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Crossing the Border

Maine shares a state border with New Hampshire and an international border with the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec. Maine has an ocean border on the Atlantic Ocean with the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy. Entry into Canada is determined by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Entry into the U.S. is determined by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Crossing the international border between Canada and the U.S. will require an inspection by Immigration & Customs, which can include a vehicle inspection. Citizens of other countries may be required to have a passport and/or visa. Different regulations apply to pedestrians and motor vehicles than to boats and aircraft. Depending on the mode of transportation, different ports of entry may be required. Travelers who frequently travel to and from Canada may want to investigate the CANPASS.


Crossing Overview

U.S. citizens entering Canada must have proof of U.S. citizenship. This could include:

  • A U.S. passport
  • A U.S birth certificate
  • A certificate of citizenship
  • A naturalization certificate and valid photo identification such as a drivers license


Permanent residents of the U.S. must have

  • A U.S. green card.

U.S. children entering Canada must have identification, regardless of age, and be accompanied by an adult, and:

  • Parents entering Canada with their own child must have the child's proof of citizenship, such as a certified birth certificate.
  • One parent travelling with a child must have a letter of permission, containing contact telephone numbers for the other parent or legal guardian.
  • An adult with legal custody or shared custody of the child must have copies of relevant legal documents, such as custody rights.
  • For a non-parent or non-legal guardian traveling with a child requires a letter of permission or authorization of custody, including contact telephone numbers for the child's parents or legal guardian.

Canadian Citizens returning to Canada must have at least one of the following:

  • A Canadian passport; or
  • A Canadian birth certificate; or
  • A permanent residence card; or
  • A citizenship card; or
  • A certificate of Indian Status


Additional Information

Visitors are required to have the necessary travel documentation and be in good health. If asked, they must answer questions to the satisfaction of an immigration officer. Standard questions someone might be asked by an immigration officer include:

  • "Where are you from?"
  • "Where are you going?"
  • “Where will you be staying?”
  • "How long will you be in the country?"
  • "What is the purpose of your trip?"
  • "Do you have any alcohol, tobacco products or fire arms?"

Persons crossing the border must carry proof of identity and citizenship. In most cases this is a passport. Examples of additional documentation could include a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, citizenship certificate, a government issued photo ID (such as a driver's license). If you are not sure about the viability of your identification you can contact the border service agency of the country you are entering, eg; Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). or US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

All travelers are required to have a valid passport until the end of their stay. You should also be able to provide 24-hour contact details of the host (business, conference, hotel), and proof of enough money for the stay and the return home. Persons can be denied entry across a border on the basis of suspicion alone. A single criminal conviction (no matter how minor or how long ago) may be used as grounds for exclusion. Other reasons that entry may be denied include:

  • Security reasons
  • Criminality related reasons
  • Health reasons (if a condition is likely to endanger public health or safety)
  • Financial reasons (if a traveler is unable or unwilling to support themselves)
  • Misrepresentation about who you are
  • Having an inadmissible family member

A child without a passport, must have a birth certificate, and if it is not the child of the adults accompanying them, a letter from the parents (with telephone and address contact information) is required.

Some helpful links that may help answer your border crossing questions can be found on the Resources Page of this site. There is also the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative resource.


For more information please contact Kerstin Gilg
Director of  Media Arts and Performing Arts at the Maine Arts Commission
207/ 287-6719 -