Border Crossing Landsdowne-Alexandria Bay

October 10, 2022Niry Fidelis
Border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay

If you have landed on this page it means that you are looking for information about the Border crossing at Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay (Canada-USA). Then keep on reading because you need to read it if you have a plan to try this experience.

Now, border crossings generally are such weird experiences. For one reason or another they always come with a bit of “thump thump” in the heart, even if you have all the required documents. Isn’t it like that? In the past, when the European community did not exist, I have tried many border crossings around Europe. Recently I tried the Amdellai-Karang border crossing between Senegal and Gambia. But it’s only when I tried the border crossing at Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay that I realized that each border crossing has its own story to tell. Since they represent the country that you are about to enter, they all are different from each other. This fact is really fascinating.

Before heading to the border.

border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay

For your border crossing at Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay as a tourist, you should know that if you belong to a rich country (😇) you just need an electronic authorization for the USA, which is called ESTA. You can get it on the internet a few days before your departure and to date it costs 14 dollars.

Meanwhile if you belong to a poor country you need a VISA which is not easy to obtain. You must apply months before at the American embassy in your country. Visa applications cost a lot of money and they can be refused if they are not satisfied with your documentation or answers that you give during the investigation procedure.

Then when you reach the point of crossing the border, it is assumed that you are now ready to enter the country. Well, it is not always like that. For one reason or another, something still can go wrong with your border crossing.

After making this small introduction, let me tell you about my “border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay” experience.

Please review the link below to find out the latest information on crossing both the United States and Canadian Border and other helpful links: Border Crossing Landsdowne-Alexandria Bay

What prompted us to try the border crossing at Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay

1000 ISlands

Alessandro and I were vacationing in Ganonaque, Canada. We wanted to visit the Thousand Island geographic area which is an archipelago of 1,864 islands immersed in St. Lawrence River that straddles the Canada -USA border. After the boat trip from Ganonaque we crossed the Thousand Island Bridge and we went to visit the Thousand Island Tower.

During our boat trip from Gananoque we circled Boldt Castle which is in the USA. At that time of the day we could only buy the package which didn’t allow people to get off the boat. When the boat went sailing close to Boldt Castle we felt so bad that we couldn’t visit the castle. When then upon returning from the boat trip the lady at the ticket office said that ESTA can be issued even at the border in Alexandria Bay, the temptation of wanting to cross the border was even higher.

In addition to this, when we then went to the Thousand Island Tower which was very close to the border (5 minutes by car) we finally decided that we had to cross the border and visit Boldt Castle.

Cool, this is how we found ourselves “Border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay” even without having applied for ESTA previously.

What we did wrong at the border.

1000 Islands
1000 Islands

While driving from the Thousand Island Tower to the border we made a big mistake. We stopped at the road sign saying “Welcome to New York”, located 100 meters before the customs, to take some photos. It was a quick break because we already knew that if we had stayed longer someone would have said something. But even though we tried to be fast, when we then drove towards the customs the hellish experience began.

The immigration officer asked the reason why we got out of the car before the customs. He talked in a very blustery manner. He was so strict and serious that I understood that we were in a big mess. He even said we should never stay around the border without permission because they actually have the right to shoot us. As it took us a while to understand what was happening, the policeman became nervous and impatient. He didn’t want to give us more time to think. He refused to talk to Alessandro since his English was not fast enough. Oh my goodness!! He terrorized us as much as he could.

At one point he told us to park our car behind the booths and enter the immigration office for some more investigations and maybe to get our passports finally sealed. When we got out of our car another immigration officer collected our car keys and he walked us inside the office. The policeman who inspected our passports was even more strict. When the inquiry was finished we tried to smile a bit, but he didn’t like it. He looked at us like we were idiots.

I know that immigration rules and regulations require each person to be inspected when crossing the land border, but I didn’t understand why they were troubling us so much. I tried to relax my mind because we both had all the required papers (vehicle registration card and insurance, passports, drivers license), so there was no reason to treat us that way or to send us back to Canada since the ESTA was granted at the border itself.

Finally when the immigration officer returned the sealed passports with a green permission form clipped on it, we paid and left the customs office silently. I wished to myself that we wouldn’t have to come back to that office again. But unfortunately, it was not so.

