Canada PCT Entry Permit

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has restarted Canada PCT Entry Permit processing.

If you are planning on entering Canada via the PCT, you must obtain permission from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)/Government of Canada, and carry a paper copy of your approved Canada PCT Entry Permit with you at all times while in Canada.

Entering Canada without this permit is illegal.

Without an approved Canada PCT Entry Permit printed and in your possession, crossing into Canada via the PCT is strictly prohibited and a serious violation of Canadian Federal Law. The consequences could result in imprisonment, deportation, and a lifetime ban from Canada.

How to Apply for the Canada PCT Entry Permit

  1. You are required to apply for this permit at least 8-10 weeks before entering Canada (and no further in advance than six months).
  2. Please fill out the application form completely. It is preferred that you type your application with the online fillable form. Only use UPPER CASE/CAPITAL LETTERS.
  3. All hikers (including Canadians) are required to use this fillable pdf application form: Canada PCT Entry Permit application. (Allow up to 8 weeks for a response. Please do not resubmit or call CBSA for a status update within this period. Too many phone calls/emails is slowing down the process considerably.)
  4. Print the application, sign it in ink, and then scan it with a real scanner as a pdf, and submit your application materials (including copies of your IDs) to the email address listed on the form (preferred method) – or mail it in.
  5. Your approved permit will be returned to you by email.
  6. Remember to carry a printed copy of your approved permit with you at all times while in Canada.

Helpful Advice So Your Application is Not Rejected

Because of the high volume of applications and the numerous errors applicants are making by not following the directions, Canada no longer is processing applications that contain errors or omissions. Any errors will result in a rejection and you will need to start the process over.

Ensure that your identification documents are in order and clearly scanned.

As per the instructions on the application form (Part C), you must include crisp and clear color copies of all your documents to provide evidence of your citizenship, residence and immigration status.

  1. Passport
  2. Drivers License
  3. Visa/ESTA (if you’re visiting the USA from a foreign country)
  4. All documents must be scanned at a resolution high enough to be clear and scanned at their original size (100%). Make sure that your scans are not tiny, illegible or huge.

Ensure that your application form is in order and clearly scanned.

Your application must be scanned properly (clear, white, straight, not dark or blurry) with a proper document scanner. You must send it as a PDF document, not a .jpg or a .tiff so that we can print it out as a proper document. It is an official Canadian Federal Government document once stamped and signed by a Border Services Officer of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

  1. Scan at a resolution high enough (400 to 500 dpi) to be clear, and at the correct size, Letter: 8.5 x 11 inches (100%).
  2. Ensure the complete page has been scanned correctly without portions cut off, or anything else showing.
  3. Pictures of the application form are not acceptable. You must use a real document scanner. Smartphone photos of the documents are not acceptable.
  4. The Canada PCT Entry Permit application is a fillable pdf document. Please type in your information and only use UPPER CASE/CAPITAL LETTERS.
  5. Ensure your middle name is included. Do not just write your middle initial.
  6. Previous ‘other’ name(s) MUST be included, i.e. maiden/birth name, former married surnames, etc.
  7. Ensure your Date of Birth is in the International format: DAY–MONTH-YEAR,
  8. Ensure you sign your application form in ink after you fill it out and print it.

All scanned copies/files must be attached to your email, links to online drives/clouds (i.e. Google, iCloud, etc.) will not be processed.

Important Requirements While in Canada

Identification Documents Needed – Passports and Visas

Persons entering Canada are required to carry proper identification.

If you are a U.S. citizen:

  1. You do not require a passport to enter Canada (but see point #2 below). However, you do require evidence of your citizenship such as a birth certificate, passport card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Nexus Card.
  2. For re-entry into the United States of America, even U.S. citizens require a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document such as a Passport.

If you are a temporary resident of the U.S. or a visitor from any other country:

  1. You will require a passport for entry into both Canada and the U.S.
  2. You should contact Canada Immigration to find out if you will require a visa.
  3. Read our information for international hikers.

Items in Your Possession

Persons entering Canada for health or pleasure reasons are permitted to bring with them personal possessions which they will require for their stay in Canada. Additional regulations and restrictions are as follows:

Live plants, fresh fruit, and vegetables: These are not permitted entry to Canada without fumigation and prior approval by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (citrus fruit is OK).

Firewood: Any firewood that you “pack in” must be completely debarked. scrap processed lumber would be safest (and probably lighter too).

Dogs and cats: Dogs and cats three months or older require a rabies vaccination certificate for a vaccination done within the last three years. You must carry this with the animal. Dogs and cats must be kept on a leash at all times while in Manning Park.

