Immigration officers check and monitor people who are arriving and leaving the country.

What does an immigration officer do?

As an immigration officer you would check the landing cards of non-British and non-European passengers, and find out why they are visiting and how long they intend to stay. When a passenger meets the criteria for entry to the country you would check and endorse their passport and any work-related documents.

If you decided a person did not qualify to enter the country, your duties could include:

  • interviewing the passenger for more information
  • arranging for them to go back to their point of departure
  • organising a place in a holding area (for example, when a person is claiming asylum)

You might also be involved with:

  • organising surveillance
  • carrying out intelligence-based activities
  • visiting and interviewing people who are suspected of having no right to remain in the UK

What do I need to do to become an immigration officer?

Although there are no set qualification requirements, many applicants will be educated to A level standard or higher. Previous experience of working with the public face-to-face would be helpful.


To apply for an immigration officer post, you need to:

  • be 18 or over
  • be a British citizen or British subject with no restrictions on your stay in the UK
  • pass security clearance checks (due to the sensitive nature of the work)
  • pass medical checks

You may have an advantage when applying if you also have some ability in a foreign language, although this is not essential.

You will normally need to have lived in the UK for five years before applying.

If your initial application is successful, you will usually be invited to an assessment centre where you will be tested on your communication skills, decision making, conflict management skills and awareness of equal opportunity issues.

You could also start as an assistant immigration officer and work towards achieving promotion through internal application.

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • There are no set qualification requirements.

Where to find out more

Working for the Civil Service 

UK Visas and Immigration 

Border Force 

Where could I be working?

Your work would mainly take place indoors at ports and airports in the UK. You could also be based at overseas transport facilities that act as entry points to the UK, for example the Channel Tunnel rail terminals in France. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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