UK Border Force Recruitment – How to Pass the UKBF Selection Process

UK Border Force Recruitment - How to Pass the UKBF Selection Process


Standing at the forefront of the UK’s borders are the men and women of the Border Force, which makes up a vital operation within the Home Office. The role of the Border Force is to protect the UK’s borders from multiple threats, including; drug and human trafficking, terrorist threats, organised crime and many others. The work undertaken by the Border Force is vital for protecting our borders and also enhances the economy.

In the United Kingdom, the Border Force has five separate operational regions: Europe, South and South-East, Heathrow, Central and the North. Each of the five regions have the responsibility for ensuring the borders contained within, remain secure 24 hours a day all year round.

The borders themselves are as varied as the role itself, as all airports, sea ports, international rail networks and postal depots need to be manned by the dedicated employees of the Border Force. With regards to the tasks undertaken, this can range from 100% checking passengers arriving into the UK from flights, passenger ferries and the channel tunnel to passport control and security bag checks. Many of the Border Force employees also are involved in operations to intercept prohibited & illegal goods and counterfeit items. They are also responsible for preventing large quantities of items such as alcohol and tobacco, if they exceed the allowable limit, from being brought into the UK.

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To become a competent Border Force Officer and have any chance of passing the selection process, you will need to demonstrate a number of core values.


  • Commitment
  • Discipline
  • Respect
  • Moral Courage

You will also be required to demonstrate a number of core strengths and skills which are vital to the role of a Border Force Officer.


  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Be flexible and able to adapt to a changing scenarios with minimal notice.
  • Able to deal with challenging situations in a calm and composed manner with high levels of professionalism.
  • Are an analytical and inquisitive person.
  • Demonstrate leaderships skills.
  • Have a strong sense of integrity and ethics.
  • Are vigorous when enforcing the UK law showing the required level of empathy and sensitivity as demanded by the situation.

During the selection process, you will also be assessed against a set of Behaviours called the ‘Civil Service Success Profiles‘. As the Border Force is part of the Home Office, it is classed as a Civil Service role and therefore candidates will be additionally assessed using the same process as other civil service opportunities. The Behaviours that you will be assessed against are as follows:

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together
  • Delivering at Pace


The application process to join the Border Force is thorough and lengthy. It is designed this way, to ensure that only the most committed applicants apply.

Initially, you will have to register your interest and complete an online application form, with your basic details via the civil service jobs portal. Once this has been completed, you will be invited to complete an online verbal reasoning test. If you are successful with this test you will be then invited to complete the next online test, the situational judgement test. If you are successful with this test you will then be invited to complete your full application. Important note, try to complete the online tests as soon as possible after your initial application. This will allow you to spend the maximum time possible drafting your full application before the recruitment window closes.

As part of your full application you will be required to submit a CV with all of your details, including your qualifications.

You will also have to submit a personal statement based on a number of the Civil Service behaviours. The personal statement will ask you to provide an example of when you have demonstrated a number of the behaviours relevant to the role of a Border Force Officer.

If you are successful during this stage you will be invited to attend a final selection panel interview. This interview will use a mixture of behavioural and strength-based questions. Please note, you will be required to provide a number of documents on the day to confirm your identification, your passport and manual driving license as mandatory. The full list of other accepted supporting documents will be provided with your interview invitation.

Failure to produce any of the documents, will most likely result In your application being rejected, so ensure you have these at hand to avoid disappointment.

Border Force Officer Selection Process


What is the Eligibility Criteria?

To be eligible to apply to join the UK Border Force you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a UK national citizen.
  • Be 18 years old minimum.
  • You must hold a full UK Passport.
  • Hold a full UK driving license. This must include manual vehicles.
  • Pass a medical exam.

You will also be required to undergo Personal Safety Training (PST). If, as a result of the medical, you are not fit to undertake the PST, a formal offer of employment will not be made.

Qualifications Required

To enter at officer level you will need a minimum of 2 A-levels (or equivalent) at grade E or above. Please note, the Border Force will accept qualifications of the same or higher level achieved by a number of vocational and professional qualifications not just academic, for example BTEC and NVQs.

Your application may also be accepted, if you do not have the above qualifications but have had relevant experience from security, regulatory bodies, and investigation work. For example armed forces or the police service.

Enter at Assistant or Apprentice Officer Level.

At assistant officer level you will need to have 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A to C) including English and maths.

Apprentice-level entry requires GCSEs grades A – D in maths and English.

It is also worth noting that the same exceptions apply to the apprentice and assistant officer roles. If you have appropriate vocational qualifications and relevant experience from previous roles which can be utilised by the Border Force then your application may be accepted even if you don’t meet the educational requirements.


To ensure you are fully prepared for the selection process to become a Border Force Officer, you must ensure you prepare fully for every stage of the selection process. This includes:

  • Researching the role of a UK Border Force Officer.
  • Studying the job description.
  • Pay particular attention to the mission objectives and values of the Border Force.
  • Study the Civil Service Success Profiles and ensure you have a good knowledge of the following behaviours;
    • Making Effective Decisions
    • Communicating and Influencing
    • Working Together
    • Delivering at Pace
  • Practice both behavioural and strength-based interview questions.
  • Practice verbal reasoning and situational judgement tests.
  • Finally, if you get to the final selection panel interview. Do not forget your supporting documents.

Wishing you all the best with your application.

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13 thoughts on “UK Border Force Recruitment – How to Pass the UKBF Selection Process

  1. Madalitso Kamdaya says:

    How can I get the application form I think I am qualified to apply and I am ready to leave my current just to join one of best jobs I ever wanted in my life

  2. Lisa France says:

    My daughter applied for a role in November 19 and got through to the interview stage, then Covid hit and she heard no more. She applied for a slightly different role in December 20 and is now on the reserve list. The first role she applied for has now come back and offered her an interview, is she allowed to carry on with this application or will it affect the reserve position she has now?

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Lisa, it would be best to contact both departments that your daughter has replied to for clarification on this to check if there is any conflict with the applications.

  3. Tom Matt says:

    Hi, I’m a UK citizen and an currently have been working as an officer in HM Prison Service for 2.5 years. I am thinking of applying for Border Force as an officer. My academic qualifications were achieved in different country though as I am also a Polish citizen. Will foreign qualification be accepted? Thank you.

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Tom, it’s likely your qualifications will be accepted as long as they are equivalent to those required at UK standard.

  4. Alissa says:

    how far back is the employment history checks. Some of my line managers have moved on to different roles. Is it 5 years for security level checks.

    • Gemma Butler says:

      Hi Janice, unfortunately there is not set time scale between each element of the selection process so this may vary depending on a number of factors.

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