Australian Border Force

A career with the Australian Border Force

A career with the Australian Border Force (ABF) provides a variety of challenging and rewarding experiences and opportunities. We offer roles across a range of operating domains undertaking a broad variety of functions, including highly trained and specialist roles. We have frontline operational roles (Border Force Officers) as well as strategic, capability development and corporate roles. The breadth of functions and diversity of opportunities paves the way for a rewarding career where our officers directly contribute to making Australia safer and more prosperous.

We support Border Force Officers throughout their careers with access to training and support to reach their full potential.

​We recruit to roles in the ABF, from entry level traineeships to senior command / management roles. We require highly dedicated, agile and multi-skilled officers that are well trained and equipped to perform a range of duties across our airports and seaports, land and maritime jurisdictions.

Further information about current vacancies can be found at:

Border Force Officer Recruit Trainees (Entry Level)
ABF Marine Tactical Officers (MTOs) (Entry Level)

To perform a job successfully in the ABF, an individual should demonstrate the capabilities as defined and described by the Integrated Leadership System (ILS). A detailed description of the capabilities and the behavioural indicators for each Australian Public Service Integrated Leadership System (ILS) - APSC classification level is available for viewing or download at the Australian Public Service Commission website.

An individual also requires knowledge of and commitment to legislative and Australian Public Service requirements in relation to work, health and safety responsibilities, equal opportunity, Australian Public Service values and code of conduct, workplace diversity and working in a team environment.​

What a Border Force Officer does

Border Force Officers manage the security and integrity of Australia's borders. We work closely with other government and international agencies to detect and deter the unlawful movement of goods and people across the border.

Border Force Officers are operationally focused, uniformed and part of a disciplined enforcement body undertaking functions across our operating domain – patrolling our air and seaports, remote locations, mail and cargo centres and Australia's extended maritime domain.

The work of the ABF is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that Border Force Officers could be required to be on duty across all times of the day, depending on their role. Border Force Officers undertake shift work in line with set rosters allocated to them. An example of a roster may be that they work 8-10 hour shifts for four to five days, followed by two, three or four days off.

Peak periods for the ABF tend to align with school holiday periods, when higher numbers of people enter and depart Australia. Prospective candidates should be mindful of this prior to applying, as leave requested during peak periods may not be supported.

Border Force Officers, including Border Force Recruit Trainees, perform a range of functions as part of a team and alongside other law enforcement agencies, including:

  • processing the movement of travellers and goods
  • engaging with clients, travellers and partner agencies
  • coordinating responses to border threats
  • using mobile and static technology
  • undertaking patrols and surveillance
  • boarding and searching aircraft and vessels
  • enforcing legislation and exercising regulatory powers
  • conducting investigations
  • conducting digital forensics. 

All Border Force Officers complete minimum levels of training to undertake a range of functions across all domains. Border Force Officers perform compliance and regulation roles that might require additional skills, qualifications or training, for example:

Marine Unit: Marine Unit Officers maintain an armed presence around Australia’s coastline and respond to reported or suspected border incidents and illegal activity.

Detector Dog Program: Detector dog teams work at all Australian airports, seaports, cargo depots and international mail centres.  They are one way that the Department protects the community by finding illegal drugs, precursor chemicals, firearms and weapons coming into Australia. The Border Force Officer Recruit Trainee positions provide a foundation to move into the Detector Dog Program as officers advance through their careers.

Investigations Division: Investigations Division officers provide specialist investigation and enforcement capabilities to target and disrupt national security threats, serious or complex border crime across the continuum, from one off importations to sophisticated and organised crime ventures and systemic vulnerabilities in the trade and migration systems.

Digital Forensics: With the increasing reliance on digital forensics to support investigation and prosecution activity, our Digital Forensics Investigators are located around Australia and are supported by a network of highly specialised digital forensics laboratories in each capital city.

National Surveillance Unit (NSU): NSU officers provide the ABF and other law enforcement agencies with a covert surveillance capability. As a national unit, NSU officers can be deployed throughout Australia.

Key attributes of a Border Force Officer

Border Force Officers are multi-skilled, mobile, agile and responsive to operational needs. We look for people who are:

  • committed to the highest levels of ethical behaviour, integrity and professionalism
  • committed to the values and behaviours of the organisation
  • fit, healthy, mobile and able to work in a physical role
  • committed to developing their skills and knowledge through a series of postings and deployments over their careers
  • able to apply and be accountable for a law enforcement approach within a prescribed set of principles and delegated authority
  • able to meet and maintain high standards of operational readiness, including physical fitness and resilience
  • able to employ an operational mindset
  • able to meet and maintain stringent medical and psychometric standards required for roles that use force in the execution of statutory powers
  • able to apply frameworks and principles through critical thinking, sound judgement, and reasonable and necessary actions
  • committed to client service and responsive to requests
  • committed to community engagement and protection.