Well, this is our “Border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay” experience. Now my point is, couldn’t he have talked to us without being so nasty? And also if it’s true that the border represents the country you are about to enter then cool, welcome to the USA! 😃😃😃

Border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay: the worst that happened.

Boldt Castle.

Once we left customs, we went straight to catch the ferry to Boldt Castle. And while we were waiting at the terminal for the ferry, trying to finally relax and leave that experience behind, I realized that I had left my handbag at the customs office in Alexandria Bay. After all, in all that hustle and bustle, it’s the least that could happen, right?

Meanwhile my first thought was oh my God, we have to go there again, Alessandro’s thought was even more scary. He said that this simple forgetfulness could turn into something dangerous: they could think that I left it there on purpose with a bomb or something like that inside. This frightened me terribly. If they think so, then they could arrest me.

I swear that in that moment as we reached that conclusion, we were shocked.

Anyway, something needed to be done immediately. I absolutely wanted to call the immigration office in Alexandria Bay to warn them and to say that it was an oversight.

We asked at the ferry ticket office if they could help us somehow. She said that there was another customs office in Boldt Castle since many arrive by boats. That was good news for us. In fact, as soon as we landed in Boldt Castle we went straight to the immigration office and asked them to call the Customs of Alexandria Bay. They called and they came up with a better way to get back my handbag. The officer then gave me a piece of paper with the name of the person with whom he talked, so that I could go straight to him to talk and get my handbag.

Border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay: getting back my handbag.

After all this we were able to visit Boldt Castle without any particular apprehensions. We left the island at 6.30 pm by ferry. When we reached the Alexandria Bay border, we parked our car at the duty-free shop and crossed the road toward the checking booths. We were told to do this.

I showed the piece of paper to the first officer we met. He was inspecting a car with a police dog. He seemed busy so we waited in order to avoid any misunderstandings again. He already seemed to know everything, and he pointed us to the yellow pathway behind the booths which gave direct access to the immigration office. Cameras, cameras, and cameras were everywhere! This time they handed me my handbag without any hitch. But again, no one smiled or said a single word.

Border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay: The Canadian side.

At the Canadian side in Lansdowne, things went better. There was a calm and quiet lady to inspect our documents. She withdrew the clipped green form and let us go. We wondered if it was because of the fact that we already had eTA, or we didn’t stop anywhere close to the border to take pictures, or if it is a matter of national policies.

Border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay: things to know.

things to do in Ganonaque
Ivy Lea location, Ganonaque.
  • The US border station of Alexandria Bay is sometimes called “Thousand Islands,” and the Canada border station of Lansdowne is sometimes called “Ganonaque,” named for the nearby town.
  • The Thousand Islands Bridge border crossing links the town of Alexandria Bay to Lansdowne, Ontario via the Thousand Islands Bridge. The “bridge” is actually a series of five bridges that spans the Saint Lawrence River.
  • The pedestrian sidewalk is located on the west side of the bridge (adjacent to southbound lanes), and it is approximately one mile in length.
  • Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay is one of the 10 most used border crossings between the US and Canada and is the 4th busiest in New York. It therefore experiences significant backups during peak periods, and delays are common during the summer.
  • The border crossing at Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay is open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week for auto and commercial traffic.
  • When border crossing Lansdowne-Alexandria Bay remember that at the check point you must not get out of the car, unless you are asked to do so.
  • There are cameras everywhere. Probably the cameras are not only to check the people who cross the border but also for the immigration officers. I think someone is watching them and probably they are so strict and aggressive because they are forced to behave so.
  • Don’t throw away the receipt or the green form they give at the border because you might need it when you leave the USA.
  • At peak periods, investigations at the borders and boat ticket offices can be very crowded and slow.

* Disclaimer: This awesome, free article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. No pressure to use these links, but I really appreciate it when you do!

Are you thinking of crossing the Canada-United States border? Plan ahead and don’t make any mistakes because you can end up with losing many hours. Due to the issue we had, we lost about two hours that day. Two hours where the only purpose was to scare you. Is it worth it? You consider!

