How To Become a Customs Agent
The CBP (Customs and Border Protection) agency, as of 2003, encompasses the US Border Patrol along with Office Field Operations (Customs) and Office of Air and Marine. Customs was formed in 1789 by George Washington to collect duties on imports, which are goods being brought into the United States from other countries. A CBP officer is tasked with enforcing over four hundred customs, immigration, and agriculture laws, ensure duty forms have been properly and accurately filled out, collect duties, check for weaponry, and more. CBP officers must remain alert for long periods of time, be keen observers, and work with x-ray and other technology to detect illegal activity. You may need to confiscate items that should not enter the country or prevent individuals who are not authorized from entering. You may work in an airport, port, or border crossing. Individuals seeking positions as customs agents should be both physically and psychologically strong with no previous issues on record with the law. Customs and border patrol agents must be alert and excellent at observing and analyzing behavior and situations as they arise.
To become a customs agent, a relevant degree such as a bachelors in criminal justice, international affairs, or law enforcement is recommended. While not required, a degree may enable you to be hired at a higher level. Upon completion of your degree, you can apply for a customs agent position through the Department of Homeland Security. You must be able to pass a background check, drug testing, and be willing to relocate temporarily for intensive training for several months. The training is usually carried out in Virginia or in Gynco, Georgia at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers. Civil servants regulations are in place to govern the hiring of customs agents. You must be at least 20 years of age and meet strict physical and personal standards. Your vision, hearing, strength, and agility will be tested. You must be honest and be of good integrity, judgment, and responsibility. You must be able to be both vigilant, serious, but polite to the people you are working with.
Customs Agent Education Requirements
Immigration and Customs Agents typically take courses in a criminal justice program. Learning about international law, constitutional law, drug smuggling, customs fraud, pornography, money laundering, human trafficking, and similar topics is helpful. As a US Customs Agent, you will be conducting searches of incoming flights, cargo in vessels, and vehicles. Depending on your specific duties, you may also inspect individuals crossing the border, their luggage, and their handbags and backpacks seeking out illegal materials such as weapons, drugs, pornography, or any items pointing to illegal activity.
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