Pack animals (equine): (horses, mules, asses, donkeys, burros) Horses (etc.) coming into Canada must be accompanied by a USDA Export Health Certificate endorsed by a USDA veterinarian and issued within 30 days of entering Canada. A negative Coggins test within the past 6 months must be indicated on the certificate. The USDA veterinary service may be reached in Olympia, Washington at (206) 753-9430.

Upon arrival in Canada, the horses must be taken directly to Canada Customs at Huntingdon, B.C. (Sumas, Washington) or Osoyoos, B.C. (Orville, Washington) for document verification. Inspection by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarian will be required at this time if the horses are to remain in Canada for more than 30 days from the date the health certificate was issued. An appointment is necessary for this inspection and should be made at least one full week before your trip.

Pack animals (non-equine): Procedures for clearance of animals other than those of the equine species vary somewhat. If you plan to bring non-equine animals please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency well in advance of your trip (4-6 weeks minimum) for information.

Weapons: Guns are prohibited in Manning Park and this is strictly enforced.

When choosing a camp knife avoid those with blades that open by spring, gravity, or centrifugal force (this includes “butterfly” type) as they are prohibited weapons in Canada.

Please do not pack martial arts-type weapons into Canada as most of these are either restricted or prohibited by law.

Questions about this permit?

Email the Canada Border Services Agency at [email protected] or call them at 1-866-496-3987, Press “0”, then ask for the Pacific Crest Trail Coordinator.

Frequently Asked Questions about Entering Canada on the PCT

Can I enter the U.S. from Canada?

No. There is no legal way to enter the U.S. from Canada (Manning Park) on the PCT. Don’t try it.

Will I be denied if I have a DUI or other conviction on my record?

You will most likely be denied. Any single conviction (including misdemeanors) within the last 10 years (calculated from the disposition date) or 2 or more convictions (at any time), will result in a denied application, as you will be found criminally inadmissible into Canada.

For further information, please visit the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website page: Determine if you are inadmissible

Will someone check to see if I have this permit?

There is no official check-point to present your permit when you enter Canada, as you will be entering the country in a remote, roadless wilderness in Manning Provincial Park. However, both the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) frequently conduct random spot checks of PCT hikers. They are looking for approved Canada PCT Entry Permits to ensure compliance and national security. Anyone who crosses into Canada without an approved permit will be swiftly dealt with in the strictest manner.

PLEASE NOTE: Without an approved Canada PCT Entry Permit printed and in your possession, crossing into Canada via the PCT is strictly prohibited and a serious violation of Canadian Federal Law. The consequences could result in imprisonment, deportation, and a lifetime ban from Canada.

Make sure you follow the correct process, even if you think there’s a chance no one will look at your permit. Having the proper papers while in a foreign country is important.

What documents do I need when I re-enter the United States after my hike via an official border crossing?

U.S. citizens require a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document such as a Passport to get back into the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers likely won’t ask to see your Canada PCT Entry Permit as it is permission to enter into Canada given by the Canadian government – not exactly the purview of the United States government. Still, sometimes they ask to see it.

If you’re not from the United States, you’ll need a passport and quite possibly a visa.

If I’m not allowed into Canada, does this mean that I can’t complete the whole PCT? Does that mean my thru-hike is incomplete?

The Pacific Crest Trail is fundamentally a project of the United States and the official terminus is next to the Canadian border. As a National Scenic Trail that was designated by the Congress of the United States, you’ll have completed the PCT when you walk between Mexico and Canada. The 8.8 miles of trail inside of Canada, between the Northern Terminus at the Canadian border and Highway 3 near Manning Park Lodge, is a connector to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. You’ll have completed the trail without having done that 8.8-mile connector trail. Be proud.

If I’m not allowed to enter Canada, what should I do when I reach the Northern Terminus?

Turn around and hike south to get to the nearest road crossings. Here are some options:

  • Harts Pass (accessed via a good quality dirt road) is about ~30 miles south on the PCT from the Northern Terminus. Someone could meet you there, you could walk a road to Mazama, or you hope that a friendly hiker is around to give you a ride down the dirt road.
  • Ross Lake is about 36.5 miles via the PCT and the Pacific Northwest Trail. Hike the PCT to Holman Pass, then take the Pacific Northwest Trail to Ross Lake. We don’t recommend attempting the Boundary Trail to the Lightning Creek Trail as it is in very bad shape.

Can I use my Canada PCT Entry Permit to hike into Canada on alternate trails?

No. This permit is strictly for the Pacific Crest Trail. Even if snow or wildfires send you on to alternate trails on your quest into Canada, no excuses are granted. The Canada PCT Entry Permit does not allow you to cross into Canada at Ross Lake or anywhere else, for any reason.

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