How to Become Customs Officer in India? – Eligibility, Exam Pattern, Salary

The job of the customs department is to keep a check on the import and export of the goods for the purpose of collecting duty and prohibiting entry of smuggled and restricted goods in the country. The job of a customs officer can be quite lucrative to the masses for various reasons. It provides the job security being a government job and handsome pay post retirement as well. If you are wondering how to become a customs officer in India, we have got you covered. Read till the end of the article as every possible question that might arise in your mind.

How to Become Customs Officer in India

Eligibility Criteria

Any candidate who is above 18 years of age and holds a bachelor degree is eligible for the customs officer post. The aspirant must have secured at least 55% marks or above in graduation to be able to be considered for the post, as the admit cards are sent on the basis of the merit achieved in graduation level. The government conducts the exam for the post annually, however many private companies also offer the same year all year around.

Qualifications Required to Become Custom Officer:

  • Must be 18 years and above in age. The age limit is 21 years in case of General Category
  • Bachelor’s Degree: The aspirant must hold graduation degree from a government recognized university.
  • The candidate must clear the basic physical fitness test
  • Must clear the prelim and main exam by UPSC: The first step involves clearing a prelim exam that is conducted by UPSC that consists of 2 exams. Once the candidate clears the prelims, he/she qualifies the main exam that consists of 9 exams. 7 exams out of these 9 exams are conducted to have a cut-off decision.
  • Interview Round: Post clearing the main exam, the candidate is qualified for the personal interview round. In order to score a good score in the personal interview, one must have in depth knowledge of international relations, economics, constitution, history, etc.

Exam Pattern

Preliminary Examination Pattern

Paper – I (200 Marks) Duration :- Two hrs.

  • Current Events of national and International Importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movements
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Indian and Polity Governance
  • Economics and Social development
  • General Issues
  • General Science

Paper – II (200 Marks) Duration- Two hrs.

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal Skills Including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision making and Problem Solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic Numeracy
  • Data Interpretation
  • English Language Comprehension Skills

Main Examination Pattern

Paper – I one of the Indian Languages

Paper – II English

Paper – III Essay

Paper – IV & V General Studies

Paper – VI – IX Any two optional Subjects

 Options Subjects (UPSC Main):

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce & Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Indian History
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science & International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

How to Prepare for Exam and Interview?

The competition for the customs officer job is quite fiery and requires a lot of hard work and preparation. The candidate is required to have excellent general knowledge. The aspirant might start reading NCERT books to get their basics right. Good understanding of subjects like maths, English and G.K. is necessary in order to clear the exam. Keeping oneself updated by reading newspapers regularly can help. Apart from this, one can also enrol in online courses that are available to have clear understanding of the process.


At the lower level of the hierarchy, the initial salary in Tier 1 cities is around 42000 INR, including the Dearness allowance, travel allowance, pension, professional tax, house rent allowance, employee life insurance and central deducts government health insurance from it.  This salary gradually increases gradually, but time, promotion and salary are determined according to commissions. With the implementation of 7th CPC, the gross salary of the Customs Officer holding the rank of inspector is 60000 INR. Apart from the handsome salary, the custom officer job comes with extra benefits and job security.

The work of a customs officer is appealing to people, however requires a lot of hard work and dedication to become one. Being consistent and working towards the goal one day at a time is the key to success.

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