At 5,525 miles long, the US/Canadian border  is the longest border in the world.  Not all of that border is paved-some is mountain wilderness, some of it empty prairie, and some of the border runs along the Great Lakes.  If you are crossing from Canada into the United States at a border crossing in a populated area, you need a US passport, passport card or another document that’s compliant with the World Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). For more details, see Do I Need a Passport to Go to Canada?

But what if you are hiking into Canada via the backcountry? In some cases, you don’t just need a US passport, you also need a CANPASS Remote Area Border Crossing permit.  This permit is required by the Canadian government to cross the border in the following areas:

  • from Pigeon River through to and including Lake of the Woods
  • the Canadian shore of Lake Superior
  • Cockburn Island
  • Sault Ste. Marie (upper lock system)

To get one, you need to be a US citizen or permanent resident.  You must also meet Canada’s entry requirements, of course, which means you need to be healthy, have enough money to take care of yourself and have no criminal convictions.

You can apply for the permit here, using either a copy of the pages of your US passport that have your photo and your personal information or using other acceptable documentation as described on the web site.

For most people, it’s a good idea to have your US passport book handy if you are traveling to Canada, even if you are traveling by land and able to use alternative documents such as a passport card, enhanced driver’s license (only available in certain states), or a NEXUS, PASS or SENTRI card.  A US passport book is a requirement for air travel to and from Canada, so having one makes it much easier to get home quickly in case of an emergency.

If you need to get a passport quickly, using a private passport expediting service like makes the whole process much faster and more convenient.  With RushMyPassport, you can get your passport application processed in as little as 24 hours, with no need to make an appointment and travel to a US passport agency office.

Apply for your US passport today!