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Customs Officer



Check luggage or cargo for contraband.

What does a Customs Officer do?

Customs officers have a very important job: to ensure that people who enter or exit the country do so legally, and that they don’t bring anything in or take anything out that they shouldn’t.

A customs officer can work in an airport, at a dock, or any major land port of entry. If you work for an airport or land port of entry, you’re the person in uniform sitting in the booth at the front of a long line of people. When people arrive in your booth, you check their paperwork to make sure they’re authorized to enter or exit the country.

You also inspect travelers’ possessions to ensure they’re not bringing prohibited items into the area. You look for contraband, such as drugs or weapons, as well as items that are subject to tax, such as fine art. You likely encounter some extremely personal items here, and you must work to preserve the person’s dignity, even if the suitcase contains lilac leisure suits.

If you work for a seaport, you probably won’t encounter such funny personal items. Instead, you check the cargo roster for large ships and ensure that the cargo hold contains what the piece of paper says it should. This work can be slightly less amusing, but it’s likely to be less stressful as you won’t be processing high volumes of people each day.

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