The Longest Land Borders in the World

April 15, 2024

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Mexico and United States border

If you’ve ever traveled abroad, you’ve likely had to pass through border control. While it can be a hassle to fish out your passport and travel documents from the depths of your bag, it’s an important part of entering a new country.

International borders separate one country from another, both geographically and politically. They’re often formed by geographical boundaries such as rivers, oceans, or mountains. In other cases, the diving line runs through urban areas. Most borders change over time following political reform, invasions, or new treaty agreements.

Let’s take a look at which countries have the longest land borders in the world!

1. Canada-United States: 8,893 km

Stretching an impressive 8,893 km (5,526 miles), the land border between Canada and the United States is the longest in the world. This includes the border between Canada and the continental US and the border between Alaska (the most northern US state) and Canada. Despite covering an area of over nine million km² (5.5 million mi²), Canada only shares one international border.

There are over 100 land border crossing points between Canada and the US. Some operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whereas others only operate for certain hours or months of the year. Certain border points only allow access from one direction, such as Four Falls in New Brunswick, where entry to the US isn’t permitted.

Travelers can legally cross some Canada-US border points without passing border inspection. This low level of security may come as a surprise if you’re familiar with the strict security measures of the Mexico-United States border to the south.

2. Kazakhstan-Russia: 7,644 km

You likely know Russia is the largest country in the world by landmass. It covers over 17 million km² (over 6.6 million mi²) and borders 14 countries. However, it’s Russia’s border with Kazakhstan that earns second place on this list.

Although it’s not the longest land border in the world in terms of total length, the Kazakhstan-Russia border is the world’s longest continuous international border. Beginning at the Caspian Sea in the west, the border runs for 7,644 kilometers (4,749 miles) in a west-east direction until it meets the tripoint with China.

There are over 15 border crossing points between Russia and Kazakhstan. Many Eastern Europeans travel to Russia for work, particularly seasonal jobs.

3. Argentina-Chile: 6,691 km

The border between Argentina and Chile stretches 6,691 kilometers (4,158 miles) along the Andes mountain range and divides the Tierra del Fuego islands.

There are various border crossings between Argentina and Chile, some of which have customs checkpoints in both countries. You’ll have to get your passport and papers checked when leaving Chile, for example, and then again when you try to enter Argentina.

The border between Argentina and Chile was disputed for many years. They were on the brink of war over the southern border in the second half of the 20th century. The current state of the international border was established in 1998 when both countries signed an official agreement. However, around 50 km (31 mi) of the border along the Southern Patagonian Ice Field remains under dispute.

4. China-Mongolia: 4,630 km

The China – Mongolia border runs west to east between two tripoints with Russia. Much of the border lies within the Gobi Desert, which is found in northern China and southern Mongolia.

Most of the modern China-Mongolia border was established in the early 1700s in the Treaty of Kyakhta between China and Russia.

The border region contains many large mines and industrial operations. Tavan Tolgoi, one of the world’s largest untapped coal deposits, is in the Gobi Desert, around 240 km (149 mi) north of the Chinese border.

5. Bangladesh-India: 4,142 km

The Bangladesh-India was established in 1947 as part of the ‘Radcliffe Line’ following the partition of India. The border was named after British architect Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who was tasked with drawing up the borders to form the new nations. India was separated from East Pakistan (now called Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (now called Pakistan).

The border’s current shape was formally established in 2015. 2,217 kilometers (1,378 miles), the majority of the border runs along West Bengal, while the remaining length runs along Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.

Illegal immigrants frequently attempt to enter India from Bangladesh by crossing the border. Controversially, a shoot-on-sight policy has been enforced by Indian border patrols for anyone attempting to cross the border illegally.

6. China-Russia: 4,133 km

Along with having the world’s fourth-longest land border with Mongolia, China also shares the sixth-longest land border with Russia (4,133 km). This is also Russia’s second appearance on this list after ranking in second place for its border with Kazakhstan. The border divides two giants: China has the world’s second largest population, and Russia is the world’s largest country by landmass. Both countries border 14 countries, the most of any nation in the world.

There are an estimated 160 land crossings on the China-Russia border. Each of these border crossing points is open 24 hours each day and includes railway and highway crossings. The border starts at the tri-point between China, Russia, and Mongolia.

The border treaty requires both China and Russia to clear trees from a strip that measures 15 meters (49 ft) along the border. Both countries are responsible for ensuring livestock doesn’t wander from one side of the border to the other.

7. Mongolia-Russia: 3,452 km

The world’s seventh-longest land border is between Mongolia and Russia. It measures 3,452 kilometers (2,145 miles) west to east between the two tripoints with China. It stretches through the Altai Mountains, Lake Tore-Khol, the Ulaan Taiga Mountains, and Russia’s Lake Barun-Torey.

There are ten official border crossings along this international border. Just two are railway crossings, while the other two are only open to citizens of Mongolia and Russia. The border crossing point nearest the Khövsgöl Lake (Mongolia’s largest freshwater lake) is one such bilateral crossing.

Some of the main problems plaguing the Mongolia-Russia border are meat smuggling and livestock theft from one country to the other.

8. Bolivia-Brazil: 3,403 km

The Bolivia-Brazil border crosses through urban areas, as well as vast deserts and forests. It starts in the Pantanal wetlands region and ends in the famous Amazon Rainforest.

Along with Bolivia, Brazil also borders eight other countries, including Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. The South American country covers an incredible 8.5 million km² (5.2 million mi²), making it the fifth-largest country in the world.

9. India-Pakistan: 3,190 km

As mentioned, the India-Pakistan border is a relatively recent international addition. Officially formed in 1947, the 3,190 kilometer (1,982 miles) long border is one of the most controversial international borders in the world. It’s often the cause of military disputes and sometimes full-blown war.

In 1947, British colonial rule ended in India, and the independent nation-states of India and Pakistan were formed. It was proposed that the Hindu population would live in India while the minority Muslim population would live in the newly-formed Pakistan. The partitioning cut through the major provinces of Bengal and Punjab and sliced countless villages in half. Millions of people were displaced as they scrambled to get to the ‘right’ side of the border.

The India-Pakistan border can be viewed from space thanks to the 150,000 floodlights that India installed along the border. At 6 pm each day, the two countries hold beating retreat flag ceremonies at five different border points. India and Pakistan’s militaries parade on either side of the border and simultaneously lower the flag for each nation. The ceremony has been conducted by both countries since 1959.

10. Mexico-United States: 3,155 km

Although last on this list, the Mexico-US border is perhaps one of the most famous land borders in the world. It’s also one of the world’s most crossed borders, with around 350 million documented crossings each year and countless undocumented crossings.

The Mexico-US border spans 3,155 kilometers (1,960 miles) from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, it partially follows the course of the Rio Grande River and through the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts.

A major part of Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign was ‘The Wall’; this an expansion of the Mexico–United States barrier. In 2018, construction began on the new border wall. It was built along 732 kilometers (455 miles) of the border, of which 79 km previously had no border barrier.

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