Law

Border force officer

Border Force officers secure the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK.

Annual Salary

£23,000 to £31,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 42

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% fewer Border force officer jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll protect UK border entry points like ports, airports, postal depots and the rail network.

You’ll check passengers for immigration control purposes, and you'll enforce customs regulations by making sure the right tax is paid on goods. You'll also be looking for and removing illegal items like drugs, firearms, and counterfeit goods.

Your duties will depend on which part of the country you’re based in. Your day-to-day work could include:

  • 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

You might also take part in counter-terrorism activities or prevention of human trafficking.

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 background and security checks
  • pass a medical examination
  • have a good level of physical fitness

To enter at officer level, you’ll also need to have one of the following:

You could also start out as an assistant officer and work you way up. For an assistant officer role you’ll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths.

GOV.UK has more information about careers in the civil service and how to apply.

If you're a graduate, you can apply through the Civil Service Fast Stream.

£23,000 to £31,000

Starter salary: £23,000

Experienced salary: £27,000

Overtime working may mean you can earn more.

These figures are a guide.

38 to 42

You'll usually work 40 hours a week on a shift system, which could include nights, weekends and bank holidays.

You'll mainly work indoors, based at a port or airport, but you'll spend time away when working on investigations or attending court. You’ll usually need a full UK driving licence.

The role can be physically demanding.

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • decision making skills
  • the ability to manage challenging situations in a calm and professional manner
  • leadership skills
  • teamworking skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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