What kind of international qualification is a customs officer?


Some people studying English may want to get a job in English in the future. There are many jobs that use English, but having a qualification can be advantageous for employment.

Therefore, this time, I would like to introduce a customs officer who is an international qualification. There are places where the qualification of a customs broker can be utilized by people other than customs brokers. We will thoroughly explain what kind of international qualification a customs officer is, along with the necessary English proficiency, skills, and examination outline.

If you are interested in customs clearance qualifications or are looking for a job that uses English, please refer to it.

Table of contents
  • What kind of international qualification is a customs clearance officer?
  • Customs officers are popular international qualifications
  • What power do customs officers need?
  • Overview of the customs clearance exam
  • Main course after acquiring a customs clearance officer
  • Summary

What kind of international qualification is a customs clearance officer?

A customs officer is a national qualification for continuing export and acquisition. Obtaining a qualification requires specialized knowledge such as law and English proficiency, so it is necessary to take some appropriate measures.

However, some people may not be familiar with the job of a customs broker. First of all, I will explain in detail what kind of work a customs officer is.

The only trade-related national qualification with international status

The customs clearance qualification is the only national examination in trade-related work. It is required when doing trade transactions with overseas companies, and you cannot claim yourself as a customs officer without qualifications.

The validity of the qualification is limited to Japan, but since it is a job done while using international law based on the rules of the WTO (World Trade Organization), you can play an active part on the world stage.

As globalization progresses worldwide, many companies will expand overseas in the future. It is useful to acquire not only customs brokers but also people who work for trading companies and manufacturers.

Clerical expert in international trade

If you have a qualification as a customs officer, it will also be useful when doing business as a trade affairs.

Trade affairs is the job of doing all the affairs related to trade transactions. Trading companies, manufacturers, forwarders (customs brokers), etc. are mainly mentioned as workplaces.

It's a little different from a customs broker who focuses on import / export procedures, but you can expect to have an advantage when changing jobs.

Customs officers are popular international qualifications

Customs officer is a popular qualification that has been gradually gaining attention in recent years. The reason may be that imports and exports are increasing with the recent globalization. The number of companies that are thinking about overseas is increasing, and the needs of customs brokers are increasing. The Internet has made it easier to expand overseas, so it is unlikely that demand will continue to decline.

Also, in the work of a customs officer, although it depends on the detailed work content, it is often added to the basic salary as a qualification allowance.

What power do customs officers need?

Although it is a customs broker that is attracting attention year by year, it is known as one of the most difficult qualifications in the national qualification.

Customs officers are required to have various abilities such as the ability to pass the exam and the ability to negotiate. From here, I will introduce the abilities required for customs brokers.

English ability to process English documents

The job of a customs broker is centered on trading with foreign companies. Most of the documents used for customs clearance are written in English, so reading ability in English is essential. You need to learn specialized English words related to trade, but English proficiency equivalent to high school graduation is not a problem. Specifically, TOEIC 600 points or higher and Eiken Level 2 or higher are guidelines.

Depending on the work content, a higher level may be required. It is enough to read and write documents, but it is better to have comprehensive English proficiency because the range of work will expand if you can speak English.

Knowledge of laws related to customs duties, exchanges, trade, etc.

To work as a customs broker, you must have not only English proficiency but also knowledge of customs duties, foreign exchange, and trade laws. We also need to respond to any amendments to the law. You must be willing to continue learning even after getting a qualification.

There are three subjects in the customs clearance exam, such as customs clearance law, customs law, and customs clearance practice, so you need to take measures. Anyone can take the customs clearance exam, but many of the laws are complicated and can be esoteric at first. Make a proper study plan and take on the challenge.

Knowledge of international trade

Knowledge of international trade is also required to become a customs broker. Specifically, it is necessary to have a wide range of knowledge about economic history and international finance of each country in the world, trade theory and practice methods, consumer behavior theory and marketing theory. It is necessary not only for the customs clearance qualification examination but also for the work after becoming a customs clearance officer, so let's study on a daily basis.

If you have this knowledge, it will be useful not only as a customs broker but also as a trade clerk. You will be involved in more than just customs clearance, so your range of work will expand.

Negotiation power with importers / exporters and customs

As a customs officer, when you check the documents, you should have the ability to communicate in order to proceed smoothly, such as pointing out the mistakes and having them deal with any deficiencies.

In addition, although the customs officer's work is centered on document preparation, in some cases it may be necessary to negotiate directly with clients such as importers / exporters and customs. Negotiation power to proceed with transactions in an advantageous manner is also important.

Ability to perform precise and precise work

Many of the documents related to trade operations are written in English, and you must check each one to see if there are any mistakes in the description and if the tax rate calculation is correct. It's a pretty delicate task. Always be careful not to overlook it, as a single mistake can lead to major troubles.

Therefore, customs brokers are required to have the ability to carry out precise work accurately. Those who are good at desk work and detailed work can be said to be suitable for customs brokers.

Customs Clearance Examination Overview

From here, we will introduce the outline of the customs clearance exam in detail, such as exam qualifications, exam period, exam subjects, and exam fees. If you are considering taking the exam, please refer to it. Before you start studying, let's get an overview.

