Important Information for Canadian Border Crossing

Helpful Information for Crossing the Canadian Border

Initial Recommendations & Tips

  • Complete any preflight procedures from home, before your flight – when you can take your time
  • Check and complete the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (EAPIS) and other forms BEFORE you get to the point of entry
  • Some airports don’t have Internet access, and most pilots aren’t familiar with the EAPIS process
  • Cut Bank is the only 24/7 U.S. Customs Facility in the Area
  • Bookmark the Website for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Crossing the Border: Advice for Small Aircraft Travelers

By Pete Loevinger

Flying to Alaska is challenging, but crossing the borders can be frustrating for a small aircraft pilot without an IFR rating. AOPA provides good assistance online for its members, but the information is voluminous and general. The information does not target a VFR pilot flying a small plane in difficult weather and terrain and at low altitudes, and flying into small non-controlled airports in remote areas. This is my personal experience crossing the US and Canadian borders in a Citabria with no IFR rating, equipment or training.

There is one difference between crossing the lower 48 border and the Alaskan border, and it applies both ways: You do not need nor will ATC assign a unique beacon code to cross the Alaskan/Canadian border in either direction. This because the lower 48 border is an ADIZ, the Alaskan/Canadian border is not. When crossing the Alaskan/Canadian border or the lower 48 ADIZ you do NOT need to be in contact with any ATC service, but you DO need to be assigned a unique beacon code by ATC when crossing the ADIZ border between Canada and the lower 48.

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