Minimum eligibility requirements

In order to serve in the ABF, you must be:

  • an Australian citizen with the appropriate citizenship documents
  • 18 years or over at the time of applying
  • able to obtain and maintain a Commonwealth security clearance
    • Baseline level is required at a minimum (a higher level of security clearance could be required, depending on your specific role)
  • able to obtain and maintain an Employment Suitability Clearance (ESC)
  • able to obtain and maintain minimum security requirements
  • ​able to meet medical, fitness, aptitude and psychometric requirements and standards relevant to the role
  • willing and able to relocate to other ABF sites throughout Australia as operational requirements demand
  • able to complete Operational Safety training, and be willing to carry and use personal defence equipment, including a firearm, if required.

ABF medical and fitness requirements

To effectively ensure the security of Australia’s borders, the ABF requires a disciplined workforce that is trained and equipped to undertake functions across our entire operating domain, including detention centres, air and seaports, remote locations, mail and cargo facilities and Australia’s extended maritime domain. Border Force Officers must have and maintain appropriate fitness to facilitate posting and deployment across all functions and environments to meet operational demand.

Operational Readiness Assessment: the requirement is to undertake the medical assessment and the fitness assessment, both of which are essential qualifications of Border Force Officers. For this reason, the Operational Readiness Assessment process is designed to ensure:

  • Officers are physically fit to perform their duties in a safe and effective manner, while also maintaining expected standards of performance, and
  • the officers’ physical health allows them to be flexibly deployed across a wide range of functions to meet operational demand. 

The ABF medical assessment determines if an individual meets the ABF medical requirements and can safely carry out the expected duties of their role and participate in the Basic Fitness Assessment. The medical standard requires that a Border Force Officer be medically and physically capable of performing the essential job functions and duties of the position safely and efficiently. To meet the ABF medical requirements, a Border Force Officer is required to:

  • undergo the ABF medical assessment with a suitably qualified medical practitioner, contracted by the Department; and
  • receive certification from the medical practitioner confirming that the officer has the minimum level of health required to safely carry out the duties of a Border Force Officer and to participate in the Basic Fitness Assessment (BFA).

After successfully completing an initial Operational Readiness Assessment, an officer’s reassessment cycle is mandatory every two years regardless of their age and gender.  The process for Border Force  medical and fitness reassessment is the same process as for the initial Operational Readiness Assessment.

Officers who have previously undertaken an appropriate medical assessment may not be required to undertake the ABF medical assessment. For the Operational Readiness Assessment process, the medical assessments deemed appropriate are:

  • Use of Force medical  examination and Function Fitness Assessment (FFA)
  • Current AMSA Certificate of Medical Fitness (Marine Unit only)

Border Force Officers who have been assessed as already meeting or exceeding ABF medical and fitness requirements, for example, to maintain a Use of Force (UoF) qualification, do not need to also undergo the ABF medical assessment or the Basic Fitness Assessment (BFA).

Officers requiring UoF Operational Safety Training will undergo medical, fitness and psychometric testing.  The FFA is a higher level fitness standard test.  UoF FFA recertification is mandatory every 12 months regardless of age and gender.

ABF locations

Australian Border Force Officers undertake a diverse range of roles within a wide variety of working environments and geographical locations. The ABF operates out of all Australian capital cities as well as 34 district offices (regional centres) across Australia. We also have a significant marine presence, patrolling the 37,000km of Australian coastline as well as international waters.

Sworn Officer

Border Force Officers are required to take an oath or affirmation and be 'sworn in'’. The term 'sworn officer' refers to those officers who take the oath or affirmation, thereby attaining ABF sworn officer status.

The taking of the oath or affirmation strengthens Border Force Officers' commitment to service. It reflects the fact that our officers have been entrusted with significant powers and authority on behalf of the Commonwealth, and so it is expected they act accordingly and to the highest possible ethical and professional standards. The oath or affirmation is a public declaration that officers intend to be bound by these standards and will undertake their duties to the best of their abilities. The oath or affirmation is taken as part of a formal ceremony.

Legally there is no difference between an oath and an affirmation. An affirmation is provided as an alternative to the religious based oath. It is up to the Border Force Officer to choose whether to become a sworn officer by taking the oath or by taking the affirmation.

Attire / dress code

Border Force Officers are expected to present a professional appearance while on duty and wear the ABF uniform provided by the Department.