Entering the U.S. from Canada

It is illegal to enter the United States from Manning Provincial Park, Canada. U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirms that there is no legal southbound access at the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. They monitor and patrol the border crossing.

Is there a way to legally enter into the US from Canada on the PCT?

No. There is no Port of Entry at the Pacific Crest Trail northern terminus. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires that U.S. citizens returning home from Canada by land or sea present one of the travel documents listed at a US Port of Entry: U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL), Trusted Traveler Program Cards. This cannot be done at the international PCT crossing.

What can I do to legally hike or ride my horse southbound?

Currently the only legal way to thru-hike or thru-ride southbound would be to access the PCT within the United States, hike or ride north to the terminus, and then backtrack, remaining in the United States the whole time. Harts Pass (30 miles south of the terminus) is the closest US road access point to the northern terminus.

Why is this regulation for southbound entry being enforced?

The Pacific Crest Trail Association and United States Forest Service were sent a letter in June 2010 by the Spokane Sector of Border Patrol asking us to notify PCT users about the status of the border crossing.  There are three statutes in particular that hikers should keep in mind when planning their itineraries:

  • 19 U.S.C. Section 1459- States that individuals arriving other than by conveyance must enter the United States only at a border crossing point … and present themselves and all articles accompanying them for inspection.
  • 8 U.S.C. Section 1225(a)(3)- States that every applicant for admission to, or transit through, the United States, must be inspected by immigration officers.
  • 8 C.F.R. Section 235.1(a) – States that application to lawfully enter the United States shall be made in person to an immigration officer at a U.S. Port of Entry when the port is open for inspection.

What are the consequences?

Though your intentions may be harmless, people who cross the international border into the United States risk a criminal penalty of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine (19 U.S.C. 1459(g)) and a civil penalty of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation (19 U.S.C. l4.59(fJ). Penalties for non-US citizens are likely to include deportation.

Is the border patrolled?

Yes, it is. While it’s remote, the CPB has resources for border enforcement in the area.

What are the US Forest Service and the PCTA doing to help facilitate travel southbound?

The US Forest Service and Pacific Crest Trail Association have provided information to US Customs and Border Protection on the importance of the Canadian (southbound) access to the northern terminus and requested to work together to find a legal resolution that provides the appropriate border security and facilitates travel. It is unlikely that the situation will change in the near future.

PCTA also provides trail users with information on how to reach the northern terminus from the US side.

Is there a legal method for northbound hikers and equestrians to enter into Canada from the United States?

Yes. The legal method to enter Canada is to obtain an Application for Entry to Canada via the Pacific Crest Trail.

How do I submit a question, complaint or comment to Customs and Border Protection?

You may submit a question, complaint or comment to a Public Information Officer on the CBP website. First you will type in your email address and question. Then you must pick a topic, subtopic, customer group and subgroup. Finally, after you have typed your question, comment or complaint, click the  “Submit Question” button (for complaints or comments, just select that topic from the list). When your question is successfully submitted you will get a reference number.

If you would prefer speaking to a live person, you may call the CBP INFO Center and speak with a Public Information Officer at (703) 526-4200 or 1-877-CBP-5511 (227-5511).

 

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