How to Become an Immigration Enforcement Agent

In order to receive consideration for immigration enforcement agent (IEA) jobs with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), candidates must meet the following basic qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Possess a valid state driver’s license
  • Be free from any arrests or criminal convictions
  • Possess no undue financial obligations
  • Have a superlative employment history without any terminations
  • Pass a medical exam and physical fitness test
  • Pass a drug test
  • Possess Spanish language proficiency or the ability to learn it
  • Willingness to relocate in the U.S. or abroad

Educational Requirements for IEA Jobs

The minimum requirement for an immigration enforcement agent at the GS-5 level is a bachelor’s degree or professional experience equivalent to 3 years as a GS-4 federal law enforcement officer.  A combination of completed courses and professional experience may suffice for an entry-level position.  Although the U.S. I.C.E. does not specify what majors are preferred, many prior applicants cite success with majors related to law enforcement like criminal justice or immigration law.

In order to enter at the GS-7 level, candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree with outstanding achievement as demonstrated through GPA, honor society membership or class standing.  GS-7 candidates may also qualify if they have at least one year of graduate level course work, or have performed for at least one year as a professional with duties similar to a GS-5 law enforcement officer.

Applying for IEA Jobs – Interview, Testing, and I.C.E. Training

The application process begins with applying to a vacancy through the website.  Upon following the link to the Office of Personnel Management site, the candidate will be asked to respond to some initial qualification questions.

If the OPM approves the candidate’s responses, the candidate will be asked to submit a resume, transcripts and employment documents.  The candidate will also need to complete an Assessment Questionnaire, which will test problem solving, reasoning, organizational awareness, technical competencies, self-direction, and communication skills.

Upon approval of all documentation, the background of the candidate will be checked for any criminal history, drug activity, employment terminations and heavy financial debts.  If approved the candidate must sit for an oral examination with a panel of three immigration enforcement agents who will evaluate the candidate’s character, emotional maturity and intellect.  A second interview with an I.C.E. administrator will also assess the candidate in these and related areas.  A written examination will also be administered to assess the reporting ability and communication skills of the candidate.

If the candidate passes all oral and written tests, they are medically examined for physical fitness, as well as vision and hearing capability.  Upon medical approval, the candidate will attend a training program at the I.C.E. facility in Glynco, Georgia for 9-20 weeks.  Additional training time may be required if the candidate is not proficient in Spanish.

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