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How to Become an Interpol Agent

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With almost 200 member countries, Interpol is the world's largest international police organization. Contrary to fiction, Interpol isn't a police force itself and doesn't have agents busting up crimes around the world. Its goals are to support and connect law enforcement professionals so they can become more effective. You apply for jobs using an online Interpol application form. If you're already in law enforcement administration you can also ask your country to loan out to Interpol.

What Interpol Does

The concept of Interpol began in 1914 when Prince Albert of Monaco brought together law enforcement officials from around the world. Crime was increasingly operating across national borders and Albert saw police would have to think globally to keep up. In 1923, the idea took concrete form as the International Criminal Police Organization, eventually rechristened Interpol.

Interpol's primary role is as a worldwide hub for law enforcement forces in 192 countries to exchange information. Member countries all have an Interpol central bureau to help share criminal database information securely. At time of writing, Interpol's primary interests are counter-terrorism, cyber crime, organized crime and emerging crime. Interpol also supports research and training that improve police skills and capabilities, and bridging gaps in global security systems.

Contract Interpol Jobs

Interpol contract employees work in several fields:

  • Compiling and entering data from member law-enforcement departments and drafting replies.
  • Writing and publishing notices.
  • Crime analysis.
  • Language services. Interpol maintains departments for Arabic, English, French and Spanish, its official languages.
  • The Interpol Office of Legal Affairs.
  • Information technology and telecommunications.
  • Secretaries.
  • Support services, including accounting, security and HR.

Interpol posts officer qualifications for contract positions online. The basics:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and belong to an Interpol member country.
  • You must meet the requirements defined in the vacancy notice, including any relevant degree or training. For most jobs, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree and relevant professional experience.
  • You have to speak English well. French is a plus and it helps to know Spanish or Arabic,  as well. You indicate your fluency in each language on the application: Mother tongue, professional fluency, working knowledge, limited knowledge, basic, none.
  • You know how to use a computer.
  • You can work as a team player, even in a multicultural, multilingual working environment.

Posted vacancies for Interpol jobs will go into more detail about the specifics required.

Seconded Interpol Careers

Law enforcement officials and other government-administration professionals can apply to be "seconded" to the Interpol for management or administrative positions. Once you're seconded you work in Interpol jobs for the next three years, but your government or police department writes your paychecks and provides benefits, such as insurance and travel costs. If your government isn't interested, seconding with Interpol isn't an option. You start the process by contacting the Interpol national bureau for your country.

Interpol Internships

Interpol also accepts interns from member countries. Becoming an intern gives you a chance to see how Interpol works, experience working in a multicultural, multilingual environment and carry out work assignments that will help build your CV for the future. Interns must be either enrolled in college or have graduated within six months previous to their application; be of legal age; speak English; and qualify for the internship they want. The application and vacancies are found on the Interpol website.

What Do Interpol Jobs Pay?

Interpol seconded officials are paid whatever their government thinks their Interpol jobs are worth. Interpol recommends seconded officials' employers take the cost of living overseas when setting the pay.

Different duty stations around the world set their own pay scales for contract Interpol careers. At Interpol HQ in Lyon, France, the bottom rank - Grade 1, Step 10 - pays a monthly salary of 2,055 euros, as of 2018. At Step 1, it's 7,292 euros. For Grade 13, Step 1, the top position, it's 13,054 euros. You don't pay income tax on your salary, but you do pay an internal Interpol tax and pay into the French national health-insurance program. Interpol does pay travel costs for contract employees and their families to move to their duty station.


Over the course of his career, Fraser Sherman has reported on local governments, written about how to start a business and profiled professionals in a variety of career fields.. He lives in Durham NC with his awesome wife and two wonderful dogs. His website is

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