Eligibility to take the exam

There is no particular qualification to take the customs clearance officer. There are no restrictions on age, educational background, nationality, etc., and anyone can take the test. I'm glad that anyone can take the test as long as they pay the test fee.

If you have decided to become a customs broker from the beginning, some students go to high school or university to get one. It is recommended that you have a qualification because you may be able to promote your job hunting in an advantageous way.

Test time

Customs clearance exam dates vary by year, but are often held on the first or second Sunday of October each year. It's only once a year, so I'd like to go to the actual production so that I won't regret it. Let's take proper measures.

The application will be distributed from the end of July, but it varies from year to year, so please check the customs website for details on the distribution time and deadline. You can submit your application directly to the customs office that has jurisdiction over the planned test site, by mail, or online using NACCS.

Examination hall

The test venues are Hokkaido, Niigata, Tokyo, Miyagi, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Osaka, Hyogo, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and Okinawa in 13 major cities nationwide.

The test site is not limited to the customs office that has jurisdiction over your current address, and you can take the test wherever you wish. Submit your application form to the customs office of the prefecture where you want to take the test.

Please check the customs website for the detailed location of the test site.

Exam subject

The written exam consists of the following three subjects.

(1) Customs Business Law (45 points) 50 minutes
(2) Customs Law, Customs Tariff Law and other customs laws and foreign exchange and foreign trade law (limited to the part related to Chapter 6 of the law) (60 points) 100 minutes
(3) Procedures for preparing customs documents and other customs procedures (45 points) 120 minutes

In the average year, it is said that the passing criteria are 60% or more for each of the three subjects, but the passing criteria are different every year and will be announced at the time of the announcement of the passing. Please note that it will not be announced in advance. Since it is necessary to score evenly in all subjects, it is recommended to study so as not to create subjects that you are not good at.

75-80% of the exam content tends to be questions from past questions. By repeatedly solving past questions and thoroughly resolving and understanding the wrong questions, you will be able to increase the percentage of correct answers even in the actual exam.

Conditions for exemption from exam subjects

For the customs clearance examination, those who meet the conditions are exempted from some of the examination subjects. If you have practical experience in customs affairs such as a customs broker or a customs officer and the period exceeds a certain number of years, you will be exempted from up to two subjects.

However, please note that mechanical work that does not require special judgment, such as data entry work or cargo content inspection work, is not counted as work experience. The details are as follows.

5 years or more in total: Exemption from "Procedures for preparing customs documents and other customs procedures"
Total 15 years or more: "Procedures for preparing customs documents and other practices in customs procedures" and "Customs Law, Customs Tariff Law and other customs laws and foreign countries" Exemption from "Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law (limited to the part pertaining to Chapter 6 of the law)"

Please check for yourself when submitting your application to see if you are eligible for a course exemption.

Exam fee

The examination fee is 3,000 yen for written applications. Revenue stamps available at the post office will be attached to the application form and paid. Please note that you cannot pay by cash or postage stamps.

The examination fee for applying from NACCS, an online system for customs clearance, is 2,900 yen.

If you are already doing customs-related work, you may apply in bulk in-house, so it is a good idea to consult in advance.

Pass rate

The pass rate in recent years is around 15%. Looking only at the numbers, it is generally more difficult as a national qualification. It is usually said that it takes more than 400 hours of study time to pass. It is safe to assume that many examinees cannot pass the exam in one shot.

However, there are no conditions for taking the customs clearance exam, and the examination fee is reasonable compared to other qualification exams, so many people take the exam. It is also considered that the pass rate is low because some people take the exam without studying too much.

Therefore, you don't have to worry too much about the pass rate.

Main course after acquiring a customs clearance officer

If you have a qualification as a customs broker, you have various options for employment other than the customs broker.
Here, we will introduce the main career paths after acquiring a customs clearance officer. If you think about what you have done in advance, you will be able to maintain your motivation for studying for the exam. Please take a look.

Get a job at a customs broker

The royal place of employment for those who want to become a customs broker is a customs broker. By getting a job at a customs broker, you can officially call yourself a customs broker.

A customs broker is a company that handles customs procedures for imports and exports. We undertake customs clearance work from trading companies and manufacturers, and play a role as a trade and customs clearance department.

The main business content is the preparation of documents related to import and export. Clients include shippers, airlines, and warehousing companies. You need the ability to book and process transportation while communicating.

Get a job at a general company

Customs brokers are not the only places of employment for customs brokers. There are various options such as companies involved in trade and distribution, and companies engaged in warehousing. It is said that these companies often prepare documents and office work related to import and export in-house. Therefore, if you have a qualification as a customs officer, there is a high demand as a judge.

In addition, airlines, shipping companies, tax offices, tax consulting companies, etc. may preferentially hire people with customs clearance qualifications. Customs officers are often sought after as advisors, as they are seen as trade experts. I'm glad that you have a wide range of employment options.


This time, I explained what kind of international qualification a customs officer is, the required English proficiency and other abilities, along with the outline of the examination.

First of all, it is good to know what kind of qualification you have and acquire the required English proficiency. Customs officers are required to have sufficient English proficiency to read and write English, but it is recommended that you can speak English as it will broaden your range of work.