Border guard
The border guard, frontier guard, border patrol, border police, or frontier police of a country is a national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 agency that performs border control
Border control
Border controls are measures used by a country to monitor or regulate its borders.The control of the flow of many people, animals and goods across a border may be controlled by government Customs services. Security is enforced by various kinds of Border Guards and Coast Guards...

, i.e., enforces the security of the country's national borders.

Peacetime duties

During peacetime special border patrolling forces, the Border guard, mans the chain of Border Outpost
Border outpost
A border outpost, border out post, border observation post or BOP is an outpost maintained by a sovereign state on its border, usually one of a series placed at regular intervals, to watch over and safeguard its border with a neighboring state with whom it may or may not have cordial relations...

s which are maintained all along international borders by countries to check smuggling
Smuggling is the clandestine transportation of goods or persons, such as out of a building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.There are various motivations to smuggle...

, infiltration
Infiltration may refer to:*Infiltration , a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning term for air leakage into buildings*Infiltration , downward movement of water through soil...

 by spies of untrusted neighboring countries, insurgents bent on smuggling weapons and explosives for terrorist attacks and subversive activities, illegal immigration
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

 and human trafficking
Human trafficking
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery...

 etc. Patrols go out regularly from the Border outposts to patrol the international border to check illegal crossings and track any footprints of those who may have crossed over illegally or attempted to. In case intrusion by foreign elements is confirmed, it is the responsibility of the Border guard based on the post to trace the intruders by checking the nearby settlements, villages and towns and inform the law enforcement agencies, Customs and Police authorities.


Typical tasks of a Border Guard are:
  • Controlling and guarding a nation's border;
  • Controlling border crossing persons, vehicles, and travel documents;
  • Preventing illegal border crossing of persons, vehicles, cargoes and other goods;
  • Controlling transportation of prohibited and limited items (e.g. weapons, ammunition, toxic substances) over the national border;
  • Supervising and controlling the observation of foreigner residence regulations, visa regime;
  • Preventing the movement of goods and other articles over national borders, bypassing the customs control;
  • Investigating cases related to offenses against the national border.

The Border Guard may also perform delegated customs and immigration control duties.

Wartime duties

During wartime however the Border guard withdraw from the Border outposts and provide assistance in a limited capacity to the country's regular army which then comes and mans all the border outposts at the international border facing the enemy neighboring country. Wartime assistance of the Border guard to the Army is essential as they are familiar with the local terrain having patrolled it on a daily basis during peacetime. During wars Border outposts are reworked into well fortified dug-in positions from where regular Army units can operate to defend the territorial integrity of the country.


Canada Border Services Agency
Canada Border Services Agency
The Canada Border Services Agency is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for border enforcement, immigration enforcement and customs services....

 is a law enforcement agency of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Created in 2003, it replace the enforcement by three separate entities (Canada Customs, Immigration Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is a science based regulatory agency that is dedicated to the safeguarding of food, animals, and plants, which enhance the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy...

). Normally unarmed, the arming of border guards began in 2007 and completed by 2016. Border guards are found at entry points to Canada (airports, ports, marine entry points and land crossing points with the United States. Along with United States Border Patrol
United States Border Patrol
The United States Border Patrol is a federal law enforcement agency within U.S. Customs and Border Protection , a component of the Department of Homeland Security . It is an agency in the Department of Homeland Security that enforces laws and regulations for the admission of foreign-born persons to...

, the CBSA is responsible for guarding the longest border in the world.

Patrol and enforcement of immigration and customs laws are performed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...



Border Guards Bangladesh is a paramilitary border security and anti smuggling force under the Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. BGB can trace back its origin to the establishment of Ramgarh Local Battalion in 1795. This force is lightly armed and although its primary duty is to protect the border, during national emergencies it can also be called upon to aid the government.


Egyptian Border Guard under the control of the Ministry of Defense
Central Security Forces
The 350,000 strong Central Security Forces CSF organization is an Egyptian Paramilitary force which is responsible for assisting the Egyptian National Police for the security of governmental fixed sites, foreign embassies & missions, riots & crowds control, publicly crowded events, high risk...

