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Passport for PCT
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Casey Balza
(equals) - F
Passport for PCT on 12/12/2011 11:45:57 MST Print View

Does anyone know if a passport is needed to get into and out of Canada on the PCT? I plan on traveling northbound.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Passport for PCT on 12/12/2011 12:14:17 MST Print View

It is most certainly needed to get back into the US!

The PCTA website has the info you need, including the permit form and instructions for entering Canada.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
passport. on 12/22/2011 12:59:16 MST Print View

The PCTA has info on the process, I'm sure. When I hiked in 2004, we hiked across the Canada border and followed the official procedure, which was to check in at the nearest police office (which was on the way to Vancouver). From Vancouver, I took a train back to the US, and the train stops at a certain place and border patrol comes on the train to check your passport, etc.

Edited by DaveT on 12/22/2011 13:19:14 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Passport for PCT on 12/22/2011 13:05:02 MST Print View

You can get a passport card instead of a full passport - it's the size of a license so easier to carry and costs less than a full passport. It's good for ground crossing/sea ports of entry from Canada and Mexico into the U.S.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Too many details on 12/22/2011 13:27:09 MST Print View

For anal-retentive completeness: A passport isn't the only option. Merchant Marine IDs, US Military photo ID, and airline transport crew IDs are some of the alternatives. But, really, for you, a passport is needed. The passport cards are smaller, cheaper, and more waterproof than the full passport book. But won't do anything for you outside of North America. Does anyone know if you can have both card-style and booklet-style at the same time?

Here's another thing to consider if traveling with kids: I got surprised when on a father-son road trip with my 9 year old on the Alaskan Highway from Kenai, Alaska to Portland, Oregon. Canadian Customs/Immigration asked if I had custody papers with me. "Er, no. We're married. Happily so. She knows we're on vacation together. You could call her and ask - here are her phone numbers." That worked.

It didn't occur to me because numerous times the boys have gone one way and the girls another in the Caribbean, England, Germany, and Eastern Europe. But in an airport, you're instantly more respectable than on the road (even through we had passports, new car, full insurance, are white, clean shaven, employed). So in the future, I'd have a notarized letter from my wife that she knows and is cool with international travels.

I doubt that would be an issue for BPing across the border. But once you hop onto the train or bus or a car, you're scum again and might want more paperwork along.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Too many details on 12/22/2011 13:48:55 MST Print View

"Does anyone know if you can have both card-style and booklet-style at the same time?"

Yes, you can. I have both, got them at the same time.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Passport for PCT on 12/22/2011 13:56:32 MST Print View

Yes, it's an international treaty thing that children under 18 crossing an international border with one parent have to have notarized permission from the absent parent. This is true for divorced parents as well, regardless of which parent has custody. The reason for the treaty is because there have been so many well-publicized international kidnappings by one parent. ("Not Without My Daughter")

We ran up against this one when my DIL, her mother and I took a trip from Seattle to Victoria, BC on the high-speed ferry. My DIL was nursing her baby so had to bring her along. My son dropped us off at the ferry terminal and headed back home; this was before they got cell phones. Then we found out about the permission bit. Fortunately, I was able to convince them by pointing out that I was the paternal grandmother, so we didn't have to miss our boat! That's the one time I was really glad that I didn't change my name after divorce!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Too many details on 12/22/2011 13:57:05 MST Print View

Thanks Douglas. Then I'll get myself a card-style for back-up and Canada-US-Mexico use.

In that vein, at least in Alaska, you can have a State ID card AND a driver's license. For $5 or $10, it's nice to have an extra photo ID along (I take about 120 flights a year). My wife misplaces her DL often enough that she fibs, says she lost it, pays $10 to replace it, and then has two so she can more often find one.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Checking in in Canada on 12/22/2011 14:04:17 MST Print View

I know that the permit says that you have to check in with the police when you get to Canada, but virtually no one does it. I talked to one hiker who tried to check in with Canadian officials and was basically told to go away. I didn't check in, nor did the folks I was hiking with.

When you enter the US, you have to be screened by US officials, but you don't interact with the Canadian officials.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Passport for PCT on 12/22/2011 14:06:02 MST Print View

>"That's the one time I was really glad that I didn't change my name after divorce!"

Mary: Wow. "Look, a nursing baby - you think Dad doesn't know?!?" I guess I got hassled less than I might have.

I kept my last name when we got married. So did my wife. The kids have my last name, but her last name as a middle name. In part so their documents clearly show a relationship to her.

But I'll have a notarized letter before I try another single-parent border crossing.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Passport for PCT on 12/22/2011 14:07:38 MST Print View

Some on the list I think said that if you fly back into the U.S., you need the booklet instead of the card. I would take a bus or train back, so I didn't look into it.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
checking in. on 12/22/2011 14:23:56 MST Print View

Yes, I bet most folks who cross the border on the PCT don't check in with the police. I imagine it might only be a bigger deal if you got in a traffic accident or something like that, and the police were contacting you, rather than the other way around (and you had to tell the "i hiked into your country and didn't tell anyone" story).