Job type

Customs officer

£17k - £38k

Typical salary

35 – 40

Hours per week

Customs officers stop banned items coming in or out of the country, and collect taxes and duties.

More info

  • A highly responsible role protecting the country's borders
  • Interesting and challenging work with progression opportunities
  • You'll need to have good judgement and be able to deal with difficult situations calmly and professionally

As a customs officer, you'll work in airports and seaports, collecting customs duties and preventing smuggling and illegal trade.


  • Searching luggage, vehicles and travellers
  • Checking customs documents
  • Questioning people found with illegal items or goods over the allowance
  • Arresting and charging people
  • Preparing reports and witness statements
  • Taking on specialist roles like dog handling or undercover and surveillance work


You may also need to go to court as a witness and work closely with other agencies like the police and the Home Office. If you're in a border protection role you'll work shifts to provide 24/7 cover.

You'll need

You'll need sound judgement, confident decision-making ability, accuracy and attention to detail, listening and questioning skills, and a tactful but firm manner.

You'll usually work your way up by starting as an administrative assistant, for which you'll need 2 GCSEs or an assistant officer, for which you'll need 5 GCSEs including maths and English.

To start as an officer, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs including maths and English, and 2 A levels or equivalent.

If you don't have the qualifications, you may be able to take a test instead to prove your skills and abilities in areas like teamwork and communication.

You'll also need to meet the Civil Service nationality requirements.


With experience, you could move up within the civil service grade structure, but you may need to relocate to progress to higher grades.