. The Border Guard is a lightly armed paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 unit of about 25,000 personnel, responsible for border surveillance, general peacekeeping, drug interdiction, and prevention of smuggling. During the late 1980s, the force was equipped with remote sensors, night-vision
Night vision goggles
A night vision device is an optical instrument that allows images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness. They are most often used by the military and law enforcement agencies, but are available to civilian users...

 binoculars, communications vehicles, and high-speed motorboats.


In Germany, the Federal Police, a civilian agency subordinated to the Ministry of Interior
Federal Ministry of the Interior (Germany)
The Federal Ministry of the Interior is a ministry of the German federal government. Its main office is in Berlin, with a secondary seat in Bonn. The current minister of the interior is Dr...

, is - besides other duties - responsible for border control tasks.

Until 2005, this task was fulfilled by the Federal Border Guard
Bundesgrenzschutz was the first federal police organization in Western Germany after World War II permitted by the Allied occupation authorities. In July 2005, the BGS was renamed Bundespolizei to reflect its transition to a multi-faceted police agency.It was established in 1951...

, which originally was a paramilitary organisation, but had its military rank structure changed into a civilian one in the 1970s and lost its wartime
State of Defence (Germany)
The term State of Defence refers to the legal status of the Federal Republic of Germany if it is "under attack by armed force or imminently threatened with such an attack". This special status, which was created by a constitutional amendment in 1968, gives the Federal Government extraordinary...

A combatant is someone who takes a direct part in the hostilities of an armed conflict. If a combatant follows the law of war, then they are considered a privileged combatant, and upon capture they qualify as a prisoner of war under the Third Geneva Convention...

 status in the 1990s.

Hong Kong

Border guards in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 consists of two civilian agencies:
  • Customs and Excise officers handling customs duties at ports, airports and land crossing.
  • Immigration
    Immigration Department (Hong Kong)
    The Immigration Department of the Government of Hong Kong is responsible for immigration control of Hong Kong. After the People's Republic of China assumed sovereignty of the territory in July 1997, Hong Kong's immigration system remained largely unchanged from its British predecessor model...

     officers handle people entering ports, airport (1) and land crossings (6) with China.

Hong Kong Police Force
Hong Kong Police Force
The Hong Kong Police Force is the largest disciplined service under the Security Bureau of Hong Kong. It is the world's second, and Asia's first, police agency to operate with a modern policing system. It was formed on 1 May 1844, with a strength of 32 officers...

 officers patrol the border with China, but they are not border guards at entry points. Prior to 1995, this role was performed by British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 units stations in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...


All three border agencies are responsibilities of the Security Bureau
Security Bureau (Hong Kong)
The Security Bureau is a body of the Government of Hong Kong responsible for a range of activities, including law enforcement, search and rescue and administer various laws in relation to the security of Hong Kong....



The Border Security Force (BSF) is a border patrol agency of the Government of India
Government of India
The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

. Established on December 1, 1965, it is a component of the paramilitary forces of India (PMF) and its primary role is to guard India's international borders during peacetime and also prevent transnational crime
Transnational crime
Transnational crimes are crimes that have actual or potential effect across national borders and crimes which are intra-State but which offend fundamental values of the international community...

. Like most paramilitary units of India, the BSF is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs (India)
Ministry of Home Affairs , known as the Home Ministry or MHA, is an Indian government ministry. It is an interior ministry mainly responsible for the maintenance of Internal security and domestic policy.-Ministerial Team:...

 and is headed by an Indian Police Service
Indian Police Service
The Indian Police Service , simply known as Indian Police or IPS, is one of the three All India Services of the Government of India...

 Officer. It is one of the many law enforcement agencies of India
Law enforcement in India
Law enforcement in India by numerous law enforcement agencies. Like many federal structures, the nature of the Constitution of India mandates law and order as a subject of the state, therefore the bulk of the policing lies with the respective states and territories of India.At the federal level,...


The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is an Indian paramilitary force conceived on October 24, 1962 for security along the India's border with the Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 of China, border covering 2115 kilometers.


