How To Become An ICE Agent: Career Guide

Become an ICE Agent

Are you interested in a career in law enforcement?

Becoming an ICE agent is a tough job with many qualifications and requirements. But if you’ve got what it takes, the rewards are great: serving your country, making a difference in the world and getting to wear cool uniforms every day!

There are many qualifications that you must meet in order to be considered for the job. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!

In this blog post, we will outline operations of ICE, career path opportunities and how to become an ICE Agent.

U.S. Immigration and customs enforcement

ICE is an American federal law enforcement agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. The agency is tasked with identifying, investigating, and dismantling transnational criminal organizations. ICE also investigates immigration violations and human trafficking. The men and women of ICE are responsible for keeping our country safe from criminals and terrorists.

In 2003, the founding of ICE was announced as a part of the Department of Homeland Security. It aimed to prevent terrorism in the United States. The work of ICE has been vital in keeping America safe, and it will continue to do so in the years to come.

The goals of ICE are:

  • to protect national security, public safety, and border security
  • to enforce U.S. immigration laws
  • to promote trade, commerce, and the efficient administration of the customs laws

ICE agents are responsible for investigating a variety of crimes, including drug smuggling, and illegal immigration. They work closely with other federal law enforcement agencies to identify and apprehend criminals who pose a threat to public safety. An ICE agent plays a crucial role as criminal investigator in the deportation process, helping to ensure that dangerous criminals are removed from the country.

ICE is responsible for two major operations in the U.S.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is an operational division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The main task of HSI is to serve as a border patrol agent and protect the United States from cross-border crimes, including terrorism, human trafficking, drug smuggling, cybercrime, and intellectual property theft. In order to accomplish this mission, HSI employs a variety of investigative techniques, including undercover operations, financial investigations, and intelligence gathering.

HSI also works closely with other law enforcement agencies in the United States and around the world to investigate and dismantle criminal organizations. In addition to its law enforcement duties, HSI also provides humanitarian assistance to victims of crime and disaster.

Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)

The Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is one of the largest and most complex law enforcement organizations in the United States. ERO’s responsibility is to enforce immigration law by identifying, arresting, and removing aliens who are in violation of U.S. immigration laws.

ERO is a critical part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) overall strategy to secure our nation’s borders.

Investigative career paths in ICE

1) HSI intelligence officers

HSI intelligence officers are some of the most highly skilled and capable law enforcement professionals in the world. Their work is vital to the safety and security of our nation, and they play a key role in the investigations that keep us safe from harm.

HSI intelligence officer’s job is not an easy job- it requires dedication, determination, and hard work. But it’s also a very rewarding career, and one that offers many opportunities for advancement.

They gather information and intelligence on potential threats to our nation, and help to investigate and dismantle criminal organizations that pose a threat to our safety and security.

HSI special agents can work on a variety of cases, such as narcotics trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, child exploitation crimes , money laundering investigations.

2) HSI special agents

HSI special agents receive extensive training in a variety of investigative techniques. They learn how to conduct complex investigations, gather evidence, and make arrests. They also receive training in firearms safety and use of force.

HSI special agents are some of the most highly trained investigators in the federal government. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience that makes them a valuable asset to ICE. Their investigations involve drug trafficking, national security issues, human smuggling and financial crimes.

When HSI special agents make arrests they are prepared to handle violent situations as well. They carry weapons and can use them when necessary to protect themselves or others from harm. HSI special agents play an important part in maintaining the safety of communities all over the country.

3) Immigration enforcement agents

Immigration enforcement agents are the front line of defense when it comes to keeping our borders safe. They are responsible for arresting and deporting illegal immigrants, and preventing them from entering the country in the first place.

The job requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s a challenging and rewarding job, and it offers many opportunities for advancement. To become an immigration enforcement agent, you must be a U.S. citizen and have a high school diploma or equivalent. You must also pass a background check, drug test, and physical fitness test.

You may also need to have some experience in law enforcement or criminal justice. However, if you don’t have any experience, the Department of Homeland Security will provide ICE agent training.

Intelligence career path

1) Intelligence research specialist

Intelligence research specialists are the backbone of any intelligence agency. They are responsible for conducting research and analyzing information to identify threats and vulnerabilities. They work with other members of the intelligence community to develop plans and strategies to protect the nation from harm.

The role of an intelligence research specialist is critical in keeping our nation safe. They are responsible for analyzing large volumes of data to identify potential threats. This is a challenging and important job, and it requires a dedication to public service. If you are interested in pursuing a career in intelligence, the role of intelligence research specialist is a great place to start.