Comments (21)

  • mmontana

    October 23, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Wow! What an adventure you had! I'm glad things worked out and you were able to visit the castle and some of the islands in the Thousand Islands.

    I think your writing in English was very good. I would be happy to help you with your English. Would you consider helping me with my Italian?

    I've got to go. My puppy, Po, is taking clean clothes out of the laundry basket and bringing the clothes to me piece by piece to get my attention. She is so cute but I can't let her learn bad habits! Thank you for sharing your adventures! Ciao

    1. Travel Tips

      October 24, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Hi girl, thank you so much for your support. How can I hepl you out with Italian?

    2. mmontana

      October 25, 2017 at 1:42 am

      My family is from Italy. My grandparents were born there. Unfortunately when they came to America, it was preferred to become "American" than to preserve your culture. So we were never taught to speak Italian. So after taking Italian many years ago in high school, I'd like to learn Italian better. Maybe I can write a paragraph or so every so often and ask you to comment on it? Maria

    3. Travel Tips

      October 25, 2017 at 7:16 am

      Ya sure. Y not.

  • Unknown

    October 23, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    I hate it when customer service isn't great, but they don't care because they know you have no other way of getting across! Why not just be nice, it's not that hard.

    1. Travel Tips

      October 24, 2017 at 6:49 am

      Yep, that's the point! There is no reason to treat people in this way that then it happens what happened to me. You get upset and you forget the handbag… Ahhaaa! For sure it is a safe place to leave things…

  • Neil Alvin Nicerio

    October 23, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you for the very informative blog article. 🙂 You always have great adventures. 🙂

    1. Travel Tips

      October 24, 2017 at 10:33 am

      mmm good or bad experience, it has Always been an adventure!!! Ahhhhhaaaa!

  • Alexander Popkov

    October 24, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Customs is always a bit disturbing. Part of travel

  • Neha

    October 24, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Crossing borders always happens with little thump thump in the heart..isn't it? It's good the immigration department was well versed and you sailed through smoothly. On a side note, I never knew about this big number of islands lying in this geographical region 🙂

    1. Travel Tips

      October 24, 2017 at 10:22 am

      You are absolutely right, always with a bit of thump thump, even if you have all the proper documents.

  • Ambuj Saxena

    October 24, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Loved reading your adventure filled tale… Would keep in mind the pointers in the post. I think one should be aware before traveling into unknown lands.

    1. Travel Tips

      October 24, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Yep you are right! It could turn into a very bad experience…

  • Mario

    October 24, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Your bad experience with US border with customs and security officials is probably no exception. The ONLY bad experience I had so far at border crossing or at airports was in the US too, as "transit" doesn't exist in The States. You'll have to go through immigration and all that, get your luggage, re-check it and go through 3 security checks for the ongoing flight. Believe me, you'll have a lot of "fun" explaining to security personnel that your ongoing flight goes in 30 mins and you'll have to hurry – they don't listen at all… So… yeah. same as you, I also live in Europe and I guess all this border-crazyness is new to us both 😉

    1. Travel Tips

      October 24, 2017 at 10:19 am

      My God! Really you have to go through the immigration for transit flights as well? Help!!!! I never knew that. It's good you told me this experience of yours, at least I now know that for my flights with US transit I have to get for long stopover in between!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Swati

    October 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Wow, that was some experience. I can understand the anxiety in a new place, especially if language is sort of a barrier too. Glad all worked out well for you, in the end. AND you visited the beautiful islands 🙂

  • Ann Yamagishi

    October 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Never been to US and Canada yet, but will note this, who knows one day! I understand the anxiety, glad you made it and got things done with the officers..

  • HaLoMi Trekker Rinjani

    October 25, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Great post and a good info.

  • foreverroamingtheworld

    October 27, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    As somebody who has crossed many land border crossings this is a very informative post. Although most of my border crossing were in South America and I know the same principles apply

  • Swayam Tiwari

    October 30, 2017 at 7:32 am

    What a story! Perhaps the Americans were nervous because they assumed every visitor to their country was a lurking terrorist.

  • HF Tours

    November 2, 2017 at 5:24 am

    It's a very informative post. I haven't been to USA basically because of the fact being called terrorist for no reason. Crossing border in U.S. looks like a great hassle.

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