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Border checkpoint

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Johor Bahru Checkpoint (Malaysia) and Woodlands Checkpoint (Singapore) on the Malaysia–Singapore border handles the busiest international land border crossing in the world, with 350,000 travellers daily.[1][2]

A border checkpoint is a location on an international border where travelers or goods are inspected and allowed (or denied) passage through. Authorization often is required to enter a country through its borders. Access-controlled borders often have a limited number of checkpoints where they can be crossed without legal sanctions. Arrangements or treaties may be formed to allow or mandate less restrained crossings (e.g. the Schengen Agreement). Land border checkpoints (land ports of entry) can be contrasted with the customs and immigration facilities at seaports, international airports, and other ports of entry.

Checkpoints generally serve two purposes:

  • To prevent entrance of individuals who are either undesirable (e.g. criminals or others who pose threats) or simply unauthorized to enter.
  • To prevent entrance of goods that are illegal or subject to restriction, or to collect tariffs.

Checkpoints are usually staffed by a uniformed service (sometimes referred to as customs service or border patrol agents).

In some countries (e.g. China) there are border checkpoints for both those entering and those exiting the country, while in others (e.g. U.S. and Canada), there are border checkpoints only when entering the country. (There are also United States Border Patrol interior checkpoints.)

Definitions in European Union (Schengen) law[edit]

Italian-Swiss border post – since Switzerland joined the Schengen Area in 2008, this checkpoint is solely for customs formalities

The Schengen Borders Code, which forms part of the law of the European Union, defines some terms as follows (particularities with respect to the EU are left out, in order to emphasize general usability of those definitions):[3]

  • "Border crossing point" means any crossing point authorized by the competent authorities for the crossing of external borders (Article 2 sec. 8 of the Schengen Borders Code);
  • "Border control" means the activity carried out at a border, [...] in response exclusively to an intention to cross or the act of crossing that border, regardless of any other consideration, consisting of border checks and border surveillance (Article 2 sec. 9 of the Schengen Borders Code);
  • "Border checks" means the checks carried out at border crossing points, to ensure that persons, including their means of transport and the objects in their possession, may be authorised to enter the territory [...] or authorised to leave it (Article 2 sec. 10 of the Schengen Borders Code);
  • "Border surveillance" means the surveillance of borders between border crossing points and the surveillance of border crossing points outside the fixed opening hours, in order to prevent persons from circumventing border checks (Article 2 sec. 10 of the Schengen Borders Code).
  • "Second line check" means a further check which may be carried out in a special location away from the location at which all persons are checked (first line)

These definitions mean that a place where a road crosses an internal Schengen border is legally not a "border crossing point".

Busiest checkpoints in the world[edit]


This is a list of the busiest land border checkpoints in the world, handling more than 35 million travelers in both directions annually. These travelers (or individual crossings) comprise pedestrians, drivers and vehicle passengers. International border checkpoints are in green.


  • As the United States does not have border checkpoints for outgoing traffic, incoming traffic figures are doubled to give a fair comparison. See detailed notes in table.
  • El Paso Port of Entry has been excluded, as its total represents the sum of six individual checkpoints at the end of six separate bridges, with no single checkpoint meeting the minimum number of crossings required for this list.[4][5]
Rank Border checkpoints Annual Travelers Notes
1 Gongbei Port  China  Macau Posto Fronteiriço das Portas do Cerco 134,000,000 (2018)[6]
2 Sultan Iskandar Building  Malaysia  Singapore Woodlands Checkpoint 127,750,000 (2012)[2][Note 1]
3 Luohu Port  China  Hong Kong Lo Wu Control Point 81,707,959 (2017)[7]
4 Puerto Fronterizo El Chaparral  Mexico  United States of America San Ysidro Port of Entry 69,300,000 (2018)[8][Note 2]
5 Futian Port  China  Hong Kong Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point 59,464,480 (2017)[7]
6 Shenzhen Bay Port  China  Hong Kong Shenzhen Bay Control Point 45,118,797 (2017)[7]
7 Huanggang Port  China  Hong Kong Lok Ma Chau Control Point 37,059,848 (2017)[7]
8 Puerto Fronterizo Mesa de Otay  Mexico  United States of America Otay Mesa Port of Entry 35,400,000 (2018)[8][Note 2]


This is a list of the busiest airports in the world, by international passenger traffic, as of 2018. Airports serving international passengers are effectively checkpoints, and have the proper customs, immigration and quarantine facilities. Airports Council International's (January–December) preliminary figures are as follows.[9]