The Israel Border Police operates as a gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

 under the supervision of the Israel Police
Israel Police
The Israel Police is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism...

 and was founded as part of the frontier corps before it became the Border Police. While its main duty is protecting the borders of Israel, it has also been deployed to be used in helping the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

) in some conflicts such as the Six Day War. A scandal that troubled the Israeli Border Police in 1956 was the Kafr Qasim massacre
Kafr Qasim massacre
The Kafr Qasim massacre took place in the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Qasim situated on the Green Line, at that time, the de facto border between Israel and the West Bank on October 29, 1956. It was carried out by the Israel Border Police and resulted in 48 Arab civilians dead, including 6 women...

, where several Palestinian Arabs were killed by Israel Border Police.


In Italy the border police service is covered by the Guardia di Finanza
Guardia di Finanza
The Guardia di Finanza is a Italian law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance. Like the Carabinieri, it is part of the Italian Armed Forces. The Guard is essentially responsible for dealing with financial crime and smuggling; it has also evolved into Italy's...

, a branch of the Italian Army
Italian Army
The Italian Army is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft...

 under the command of the Finance Minister; mostly, the Guardia di Finanza (or Fiamme Gialle) fight against smugglin], illegal drug trafficking, tax evasion
Tax evasion
Tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, corporations, trusts and other entities to evade taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability,...

 and other financial crimes. Also, many border posts are staffed by Carabinieri
The Carabinieri is the national gendarmerie of Italy, policing both military and civilian populations, and is a branch of the armed forces.-Early history:...

. The Immigration and Border Police also performs border police duties.


Border patrol and immigration control in Macau are conducted by Public Security Police Force of Macau
Public Security Police Force of Macau
The Public Security Police Force of Macau is the police department of Macau under the Macau Security Forces. Originally known at first as the Macau Police , the force went through several name changes before taking on its current name...

 at land entries (4) with China and at Macau International Airport
Macau International Airport
- Cargo airlines :The following cargo airlines serve Macau International Airport :*Air Macau*EVA Air Cargo*Shanghai Airlines Cargo*Singapore Airlines Cargo- Other Tenants :* Macau Customs Service...

. Customs duties are performed by Macau Customs agency. Both border guards and customs officers are responsibilities of the Secretariat for Security
Secretariat for Security (Macau)
The Secretariat for Security is the government department responsible for public safety and security in Macau. The role replaced the former post of Secretary for Public Security...



The Frontier Corps
Frontier Corps
The Frontier Corps is a federally-controlled paramilitary force of Pakistan, recruited mostly from the tribal areas along the western borders and led by officers from the Pakistan Army...

 (FC) is a federal paramilitary force recruited mostly by people from the tribal areas and led by officers from the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

. The FC is stationed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

 Province, are known as FC NWFP and FC Balochistan, respectively. Both distinct provincial groups are run traditionally by an "inspector general
Inspector General
An Inspector General is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is Inspectors General.-Bangladesh:...

" who is a regular Pakistani Army officer of at least major-general rank, although the force itself is part of the Interior Ministry, not the army.

The Pakistan Rangers
Pakistan Rangers
The Pakistan Rangers are part of the Paramilitary forces of Pakistan, and consists of members of the Pakistan Army under the direct control of the Ministry of the Interior of the Pakistan Government. The Rangers are an internal security force with the prime objective to provide and maintain...

 are a paramilitary force under the control of the Ministry of the Interior of the Pakistani government. In 1995 the Pakistan Rangers divided into two parts; Pakistan Rangers Punjab headquartered in Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, and Pakistan Rangers Sindh headquartered in Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

. The two divisions have different uniforms and chains of command.


The Border Guard Service of Russia is (since 2003) an agency of the Federal Security Service.
The agency considers itself a direct successor of the Soviet border troops, and regularly celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the latter (May 28, 1918). This annual event, known as the Border Guards Day is celebrated every year by the guards in active service as well as former servicemen in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and throughout the country.


