As of 2010, more than 140,000 vehicles cross the U.S-Canadian border every day. Typically, when a person crosses the border between the U.S. or Canada, he does so by car, train or airplane. However, legally, there is no restriction on simply walking across the border. If you choose to walk across the border, make sure to carry the proper documentation and cross at a recognized crossing point where you can go through customs. Better yet, cross at a point where pedestrian traffic is common, such as the Peace Bridge.

Crossing On Foot

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Legally, there is no restriction on crossing the U.S.-Canada border on foot. While it is far more common to cross in a vehicle, no law in either the U.S. or in Canada forbids walking across the border. However, you must pass through customs. If you cross the border without going through customs -- say, by walking through a forest -- you can be stopped.

Required Documentation

U.S. citizens are not required to carry passports to cross into Canada by land, but they must have proof of citizenship, such as a driver's license or a birth certificate accompanied by a photo I.D. However, they are required to carry passports to cross back into the United States. In lieu of a passport, you can carry a passport card or a NEXUS card. Non-U.S. citizens should consult their embassies for entrance requirements.

The Peace Bridge

Foot traffic is quite common in several places. For example in 2010, more than 6,000 pedestrians crossed the Peace Bridge, which extends over Lake Erie at the mouth of the Niagara River. While legally, there is no difference between crossing at a place where pedestrian traffic is common and where it is sparse, you are less likely to raise questions if you cross at a well-traveled place.


While the U.S.-Canadian border is not patrolled with the aggressiveness of the U.S.-Mexican border, both governments take their jobs seriously. Borders are watched by helicopters and other surveillance equipment, so do not attempt to skirt customs. Also, if you do cross on foot at a place where few people do, expect to answer additional questions. To cut down on complications, have the name and address of the person you are visiting, as well as an additional form of identification if possible. You might also wish to consult a list of items that you are forbidden to bring into Canada.