Rank Airport Annual Passengers
1 Dubai International Airport  United Arab Emirates 88,885,367
2 London Heathrow Airport  United Kingdom 75,306,939
3 Hong Kong International Airport  Hong Kong 74,360,976
4 Amsterdam Airport Schiphol  Netherlands 70,956,258[Note 3]
5 Seoul Incheon International Airport  South Korea 67,676,147
6 Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport  France 66,383,494[Note 3]
7 Singapore Changi Airport  Singapore 64,890,000
8 Frankfurt Airport  Germany 61,774,663[Note 3]
9 Suvarnabhumi Airport  Thailand 50,868,846
10 Atatürk International Airport  Turkey 48,978,770


This is a list of the busiest seaports in the world, with proper customs, immigration and quarantine facilities to be deemed as maritime checkpoints. Although figures simply represent total passenger traffic, most (if not, all) of the passengers served at these ports are bound for other countries and have to pass through checkpoint (i.e. the port is not a domestic one). This list only includes ports that handle more than 4 million passengers annually.


  • The four passenger ports in China, Hong Kong and Macau in this list operate services to and from each other. These passenger ports are effectively checkpoints, as they have the proper customs, immigration and quarantine facilities.
Rank Port Annual Passengers Notes
1 Taipa Ferry Terminal  Macau 24,000,000 (2017)[10][Note 4]
2 Hong Kong–Macau Ferry Terminal  Hong Kong 17,317,037 (2017)[7]
3 Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal  Macau 15,000,000 (2013)[11]
4 Port of Helsinki  Finland 12,300,000 (2017)[12][Note 3]
5 Port of Dover  United Kingdom 11,700,000 (2017)[13]
6 Hong Kong-China Ferry Terminal  Hong Kong 7,074,940 (2017)[7]
7 PortMiami  USA 4,800,000 (2017)[14]
8 Port Canaveral  USA 4,500,000 (2016)[15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sultan / Woodlands: sum of 2012 daily average
  2. ^ a b San Diego / Tijuana: Northbound individual crossings are recorded, as listed in a workbook Archived 2019-07-15 at the Wayback Machine by the USDOT. As southbound border crossings counts are not formally produced and publicly available, it is estimated that a similar number of crossings occurs from San Diego to Tijuana, as has previously been done in a report Archived 2021-04-29 at the Wayback Machine by the SANDAG. Since this is an estimate, the resulting figure has been rounded off to the nearest 100,000.
  3. ^ a b c d Schengen Area: This airport or seaport is located in the Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished (particularly land borders), though there can be temporary checkpoints or passport requirements at check in. Thus, flights/ships within the area may have a large number of international passengers travel wholly within this area without passing through permanent border checkpoints within the airport or seaport facility, with those passengers potentially counted in domestic totals. The figures for airports and seaports in these tables represent international passengers, per breakdown data supplied by Airports Council International, and it is unclear whether these figures include or exclude intra-Schengen Area passengers as international.
  4. ^ Taipa Ferry Terminal: annual average of 2013 to 2017 five year total


  1. ^ "Clearing the Causeway". 2018-06-09. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  2. ^ a b Lim, Yan Liang (2013-10-13). "A Look at Woodlands Checkpoint". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  3. ^ "Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code)". 2006-04-13. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  4. ^ "Point of Entry El Paso | 2018". Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
  5. ^ "Border Crossings Entry Data –Annual Data | 2018". USDOT.
  6. ^ "Macau | Gongbei Border crossings in 2018 highest ever in China – Zhuhai Gov't". Macau Business. 2019-01-03. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Immigration Department Annual Report 2017". www.immd.gov.hk. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  8. ^ a b "Workbook: Border Crossing Annual Data". explore.dot.gov. Archived from the original on 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  9. ^ "ACI World releases preliminary 2018 world airport traffic rankings Passenger traffic: Passenger traffic remains resilient but cargo hubs see volume growth weaken India becomes world's third largest aviation market for passenger traffic". www.aci.aero. 2019-03-13. Archived from the original on 2020-05-17. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  10. ^ "Taipa Ferry Terminal Now Operational". Macao Government Tourism Office. June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Govt to spend 80 million on upgrading Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal". Macau News. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  12. ^ Tekniikka&Talous (17 January 2018). "The Port of Helsinki takes the top spot among European passenger ports". Port of Helsinki. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  13. ^ "About/Performance". Port of Dover. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  14. ^ Forgione, Mary (25 July 2017). "World's busiest cruise ports are in Florida". latimes.com. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  15. ^ Barth, Cindy (16 November 2017). "Port Canaveral posts record cruise numbers for FY 2017". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 16 June 2019.