Working for Customs. Grammar: PhrasalVerbs

Exercise 1. You are going to read the text about becoming a Customs officer in the U.S.A. Do you think anyone can do the job? What are the daily activities of a Customs officer?

Exercise 2. Read the text to check your answers.


The mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires attracting men and women of good character, honesty and self-motivation. Serving the country as a CBP officer means working in an alert law enforcement environment to prevent the entry of terrorists and terrorist weapons into the United States.

The important mission extends to inspecting travelers and their goods, detecting and seizing narcotics and other illegal, prohibited or dangerous articles, and interdicting the unlawful entry of undocumented and/or prohibited persons seeking to enter the country. Not everyone can do this job. Our team of highly trained professionals enjoys one of the highest reputations in federal law enforcement.

As a CBP officer, you will be on duty at one of our nation's international airports, seaports or land border crossings. These ports of entry are the front line of defense against terrorist intrusion, as well as criminal activities, such as drug smuggling, money laundering, undocumented entry of individuals, weapons trafficking, smuggling of prohibited goods and a host of customs violations. As a U.S. federal law enforcement officer, you will wear a uniform, carry firearms, and work overtime as required. Some CBP officers are trained as dog handlers.

Because of frequent interaction with travelers, you must be patient, cool tempered and have thoughtful judgment. You will also provide intelligence and sometimes conduct anti-terrorism, anti-smuggling and other activities in conjunction with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other related law enforcement agencies.

Activities include:

• Playing a front line role in CBP's critical anti-terrorism mission;

• Performing physical checks of travelers, cargo and vehicles;

• Interacting with the traveling public arriving from overseas, as well as inspecting luggage and airborne cargo, in international airports;

• Focusing on ships, containers, cruise passengers, luggage and all types of seaborne cargo in seaports;

• Inspecting commercial trucking and passenger vehicles at land border crossings;

• Using advanced technology tools as well as traditional methods, such as K-9 teams;

• Working with fellow law enforcement officers from CBP and other agencies.

Exercise 3. Read Part I of the text again and make a list of words you would like to use to describe special features of the job. Compare your list with another student’s.

Exercise 4.Match left and right. Reproduce the sentences in which these word combinations are used in Part I of the text.

1. an alert law enforcement 1. against terrorist intrusion
2. interdicting the unlawful 2. customs violations
3. the front line of defense 3. with travelers
4. undocumented entry of 4. entry
5. a host of 5. environment
6. to work overtime 6. physical checks
7. frequent interaction 7. individuals
8. in conjunction with 8. tools
9. performing 9. as required
10. using advanced technology 10. related law enforcement agencies

Exercise 5.Match the phrasal verbs that can be used to describe one’s career or course of study to their definitions.

1. to be cut out for a) to choose something as a subject of study or as your career
2. to take on b) to start doing something regularly as a habit, job, or interest
3. to pick up c) to manage, especially in spite of difficulties
4. to go in for d) to have the right qualities or character for doing something
5. to turn down e) to make an official request for a job or a place in a college or university, or for permission to do or have something
6. to take up f) to allow someone to join an organization
7. to get by g) to accept some work or responsibility
8. to apply for h) to be successful in life or at work
9. to get down i) to learn a new skill or start a habit without intending to
10. to get on j) to refuse to accept an offer or request
11. to be accepted for k) to start feeling sad or losing hope

Exercise 6.Use the phrasal verbs from Exercise 5 to complete the following sentences.

1. I can't _________________ any more work at the moment.

2. Bill was never ______________ his job.

3. There’s no way you could __________ what some have studied for a lifetime.

4. The new officers will ___________ her post in May.

5. I think he is planning to _________ politics.

6. How could you ____________ such a fantastic job?

7. Most workers among Haiti's 8.3 million people are unemployed or ___________ with odd jobs.

8. You have to __________ to the passport office _______ a visa.

9. He is prepared to do anything in order to __________.

10. The college requires higher GCSE grades in order to _____________ the course desired.

11. She __________ from time to time, but mostly she copes very well.

Exercise 7.Say what skills you think are essential to becoming a Customs officer in the Russian Federation. Use as many active words as you can.

Exercise 8. Read the text about becoming an import specialist in the U.S.A. Do you think you will need the same qualifications to work as an import specialist in Russia? Compare your ideas.


Serving our country as an Import Specialist means combining specialized commercial and legal expertise with the discipline of working in a fast paced law enforcement environment.

The primary mission includes detecting and preventing violations of U.S. customs laws and import/export regulations, and curtailing the entry of illegal drugs and other prohibited goods.

The profession of Import Specialist has a great deal of variety in a typical work day. You may be checking cargo manifests on your computer in the morning and at noon be checking physical cargo samples at dockside or in a terminal warehouse. That afternoon you may be meeting with or talking by telephone to shippers and freight forwarders. You could be offering advice to a U.S. business person who wants to export goods, or explaining to a foreign shipper why his goods have been seized. The next day you may be testifying in court as an expert witness. All these activities require a sharp mind and up-to-date knowledge.

As an Import Specialist, you could interact with a wide range of professions: international shippers and freight forwarders, domestic and foreign manufacturers, ship captains, corporate lawyers, small business owners and law enforcement personnel from CBP and other U.S. federal agencies. Responsibilities could include investigating foreign manufacturing facilities for violations involving child labor, product safety or other areas of concern to the U.S.

Activities include:

• Mastering (become thoroughly proficient) in a particular commodity of import/export goods, such as textiles, industrial machinery or pharmaceuticals;

• Joining a team of other Import Specialists in your particular field who track and inspect goods going in and out of the country at a land border crossing, seaport or airport;

• Inspecting cargo manifests and documents in an office and also making physical inspections in cargo holds and terminal facilities;

• Maintaining your discipline by constantly updating your knowledge, both in your commodity area and in changing U.S. import/export laws and regulations;

• Working side by side with law enforcement officers and legal professionals;

• Having the authority to issue penalties and fines, to seize prohibited or suspect cargo and to participate in negotiations and legal prosecution.

Exercise 9.Read the text again. Correct these statements.

1. The primary mission of an Import Specialist includes making inspections of terminal facilities.

2. Though his job includes checking cargo manifests on a computer, he will never physically check cargo samples in a warehouse.

3. Everyday activities of an Import Specialist will require a strong body and knowledge of the routine procedures.

4. As an Import Specialist, you will interact only with international shippers and foreign manufacturers.

5. The work of an Import Specialist involves investigating cases of environmental pollution.

6. Your activities as an Import Specialist will include joining a team of law enforcement officers who inspect individuals at land border crossings.

Exercise 10.Did you know that the minimum qualifications to be employed

a) as a CBP officer are:

• U.S. Citizen - with residency requirement;

• Able to successfully complete a thorough background investigation, medical examination, fitness test and drug test;

• Fit enough to undertake physical duties in sometimes harsh environments;

• Willing to wear a uniform and perform overtime and shift work;

• Have people skills to interact with the traveling public with respect.

b) as an Import specialist are:

• U.S. Citizen - with residency requirement;

• Possess a bachelor's degree in an appropriate area, such as economics, business or accounting; three years of general work experience which exhibits your ability to meet and deal with people and to apply a body of facts; or a combination of education and experience;

• Work equally well in independent situations and as part of a team;

• Able to successfully complete a thorough background investigation and drug test.

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