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Close up of border security stamping a United States passport
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6 Things You Should Never Do When Crossing a Border

Border crossings can range from boring to nerve-wracking, depending on your destination. When you’re traveling between two countries, there are certain things you should never do—lest you wind up delayed, detained, or even deported. 

Forget to Check Your Stamp

Travel Wild | Adobe Stock

Border agents are human too, and they can make mistakes. Before you step away from the counter, quickly check your passport to make sure that they have given you the correct arrival (or departure) stamp with the current date. If something was done incorrectly, it will be much more difficult to fix later on. 


Afraid a past arrest or criminal conviction will prevent you from entering the country? Lying about it certainly isn’t going to help. Border agents generally have access to records and databases from other countries, so they will quickly be able to see if you aren’t telling the truth in response to a question.

Falsifying information can get you banned from the country entirely, either for a designated period of time or even for life.

Be Rude

Going through a round of seemingly endless questions at the border can be very frustrating. However, being rude or angry definitely won’t help matters. Remain patient and be exceedingly polite in all your interactions with border agents in order to make the entry process go more smoothly.

Take Photos

Close up of person's hands taking a photo of people's legs and luggage at the airport
simona | Adobe Stock

As you pass through border control in most countries, you’re likely to see big signs warning against taking photos or videos. Follow this direction, as snapping a picture (even if it’s just of yourself entering the country) can land you in trouble. 

Border control is considered a high-security area and taking pictures/videos can make you look suspicious and bring unwarranted attention to your traveling party. 

Joke Around

Jokes about smuggling drugs or never leaving the country might be funny among your friends, but if border agents overhear these comments, you’ll definitely be in trouble. Just like when going through airport security, staff at borders have to take all comments completely seriously, no matter how obvious you think it is that you’re joking. 

Be Unprepared

Always do your research before you leave the country as to what you’ll need to enter your destination. Some countries only accept payments for visas or other fees in cash (in the local currency), so you should make sure you’ll have the correct amount on hand.

Consult the embassy website for the country you’re visiting to determine if you’ll need a visa in advance, proof of vaccinations, or any other requirements for entry. You certainly don’t want to be put back on a plane home right after getting off a long flight just because you didn’t have the right documents. 

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