2) Intelligence research analyst

Intelligence research analysts are responsible for conducting all-source intelligence research and producing finished intelligence products. They may also be involved in the management, direction, and coordination of all-source analytical activities. All-source intelligence analysts may work as part of an interdisciplinary team or as a member of an organization specializing in a certain type of intelligence.

Intelligence research analysts are typically employed by federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They may also work for defense contractors, state and local governments, or private companies. Some analysts may be self-employed.

3) Mission support specialist

Mission support specialists are the backbone of ICE’s intelligence mission. They provide the vital administrative and technical support that is necessary for ICE to fulfill its mission.

They are responsible for managing and maintaining the computer networks and systems that support ICE’s intelligence operations, and they also conduct research and analysis to support ICE’s intelligence efforts.

Eligibility criteria for becoming an ICE Agent

Be a U.S. citizen

ICE agent candidates must be U.S. citizens in order to carry out their duties. This is because they need to have a complete understanding of the culture and the people that they are serving. They also need to be able to operate within the United States legally and have access to all of the resources that they need in order to do their job.

Have a 4-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university

This is one of the many requirements that must be met in order to be considered for a position with ICE. Work experience in law enforcement, military service, or another field of study related to ICE’s mission is necessary.

Pass a medical examination and drug test

They will need to pass a medical examination and drug test. This is required in order to ensure that they are physically able to do the job and are not under the influence of any drugs.

Complete training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)

This is to ensure that all agents are properly trained in law enforcement and national security issues. The FLETC provides rigorous and comprehensive training that covers a variety of topics, including immigration law, terrorism awareness, and firearms proficiency.

Pass an extensive background check

This is necessary to know that candidates are not a security risk. This includes a review of their criminal history, credit score, and driving record. If they have any outstanding warrants or if they have been convicted of a felony, they will not be eligible to become an ICE agent.

Meet qualifications and apply!

If you meet the qualifications and are interested in becoming an ICE agent, don’t hesitate to apply! It’s a highly rewarding career with many benefits, and you will have the opportunity to serve your country and make a difference in the world.


You can become an ICE agent through a variety of avenues, the two most common being law enforcement and immigration.

If you want to go this route, apply online for Federal Law Enforcement positions by filling out required forms on their website and send it off so they can process your application materials.

If becoming ICE agent interests you but working in law enforcement is not what you’re looking for, there is another way. You can join the agency as an immigration officer which has no specific educational requirements, but does require fluency in Spanish and English.

This is a great way to get your foot in the door with ICE and start working on becoming a full agent.

FAQ About Becoming an ICE Agent

Below are a few frequently asked questions about a career as an ICE agent.

What does being an ICE agent mean?

ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An ICE agent enforces U.S. laws regarding border control, customs, trade, and immigration to maintain security within the borders of the United States.

Most agents work in federal offices, but some perform tasks in the field.

How much do ICE agents make a year?

The minimum salary for an ICE agent is $70K. The maximum annual pay is $120K+.

How long does it take to become an ICE agent?

You’ll be asked to complete various background checks, drug tests, physical exams, and oral board interviews.

Security clearance takes an average of three months to complete, but it might require anything from two weeks to a year, depending on the applicant’s history and the degree of security screening required for the job.

What are the requirements to join ICE?

  • Obtain the necessary training and experience for the position.
  • On the USA Jobs website, look for an open position.
  • Have a background check completed.
  • Take and pass an exam that consists of multiple-choice questions.
  • Take and pass a battery of physical fitness evaluations.
  • You may be offered a full-time position as an ICE agent.
  • Once you’ve been hired, you’ll receive on-the-job training.

Can you join ice without a degree?

Yes. It does not require a degree, but most ICE agents have earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Can I join ice if I’m in the military?

Yes. If you are interested, contact your local recruiter for further information on joining the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as an active duty military member or as a member of the U.S. military reserves or national guard.

Can you join ice as a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent?

Yes. If you are interested, contact your local recruiter for further information on joining the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as an active duty military member or as a member of the U.S. military reserves or national guard.

What positions are available in ICE?

Border Patrol Agent, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Officer, HSI Special Agents, ERO Security Officer, Detention Enforcement Officer, Deportation Officer, and Assistant Field Office Director.

What does an ICE agent do on a daily basis?

ICE agents are assigned to operations tasks in which they are responsible for enforcing U.S. immigration laws and preventing terrorism within the United States.

While most day-to-day ICE activities involve administrative work, it is not unusual to be involved in high-profile national security investigations or arrests involving dangerous individuals who have entered the country illegally.

