Canada Border Services Agency
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CANPASS Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC)

The CANPASS Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) program is now being delivered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Please note that the turn around time for mailed in CANPASS RABC permit applications is at least three to four weeks.

The CANPASS RABC program facilitates the border clearance process for individuals wishing to cross the border into Canada in remote areas.

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About CANPASS RABC

The CANPASS RABC program facilitates the border clearance process for individuals wishing to cross the border into Canada in the following remote 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)
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Eligibility

Citizens and permanent residents of Canada and the United States are eligible to apply for a CANPASS RABC permit.

U. S. citizens and permanent residents must meet normal Canadian visitor legislative requirements, as described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In general, visitors must be in good health and law-abiding, and they must have sufficient funds for their stay in Canada. For more information on immigration requirements for visitors to Canada, see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site.

You may not qualify for a CANPASS RABC permit if one of the following applies:

  • you are not a permanent resident or citizen of Canada or the United States;
  • you have been previously charged with a contravention of customs or immigration legislation;
  • you have a criminal conviction for which you have not received a pardon; or
  • you provided false or incomplete information on the CANPASS RABC program application.
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Application

Fees

  • The processing fee is CAN$30 per application.
  • The processing fee is waived for principal applicants under 18  years of age.
  • The processing fee is not refundable.
  • The processing fee is for the primary applicant plus qualifying family members.*
  • Applications presented in person at a port of entry or CBSA office may be paid by cash, credit card, debit card or a cheque drawn from a Canadian financial institution.
  • Applications presented in person at a port of entry or CBSA office may be paid by cash, credit card, debit card or a cheque drawn from a Canadian financial institution.
  • Cheques drawn on U.S. bank accounts are not acceptable.

*Qualifying Family Members

A family consists of a principal applicant and a spouse (including a common-law partner or same-sex partner who has lived with the principal applicant for one or more years), and dependent children under 18 years of age. Dependent children must be children of the applicant or the applicant’s spouse, or children of whom the applicant is the legal guardian.

If you are the legal guardian of children or you have adopted children and you want them to be included on the permit, please provide legal proof of adoption or guardianship.

Please list all dependents who may be travelling to Canada in the next year. Dependents cannot be added after the CANPASS RABC permit has been processed.

Mandatory documents

Submit identification every time you apply for an RABC permit. Each person 18 years and over must provide two pieces of identification: one primary document and one secondary document (see the list below).

Photocopies of identification papers are acceptable. Do not mail in original documents. If you submit a photocopy of the pages bearing your photograph and signature in your passport, no further documentation is required.

Each child (under 18 years of age) need only provide a primary document.

Custodial parents or legal guardians must attach a copy of supporting documents, such as a court order or letter of authorization if the application is for a child under 18 years of age who will be travelling with a non-custodial adult.

Primary Documents

Secondary Documents**

a passport *

a U.S. Permanent Resident Card

a state-issued birth certificate

a Canadian Permanent Resident Card

a Record of Landing (IMM 1000)

a province-issued birth certificate

a citizenship card

a citizenship certificate

a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization

a driver's licence (preferred)

a U.S. Social Security card

a Canadian Social Insurance Card

* If you submit a photocopy of the pages bearing your photograph and signature in your passport, no further documentation is required. 

**Please note that hospital certificates, army cards, work identification cards, or any other form of identification not issued by the government are not acceptable.

Submitting your application

All applications are thoroughly screened through various databases in Canada and the United States. False statements made on your application regarding criminal convictions or contraventions of the Customs Act or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act may result in refusal to issue a CANPASS RABC permit. In these cases, the CAN$30 processing fee is not refunded.

Application Form

In Person

Applications can be made in person at any of the following ports of entry:

  • Fort Frances
  • Rainy River
  • Pigeon River
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Emerson West Lynne

Applications can also be made at the Thunder Bay CBSA office, located at 201 North May Street.

By Mail

To avoid processing delays at the border, it is recommended to apply by mail three to four weeks before your trip.

Mail your completed application and photocopies of supporting documents to the following address:

Canada Border Services Agency
201 North May Street
Thunder Bay ON P7C 3P4
Telephone: 807-624-2162
Toll Free: 1-877-854-RABC

  • You must fully complete and sign the application.
  • You must ensure that you have provided your credit card information.
  • You must submit photocopies of all of the required identification.
  • You will receive a mailed response, unless an interview is deemed necessary.

Application Processing

The application processing time is three to four weeks.

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Using your CANPASS RABC permit

Program conditions

  • You must have the CANPASS RABC permit in your possession when you cross the border into Canada at the remote locations identified above.
  • CANPASS RABC permits are valid only for the above locations, and may not be used to cross the border into Canada at any other location.  If your CANPASS RABC permit is expired, it will not be accepted .
  • RABC permit holders entering Canada to work must be in possession of a valid work permit, where applicable, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Reporting procedures

CANPASS RABC permit holders entering Canada where there is an open CBSA office are not exempt from the normal reporting process.

Dependents travelling separately must have a copy of the CANPASS RABC permit in their possession.

Declaring goods

All firearms must be registered and presented to the CBSA at a port of entry before being brought into Canada. Related f orms are available from the Canada Firearms Centre and any CBSA office.

CANPASS RABC permit holders who are importing goods that will remain in Canada, or who are importing goods over their personal exemption limit must contact a CBSA office prior to departing from the United States and provide a full description and the value of all such goods. A border services officer will issue a reference number to CANPASS RABC permit holders and advise them of the steps they must follow when they arrive in Canada.

The following are phone numbers for port of entry offices to report goods that will remain in Canada or that are over the exemption limit:

Fort Frances
807-274-3655

Rainy River
807-852-3341

Pigeon River
807-964-2093

Sault Ste. Marie
705-941-3063



Be prepared to communicate the following information:

  • a full description of the goods you are importing, including their value; and
  • your credit card number

The CBSA officer will provide you with a reference number, which is your proof that you have reported the goods. Keep the reference number with you when you cross the border. A Casual Goods Accounting Document (B15) will be prepared and mailed to you, along with your credit card receipt. Keep a copy of this document on file as proof that you reported your goods to the CBSA.

For more information:

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Permit Expiry and Renewal

CANPASS RABC permits are valid for one year from the date of issue.

Submit identification every time you apply for an RABC permit.

The phone numbers for CANPASS RABC program port of entry offices are as follows:

Fort Frances
807-274-3655

Rainy River
807-852-3341

Pigeon River
807-964-2093

Sault Ste. Marie
705-941-3063



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