditable for positions above the GS-7 level.



General Experience (for GS-5 positions): Experience that demonstrated the ability to:

  • Take charge, maintain composure, and make sound decisions in stressful situations.
  • Learn law enforcement regulations, methods, and techniques through classroom training and/or on-the-job instruction.
  • Gather factual information through questioning, observation, and examination of documents and records.

These abilities may have been gained in positions such as:

  • Interviewer in a public or private service agency who deals with requests for services or benefits; and who explains, interprets, and applies rules, regulations, and procedures.
  • Claims adjuster or journalist whose work requires gathering information through public contacts.
  • Participant in community action programs who performs work such as volunteer teaching or counseling.
  • Building guard, prison guard, institutional police, or similar position that requires learning regulations and dealing with people.
  • Customer relations work that requires the applicant to obtain accurate information, make logical determinations, and resolve practical problems.

Specialized Experience (for positions above GS-5): Experience in law enforcement or other responsible work that demonstrated the ability to:

  • Make arrests and exercise sound judgment in the use of firearms.
  • Deal effectively with individuals or groups of persons in a courteous, tactful manner in connection with law enforcement matters.
  • Analyze information rapidly and make prompt decisions or take prompt and appropriate law enforcement action in light of applicable laws, court decisions, and sound law enforcement procedures.
  • Develop and maintain contact with a network of informants.

These abilities may have been gained in work such as:

  • Inspection of persons and their records to determine their eligibility to enter the United States under immigration laws.
  • Correctional or rehabilitation work involving criminal offenders, or residents in public or private institutions.
  • Criminal investigation, police officer, or other law enforcement work that required the ability to plan and conduct investigations, plan and make arrests, serve court orders, use firearms, and deal with people in a persuasive, tactful, and resourceful manner.

For positions at GS-9 and above, experience must have included interpreting and enforcing Immigration and Naturalization Service or comparable laws, rules, and regulations.

Test Requirements

Refer to Section V of this Manual for information about test requirements. Also, since all Agents must learn the Spanish language, applicants must successfully complete a language test (in addition to the written test requirement for competitive appointment at grades GS-5 and GS-7). Those who do not speak Spanish will undergo an artificial language test (ALT) designed to assess their ability to learn Spanish. Those who are fluent in the Spanish language will be given the choice of taking the ALT or a Spanish proficiency test. Both tests will be administered on a pass/fail basis.

Bilingual Ability

Border Patrol work requires the ability to speak and read Spanish as well as English. All persons appointed are instructed in speaking and reading Spanish as part of the basic training for Border Patrol Agents, and must be proficient by the final probationary examination (usually 10 months after entry on duty).

Ability To Use Firearms

All positions require qualification in the use of firearms. Proficiency with standard issue firearms must be demonstrated for successful completion of training. All Agents are required to carry a handgun in the performance of their duties, and to qualify periodically with that handgun.

Valid Driver's License

Applicants must possess a valid driver's license at the time of appointment. They must qualify to operate motor vehicles in accordance with applicable government regulations after they are hired.

Employment Interview

Applicants for all grade levels must demonstrate in a pre-employment interview that they possess the traits and characteristics important to Border Patrol Agent positions. These include judgment, problem solving, emotional stability, and interpersonal skills.

Maximum Entry Age Requirements

Under the authority of Public Law 100-238, the U. S. Department of Justice has established the date immediately preceding one's 37th birthday as the maximum age for original entry into the position of Border Patrol Agent.

Medical Requirements

The duties of positions in this series involve physical exertion under rigorous environmental conditions including unpredictable exposure to loud sounds, stress, and extremes of heat and cold; irregular and protracted hours of work over rugged terrain; patrol duties on foot, motor vehicle, and aircraft; and participation in physical training. Applicants must be in sound physical condition and of good muscular development.

Vision: inocular vision is required and must test 20/40 (Snellen) without corrective lenses. Uncorrected vision must test at least 20/70 in each eye. Vision in each eye must be corrected to 20/20. Near vision, corrected or uncorrected, must be sufficient to read Jaeger Type 2 at 14 inches. Ability to distinguish basic colors by pseudoisochromatic plate test (missing no more than four plates) is required, as is normal peripheral vision. Based on the results of clinical studies of candidates who have undergone Radial Keratotomy eye operations to correct vision defects, the medical techniques of Radial Keratotomy or Orthokeratology will not be accepted as a means of meeting Border Patrol Agent vision requirements.

Hearing: Using an audiometer for measurement, there should be no loss of 30 or more decibels in each ear at the 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz levels.

Speech: Diseases or conditions resulting in indistinct speech are disqualifying.

Respiratory System: Any chronic disease or condition affecting the respiratory system that would impair the full performance of duties of the position is disqualifying, e.g., conditions that result in reduced pulmonary function, shortness of breath, or painful respiration.

Cardiovascular System: The following conditions are disqualifying: organic heart disease (compensated or not), hypertension with repeated readings that exceed 150 systolic and 90 diastolic without medication, and symptomatic peripheral vascular disease and severe varicose veins.

Gastrointestinal System: Chronic symptomatic diseases or conditions of the gastrointestinal tract are disqualifying. Medical conditions requiring long-term use of medication(s) may be disqualifying. Each case will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis prior to any employment decision.

Endocrine System: Systemic metabolic disease that is likely to affect job performance adversely, such as uncontrolled diabetes, is disqualifying.

Genito Urinary Disorders: Chronic, symptomatic diseases or conditions of the genito urinary tract are disqualifying.

Extremities and Spine: Any deformity or disease that would interfere with range of motion or dexterity to the extent that it would affect adversely the full performance of the duties of the position is disqualifying.

Hernias: Inguinal and femoral hernias with or without the use of a truss are disqualifying. Other hernias are disqualifying if they interfere with performance of the duties of the position.

Nervous System: Applicants must possess emotional and mental stability with no history of a basic personality disorder. Any neurological disorder that could result in seizures, convulsions, loss of consciousness, or decreased neurological or muscular function is disqualifying.

Miscellaneous: Though not mentioned specifically above, any other disease or condition that interferes with the full performance of duties is also grounds for medical rejection. Before entrance on duty, all applicants must undergo a pre-employment medical examination and be medically suitable to perform the full range of duties of the position efficiently and without hazard to themselves and others. Failure to meet any one of the required medical qualifications will be disqualifying for appointment. These standards are considered minimum standards and will not be waived in any case. Applicants found to have a correctable condition may be restored to any existing list of eligibles for further consideration for appointment when the disqualifying condition is satisfactorily corrected or eliminated.

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