Immigration and Customs Inspector  What They Do

Just the Facts


Immigration and Customs Inspectors Career Video



Insider Info

dot Customs and border protection officers work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This is one branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

dotAccording to the Customs and Border Protection website, customs and border protection officers keep borders secure while helping legitimate travel and trade. They serve at over 300 frontline points of entry to the U.S. at border crossings, airports and marinas.

dotThe points of entry are located throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Other points of entry are located in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

dotCustoms and border protection officers enforce laws related to trade, revenue and immigration. They seize contraband items and decide whether to admit persons to the United States.

Customs and border protection officers inspect vehicles, ships, aircraft, trucks, cargo, persons and merchandise.

dotThese officers wear a uniform. They may be required to work overtime and to work at all hours of the day. Sometimes the work is demanding.

dotAlong with their other responsibilities, these officers work to detect and prevent terrorists and weapons of mass destruction from entering the country.

To work as a customs and border protection officer, you must qualify to carry a firearm. You will receive random drug testing.

dotApplicants must pass a pre-application fitness test before applying to become a customs and border protection officer. They must also pass a background investigation and a medical examination.

dotTechnology is becoming increasingly important in this occupation.

Wes Ferris works for a customs service. "As technology changes, and as criminals find ingenious methods to smuggle, then our levels of technology training increase as well," he says. "Technology drives the trends and the way we're prepared to do the job."

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.


At a Glance

Enforce regulations related to immigration, customs and taxes

  • Customs and border protection officers can be stationed overseas
  • As criminals find ingenious methods to smuggle, officers need to keep up with technology
  • High school is the minimum requirement, but post-secondary education is a big plus