How to Become an ICE Special Agent

A career with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau as a Special Agent is a demanding one.  The hours are long and these officers are expected to maintain extremely high professional standards, as they are responsible for the country’s security.  Competition for these jobs is extremely high despite more than 20,000 positions, so ICE is extremely

Basic qualifications for ICE Special Agent jobs:

  • Be under 37 years of age unless applying for veteran’s preference
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Resided in the U.S. for the past three years or served in the federal government or military overseas
  • Pass a thorough background security check
  • Pass a medical examination
  • Pass a drug test
  • Serve a minimum of three years
  • Willingness to relocate

Educational Requirements for ICE Special Agents

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement, while those with a master’s degree or higher may experience competitive advantages in the hiring process, initial pay rating and career advancement.  The most qualified applicants will have a degree in one of the following concentrations:

  • Criminal justice
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Foreign languages
  • Computer science

Applicants with a college degree and at least three years in a criminal investigative or law enforcement field are considered highly competitive by the agency.

ICE Special Agent Application, Interview and Testing Process

In order to apply for ICE Special Agent jobs, candidates should search the job listings at  If an ICE Special Agent position is available, the candidate should submit a resume to the Office of Personnel Management, using the link on the job posting.

Upon approval of the pre-test, the candidate will be scheduled for two interviews.  The first is a structured interview with a panel of three ICE Special Agents who will evaluate the candidate’s character, intellect and emotional maturity.  The candidate will be asked various questions involving possible scenarios in order to ascertain their decision-making skills and ability to relate to others.  The second interview will be with an ICE management official and will provide additional questioning along similar and related issues.

The candidate will be required to provide a writing sample.  The essay will be based on a picture provided to the candidate and will be used to assess the candidate’s organizational aptitude, communication skills, and writing ability.

If the interviews and writing tests are all passed, the candidate will then be subject to an in-depth background check of criminal, job and drug use history.  A medical exam and physical test will then be administered.

If the candidate meets all of the physical and personal qualifications, they will be transferred to the ICE training facility for a 22-week training program.

Back to Top