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Customs and Border Protection Series 1895

Customs and Border Protection Series, 1895

Individual Occupational Requirements

Series Definition:

This series covers two-grade interval administrative positions that supervise, lead, or perform work that involves detecting and preventing terrorists and instruments of terror weapons from entering the United States, and enforcing and administering laws relating to the right of persons to enter, reside in, or depart from the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the importation or exportation of merchandise. Customs and Border Protection Officers:

  • interview persons and examine documents to determine citizenship and immigration status;
  • make informed decisions regarding the admissibility of aliens into the United States and admitting, holding, or releasing merchandise;
  • obtain information about the description, characteristics, value, and country of origin of imported merchandise or agricultural products, by questioning and eliciting information from people;
  • search persons, baggage, cargo, and carriers for contraband;
  • monitor, examine, and process cargo containers at sea ports to facilitate importing merchandise; and
  • exercise sound judgment necessary to apprehend, detain, or arrest persons at the point of entry who are violating Federal immigration, customs, agriculture, or other laws.


Refer to the "Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Administrative and Management Positions" for information about substitution of education.



General Experience for GS-5 Positions: Three years of general experience is required, one year of which must have been equivalent to the GS-4 level in the Federal service. Such experience may have been gained in the performance of substantive duties that required the ability to meet and deal with people and the ability to learn and apply a body of facts. Examples of such duties include explaining administrative requirements and procedures to others, or screening forms to assure that they are completed properly in accordance with requirements. These duties may have been performed in customer service, claims adjustment, or information receptionist positions, for example. They may also have been performed in assistant, aid, and secretarial/clerical positions. Work experience involving lead and supervisory duties or operating a business may also have provided the required knowledge, skills, and abilities. Judgments about the acceptability of experience should not be based solely on the title of the position held; rather, the actual duties performed should be evaluated to determine whether or not the experience is creditable. The performance of predominantly typing, filing, copying, or messenger duties, or other purely mechanistic tasks, is not creditable as general experience, nor is experience in trades and crafts or equipment operator work.

Specialized Experience for GS-7 Positions: One year of specialized experience comparable in level of difficulty and responsibility to the GS-5 level in the Federal service is required. This is experience that entailed the performance of substantive duties in inspections work at borders, seaports, airports, or other ports of entry and/or work involving preliminary screening of persons for entry and immigration status, or compliance/regulatory work. Inspections experience must have demonstrated the ability to apply specialized knowledge of the laws, regulations, and procedures for importing and exporting merchandise to and from the United States and/or law enforcement work at the local, State or Federal levels, which included dealing with persons suspected of entering the United States illegally. Compliance/regulatory work experience must have demonstrated the ability to collect, develop, and evaluate facts, evidence, and pertinent data in assessing compliance with or violations of laws, rules, or regulations.

Qualifying Experience for Positions above GS-7: Experience that demonstrated the ability to make rapid, accurate judgments and decisions with respect to the application of the regulations, instructions, and procedures for importing and exporting merchandise to and from the United States, or enforcement and administration of laws relating to the right of persons to enter, reside in, or depart from the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, a minimum of one year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level is required.

Personal Qualities:

In addition to other qualifications, candidates must possess traits and characteristics that are important to success in customs inspection work. Among these qualities are alertness, ability to work effectively in stressful situations, ability in oral expression, tact, capacity for effective public relations, and good judgment. Candidates must give evidence that they are capable of representing the United States satisfactorily in contacts with persons from other countries.


Applicants are required to pass a written test and a structured interview. The purpose of the structured interview is to observe and evaluate certain personal characteristics of applicants to determine whether they possess qualities essential to the successful performance of the duties of the position.

Other Requirements

Applicants must be willing and able to engage effectively in contacts with hostile persons, and to work independently under conditions of high accountability. A background investigation may also be employed in assessing applicants' suitability. Some positions may require the ability to communicate in a foreign language.

Driver's License

Applicants are required to have, or must obtain before appointment, an automobile driver's license currently valid in the State in which they are domiciled or principally employed.

Medical Requirements

General: The physical demands of the essential job tasks range from sedentary to arduous and are classified into the following categories: heavy lifting/carrying, crawling, kneeling, working in confined spaces, pushing/pulling, climbing, bending/stooping, running/walking, sitting, standing, driving, writing, vision, comprehension/reading, and communication. Incumbents are responsible for: lifting items to inspect cargo and search for contraband; climbing ladders and climbing onto cargo; reading, comparing and reviewing shipping documents and itineraries to determine cargo and time of arrival of vessels and airplanes; communicating with citizens, passengers and exporters to exchange and gather information and testify at trials; driving vehicles; running to pursue suspects; making arrests; using firearms; conducting traffic control; and, operating computers, radios, and small hand tools.

Environmental: Incumbents perform job tasks in a variety of environmental conditions. These conditions include working (1) in hot or cold outdoor temperatures (i.e., below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees), (2) at high elevations (i.e., 15 feet or greater above ground level), (3) near moving vehicles and aircraft, (4) in dusty conditions, (5) near fumes, (6) in stressful conditions, (7) for extended and irregular hours, (8) under variable lighting conditions, and (9) under high noise conditions. The possibility of exposure to various types of harmful chemical and/or biological agents by terrorists is real.

Vision: Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Near vision - must be at least 20/40 Snellen binocular (with or without corrective lenses). Binocular visual acuity must be at least 20/30 (corrected) and 20/100 (uncorrected).
  • Color perception - must be able to distinguish primary colors as defined by color perception Ishihara Pseudoisochromatic plate tests. Use of an x-chrome lens is not acceptable.
  • Refractive surgery - individuals who have undergone refractive surgery (i.e., surgery to improve distant visual acuity) must meet approved requirements which include documentation that they have passed specific exam and protocol testing that may be required. Must be LASIK-free from residual effect three months post-procedure. For other procedures, must be free from residual effects one year after surgery.

Hearing: Uncorrected bilateral hearing loss must not exceed 25 dB for the average of the following frequencies: 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hz; and must not exceed 45 dB loss at 4000 and 6000 Hz in either ear. The difference in hearing levels between the better ear thresholds and worse ear thresholds may not exceed 15 dB for the average of 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hz only; and must not exceed 30 dB loss at 4000 and 6000 Hz only. Use of a hearing aid is not allowed.

Special Medical Requirements: The duties of this position are of a strenuous and hazardous nature. Additionally, the position requires a high degree of interaction and responsibility to the public. Therefore, any medical condition resulting from an injury or disease or any psychiatric condition may result in disqualification for appointment either: (1) if the condition(s) would affect the ability of the individual to perform the essential functions of the position; or (2) if recurrence of the condition(s) cannot be medically ruled out, and the duties of the position are such that a recurrence would pose a reasonable probability of substantial harm to the individual or to others, if the individual were appointed to the position.

Appointments will be contingent upon a candidate's passing a pre-employment medical examination and drug test to ascertain possession of the physical, emotional and mental requirements for the position. A direct relationship exists between specific medical requirements and the condition and the duties of the position. Any chronic disease or condition affecting the auditory, cardiovascular, endocrine and metabolic, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, integumentary, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychological, respiratory, and visual systems that would impair full performance of the duties of the position is disqualifying. These medical requirements must be met by individuals subsequent to appointment and for inservice placement actions, including reinstatement of former employees and transfers from positions not covered by this standard.

Use Of Firearms

For all positions, applicants must, after appointment, qualify and maintain proficiency with firearms.

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