Is it hard to become an ICE agent?

Yes. ICE agents are expected to have a thorough understanding of the federal laws that they’ll have to enforce, along with being able to conduct investigations.

What kind of training does an ICE agent receive?

ICE agents are trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. The training lasts many weeks and includes courses such as active shooter training and immigration law enforcement.

Do ICE agents carry guns?

Yes. ICE agents are required to carry a firearm while on duty.

How does ice conduct background checks?

ICE conducts an in-depth background check. Applicants must pass security clearance which includes submitting fingerprints, undergoing drug testing and receiving the results of a credit history report before they can be considered for employment with ICE.

What’s the job outlook for ICE agents?

It’s good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the number of ICE jobs will be significantly higher than average compared to all other occupations in the country by 2024 because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has established stricter border control policies within the United States, increasing enforcement needs of its agents.

What’s the salary for an ICE agent?

The average annual salary is between $70,000 and $120,00+ and can vary based on factors such as education and experience.

A new ICE agent starts at a GS-5 level and can be promoted to a GS-7 or GS-9 level. This depends on the job field within ICE because some, such as Enforcement and Removal Operations Officer, have a starting level lower than others.

An ICE agent can work his way up to GS-12 or GS-13 if he has the required experience and education.

What is the difference between ICE and border patrol?

ICE agents (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) are responsible for enforcing immigration laws within the United States.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for securing the border between the United States, Mexico, etc.

When you think of border patrol, you generally think of people in green uniforms who are responsible for patrolling the border on the ground.

ICE agents are also responsible for patrolling the border, but they are not in green uniforms.

Who do ICE agents work with?

ICE works closely with local law enforcement, federal, state and local district attorney’s office, other federal agencies—such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S Marshalls, etc.—as well as with foreign law enforcement agencies overseas.

Are ICE police officers?

No. ICE is a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is only responsible for enforcing immigrations laws within the United States, not criminal investigations in general.

Does the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement provide security for federal buildings?

Yes. Both ICE agents and officers work at Federal Buildings to ensure that visa regulations are being enforced in these areas.

Does ICE work on weekends?

Yes. ICE works on Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays depending on the time of year.

Do I need to speak Spanish in order to become an ICE agent?

No. At this time, there are no plans for agents to be required to know Spanish or another language because ICE does not enforce immigration laws outside of the U.S., only within the U.S.

Can I work overseas?

ICE agents can apply to be transferred to other locations in the United States or overseas depending on their rank and ability to supervise others.

There are also special assignments that require travel to countries throughout the world where ICE has an enforcement presence for large operations, such as global anti-smuggling initiatives.

What is the difference between ICE and FBI?

ICE, which was established in March 2003, has primary jurisdiction over enforcing U.S immigration laws throughout the United States.

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is responsible for conducting investigations outside of immigration offenses that fall under the jurisdiction of other federal agencies or require a national security component.

Although the FBI is not responsible for enforcing immigration laws, ICE agents can work with FBI agents on anti-terrorism initiatives.

Who is the boss of ICE?

ICE is a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and reports to the Secretary of Homeland Security, who is also responsible for other agencies such as CBP and U.S. Secret Service (USSS).

Can ICE enter your home?

Yes. In certain situations, ICE agents can enter private property.

In the case of a search warrant, ICE agents are authorized to enter a home if they have probable cause or a federal judge has signed off on a search warrant for illegal immigrants believed to be in the residence.

How long does an ICE investigation take?

The length of an investigation varies depending on the type of crime and/how cooperative the victim, witnesses, or suspects are in providing accurate information.

If an arrest is made, it could take several months before a case goes to trial depending on what the charges are and how long it takes for physical evidence to be processed.

What do you do if you think someone is illegal?

ICE encourages anyone who suspects someone is living in the United States illegally to contact their local ICE field office.

Anonymous tips can be submitted via email or through an online tip form on the ICE website.

What does ICE do with illegal immigrants?

ICE agents work to remove illegal immigrants from the U.S. and place them in proceedings depending on whether they have previous criminal records and their immigration history.

ICE agents can also place illegal immigrants in detention units while they await the outcome of their deportation case or an immigration judge determines if they are eligible to stay in the U.S.


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About Me

Speaking Events Best Fit:

  • LEO Academy Graduations
  • Any Public Safety Events
  • Men’s Groups
  • Church Conferences
  • Military Veteran Events
  • At Risk Youth Programs
  • Business Growth Events
  • Recruitment Conferences
  • AI Implementation Strategy
  • Online Marketing Events

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