Prepare for your UK Border Force Officer and Assistant Officer Online Tests and Interview

Are you applying to the UK Border Force as an Immigration Officer or Assistant Immigration Officer? The recruitment process is long and challenging with limited positions available each year. In this article, we outline the different steps in the UK Border Force selection process and provide guidance and suggestions to help you be successful.
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The UK Border Force, now part of the Home Office, is responsible for guarding the UK’s borders. Immigration Officers (IOs) and Assistant Immigration Officers (AIOs) are based at airports all over the country with over 25,000 employees in the department. The two main entry routes are for immigration officers and assistant immigration officers and this article will outline the application stages. Although the process for Immigration Officers and  Assistant Immigration Officers can be similar, pay attention to the differences pointed out below.

Due to the large number of applications the UKBF receives each year, the application process can be lengthy, with large spans of time between stages.


It is important to familiarise yourself with the UKBF competencies as they come up on both the online application and in the interview during the assessment day.

Assistant Immigration Officer Competencies Immigration Officer Competencies
ƒLeadership and managing myself and others Leadership and managing myself and others: leading on equality and diversity
Working with others: develop and maintain good working relationships ƒWorking with others: develop and maintain good working relationships
ƒWorking with others to focus on customers ƒLeadership and managing myself and others and building capabilities
Effective communication ƒEffective communication
Analysis and use Of evidence ‐ gathering and managing information Analysis and Use Of Evidence: identifying Options and making well judged decisions
Analysis and effective use of evidence Analysis and effective use of Evidence

UK Border Force Online Application

The UKBF application for both Immigration Officers and Assistant Immigration Officers is the same. You are asked to provide basic details such as name, address, previous work experience and schooling. In addition you will be asked competency questions and need to provide answers from your own experience. Before applying, make sure that you meet the criteria necessary to work for the UKBF. Besides academic achievements, the UKBF can only hire candidates with certain work capabilities depending on their citizenship status and if they have lived outside of the UK for a substantial amount of time.

UK Border Force Sift Test for Assistant Officers

After finishing the online application, applicants to the assistant officers program may be asked to sit a UKBF Sift Test. This test sifts through the thousands of applications in order to get the best and brightest from the bunch. Find out more about this test on our Civil Service Sift Test Page.

UK Border Force Online Aptitude Test

Following a successful application and sift test (for Assistant Immigration Officers), you will be invited to take the UKBF Aptitude tests. The following table outlines which tests you can expect to encounter depending on the job you have applied for.

Assistant Immigration Officer Immigration Officer
ƒAssistant Immigration Officer Verbal Test Verbal Test
Checking Test ƒNumerical Test

UK Border Force Assistant Immigration Officer Verbal Test

The Assistant Immigration Officer verbal reasoning test assesses your language capabilities through a series of multiple choice questions. You are given a 2-3 paragraph passage with 16 questions to answer in 8 minutes. With only half a minute to answer each question, you must be able to work quickly and efficiently. Practicing questions of this sort is the best way to build your skills and you can find out how to master and practice verbal reasoning with our practice tests.

UK Border Force Immigration Officer Verbal Test

The Immigration Officer verbal reasoning test examines your grasp of written language. You are provided with a passage and asked to answer multiple choice questions on the text. The test is 12 minutes long with 24 questions to answer. Learning to quickly analyse the text and familiarising yourself with questions is a great way to prepare yourself. Find verbal reasoning practice tests on our site.

UK Border Force Checking Test for Assistant Immigration Officers

The checking test for Assistant Immigration Officers looks at your speed and accuracy when finding errors in numerical data and written material. These tests require a high amount of focus and concentration and with 16 questions to be answered in 10 minutes, time constraints add to the difficulty. Quick reading and good analysis is a must for this test and you can train and hone your skills with our practice checking tests.

UK Border Force Numerical Test for Immigration Officers

The numerical test for Immigration Officers assess your numerical capabilities. You are presented with various types of numerical data, including ratios, percentages and basic maths skills. You are given 24 questions to answer in 12 minutes so you must work quickly and efficiently. Gain the training you need with our practice numerical tests.

Have you taken the aptitude tests for either Immigration Officer or Assistant Immigration Officer positions? Tell us about it below in the comments section!

UKBF Assessment Centre

The UKBF assessment centre is an important part of the application process as it is where the assessors can meet you and test your skills in person. Prior to your arrival at the centre, you will be given a list of 6 competencies. Chose two of these competencies and think of examples of when you have exemplified them. This will be part of your competency based interview.

Written Exercise - This is a timed exercise in which you receive a work-related scenario and information in order to give a written response to what you would do. For example, you may be given scenario where you work for a recruitment agency and an employer is looking for workers. The employer has previously received low-quality applications from your agency and this is your last chance to impress them. You are given information such as CVs and cover letters and have to sort through those you think can be suitable and those that are not. There is a lot of information to sort through quickly so you must have sharp analysis skills. In your written response, you must explain the conclusion you have come to and why it is the best. Any added recommendations you give will be considered by the assessors. As this type of exercise can be unfamiliar and there are time constraints, it is imperative that you practice written scenarios before the assessment to ensure success.

Competency Based Interview - As mentioned above, during the competency based interview you will need to give an example of a time when you exemplified two of the listed competencies. Note that the competencies are not necessarily worded as they were on the application but you are welcome to use the same examples. For example, you might be asked to tell about a time when you helped to build capacity in others to support their development needs. The best technique for answering these questions is by using the STAR Method. You can practice competency based interviews with our Skype-based interview practice.

Role Play - For the UKBF role play, you will be given a brief with the information explaining the information necessary for your role in the role play. Then you proceed to act out a difficult situation with an actor. The role play lasts approximately 10 minutes and you are watched by 2-3 assessors. Afterwards, there is a debriefing session where you are asked to explain why and how you made your choices. Brush up on your role playing skills with our practice exercises.

Have you attended a UK Border Force assessment day? Share your experiences with us below in the comments section!

In Summary

The UK Border Force can be an interesting and exciting place to work. However, with a long and rigorous application process and thousands of applicants, it is important to prepare yourself in order to stand out from the crowd. We hope this article has given the information and preparation resources you need to be successful on your journey to the UK Border Force!

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