In Spain, the paramilitary Guardia Civil is responsible for protecting the borders. There is also a specialized service of the Department of Customs and Special Taxes, the Servicio de Vigilancia Aduanera
Servicio de Vigilancia Aduanera
The Customs Surveillance Service is a Spanish law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation and prosecution of cases involving contraband, illegal drugs, financial evasion and violations, money laundering, surveillance for financial police purposes and the provision of judicial police...

, that has some general border guard duties.


The Border Patrol Police is Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

's paramilitary force responsible for border security and counter-insurgency, and operates as the law-enforcement arm in conjunction with Thahan Phran
Thahan Phran
The Thahan Phran is a paramilitary light infantry force which patrols the borders of Thailand and is part of the Royal Thai Army...

, the ranger
-Law enforcement:* Arizona Rangers* California State Rangers* Colorado Mounted Rangers* Council ranger, a type of officer in Australia* Newfoundland Rangers* New Mexico Rangers* Pakistan Rangers, a Pakistani paramilitary force* Texas Ranger Division...

 paramilitary arm of the Royal Thai Army.

United Kingdom

Border guard services are provided by the UK Border Agency
UK Border Agency
The UK Border Agency is the border control body of the United Kingdom government and part of the Home Office. It was formed on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency , UKvisas and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs...

. The agency is responsible for visa controls, passport checks and customs enforcement at ports of entry into the UK, criminal cases, inland immigration enforcement.

United States

In the United States, border control is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security. This jurisdictional authority is shared by Customs and Border Protection, the United State Coast Guard (the primary interdiction components) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the investigative component).

Customs and Border Protection is composed of three distinct enforcement arms: the Office of Border Patrol (OBP, otherwise known as the United States Border Patrol), the Office of Field Operations (OFO) and the Office of Air and Marine (OAM). OBP is tasked with securing the international border in-between the Ports of Entry (POE) and is a mobile enforcement agency that is structured and employed like any other uniformed police department in the United States. OFO is the law enforcement branch tasked with administering the POE's (air, land or sea) and is responsible for determining the admissibility of all persons and goods into the United States. The OAM operates all aircraft and watercraft for Customs and Border Protection and coordinates their interdiction efforts with either OBP, United States Coast Guard and/or with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The United States Coast Guard is the only branch of military in the United States that is not subject to posse comitatus
Posse Comitatus Act
The Posse Comitatus Act is an often misunderstood and misquoted United States federal law passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction. Its intent was to limit the powers of local governments and law enforcement agencies from using federal military personnel to enforce the laws of...

. The reason being that both commissioned and petty officers are considered law enforcement officers with customs authority pursuant to 19 USC 1401. United States Coast Guard has jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the same authority as both Customs and Border Protection and the United States Coast Guard, with the added jurisdiction of investigating violations that occur at both the border and the interior of the United States.

In terms of comparison to a traditional police force, Customs and Border Protection and the United States Coast Guard are analogous to the uniformed division while Immigration and Customs Enforcement would represent the detective division.


Vietnam Border Defense Force (Biên phòng Việt Nam)is a branch of Vietnam People's Army and is under command of Ministry of Defence (Vietnam)
Ministry of Defence (Vietnam)
Ministry of Defence is the governmental ministry of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam that manages, coordinates and supervises military affairs, including all military units, paramilitary units, and similar agencies in the country. The major office of the Ministry of Defence is located within the...

It has important roles in protecting Vietnam's sovereign, maintaining security at land and sea borders.
Vietnam Border Defense Force is established on 3rd of March, 1959. It is organised into 3 levels: National Command, Provincial Command and Local Post.

See also

  • List of national border guard agencies
  • Coast Guard
    Coast guard
    A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...

  • Border outpost
    Border outpost
    A border outpost, border out post, border observation post or BOP is an outpost maintained by a sovereign state on its border, usually one of a series placed at regular intervals, to watch over and safeguard its border with a neighboring state with whom it may or may not have cordial relations...

  • Border checkpoint
    Border checkpoint
    A border checkpoint is a place, generally between two countries, where travellers and/or goods are inspected. 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...

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