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How to get a job as a Border Force Officer

Category: Career opportunity, Home Office, Civil Service, job description, Civil Service Jobs, Job Announcement

Career and Talent Development




I’m Alison, and I’m a senior recruiter for the Home Office. We’re advertising for roles across our ports and airports. I want to help you understand what these roles do, what it’s like to work in them and how we recruit to them.

The work of the Home Office is to build a safe, fair and prosperous UK. Border Force is the part of the Home Office responsible for managing UK border control by enforcing immigration and customs regulations and working with the wider department on counter terrorism, organised crime, tackling modern slavery and trafficking. This is some of the most important and challenging work in Government.

In return, we offer one of the highest starting salaries for this grade across the civil service, a Civil Service Pension with employer contribution rates of at least 26.6%, as well as a range of other brilliant benefits including shift allowances and 25 days annual leave on appointment, rising with service.

 What does a Border Force Officer do?  

As a Border Force Officer you could be performing tasks including

  • operating primary control points that make decisions whether or not to admit passengers to the UK;
  • detecting and investigating offences arising from the movement of prohibited and restricted goods;
  • supporting aviation, maritime and international rail operations; and
  • arresting people and searching premises or vehicles. 

Our job adverts spell out exactly what skills and experience are required for these roles, but we’re looking for talented individuals with excellent interpersonal skills who enjoy interacting with colleagues, members of the public and external stakeholders. They should be flexible, adaptable problem solvers who can successfully perform a range of tasks. They will be able to confidently manage potentially difficult and challenging situations and demonstrate leadership ability. In some locations it is essential that they hold a full manual driving licence – please check the candidate pack for more information.


What does a Border Force Officer look like?

There’s no one type of person working at the Home Office. Just like in UK society, everyone’s different. We believe different backgrounds, different perspectives and different voices add up to richer, fuller thinking that helps us deliver fairer, better outcomes. That’s why we’re committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive workplace where all our people can bring their whole selves to work and perform at their best.

However, please note that these are reserved posts and so only open to UK nationals and you should have been resident in the UK for the last 5 years. Please refer to the Civil Service Nationality Rules for more information.


How do I apply for a job as a Border Force Officer?

We strive to make our recruitment fair, open and to appoint only on merit, and as a result, elements of our selection processes can sometimes feel unfamiliar to external candidates, so hopefully it’ll help if I explain how they work.

1.   Pre-application tests

When you register your interest in one of the roles on the Civil Service Jobs website you will first be asked to complete two online tests

  • Verbal Reasoning, which will test your ability to identify relevant information and draw logical conclusions from written information
  • Situational Judgement, which will test your ability to demonstrate judgement and decision-making relating to the Civil Service Behaviours that are most relevant to the role.

 If you pass both these tests you will be able to complete a full application.

2.   Application

Applications will be submitted via the Civil Service Jobs website. As part of the application you will be asked to submit a CV demonstrating your skills, qualifications and experience.

If there are a large number of applications, and initial sift will be carried out based on behaviour 1 ‘Making Effective Decisions’. If your application progresses to a full sift, all behaviours will then be considered.

3.   Interviews

If you pass the sift, you will be invited to attend a Pre Recorded Video Interview which will be based on behaviours and strengths detailed in the Success Profiles. Some questions may be closely aligned to the ‘essential criteria’ in the job advert.

If you pass this stage, you will be invited to attend a face-to-face interview which will be based on behaviours and strengths as above.



Due to the expected volume of applicants, it will not be possible to give feedback to all candidates throughout the selection process.

Reserve Lists

If we identify more appointable candidates from this campaign than we have roles available, we may hold reserve lists for those not initially made an offer for 12 months. If similar future vacancies do become available, requiring the same skills and experience demonstrated, we may be in a position to offer roles for suitable candidates on reserve without having to undergo another recruitment process.


I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into the work of a Border Force Officer and how we recruit them. If you’re interested in applying, you can access the full adverts. The closing date is 23:55 on Monday, 12th July.

We’ll be sharing more insights from colleagues working in different roles and at different levels across the Home Office in the near future; in the meantime, you can check out all our currently advertised vacancies on the Civil Service Jobs website.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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