I'm from the U.S. and I've been a visitor in Canada for almost six months. I was planning on going up to Hyder, AK and from there traveling around Alaska for a couple weeks before returning home (to the lower 48). I have no wish to overstay in Canada. However, as there is no U.S. border presence at Hyder, would I experience a problem with Canada thinking I had never left?

  • So I just stop at the Canadian Customs office and tell them I'm leaving?
    – yolo
    Nov 7 '14 at 1:09

I'd be more concerned with the US not knowing you'd entered. Even at the border near Vancouver, there's no actual Canadian exit, you just pass the Canadian border and enter through US immigration - they want to know you've entered.

In This is Me by Danny Wilks, who I know from Vancouver, he kayaked from Vancouver to Alaska. He had a problem where he arrived in Alaska, tired, and went to register with the border at the next town the next day. I forget the exact details, but basically it was a case of "you've been here illegally for a day???" and he was deported.

Naturally this is not something you want to happen, and as a US citizen you're probably not going to get deported, but you may get in trouble for not registering your return to the States. I'd recommend stopping at the Canadian Customs office that pnuts suggested, and that way you can do two things - firstly, make sure there's nothing extra they need from you, and secondly, to check with them if they need to notify the US. Put the onus on them and that way if it is your deed to achieve, they're likely to help you out with a phone call or whatever may be required.

Please do come back and let us know how it goes, sounds like a good trip in an amazing part of the world!

  • 5
    I don't think you can be deported from a country in which you have citizenship: one of the rights conferred by citizenship is the right to be there. If you're a feelthy steekin' foreigner and you do something wrong (say, entering the country illegally), they can kick you out; if you're a citizen, they have to do all that tedious stuff with the arresting and the lawyers and the jail cell. Nov 7 '14 at 9:05
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    @David: Historically, some countries have banished their own citizens as punishment for certain (usually political) crimes. I believe this is generally frowned upon in contemporary international society, but there's nothing really stopping a State that decides to do it. (However, I don't think any western democracies do that, nor that anyone would do it for something as trivial as border irregularities in peacetime). Nov 7 '14 at 11:06
  • @HenningMakholm Yeah, I should have said something more like "deported from a generally reasonable country such as the USA, western Europe, etc." Nov 7 '14 at 11:26
  • @DavidRicherby yeah I did say he's not likely to get deported - perhaps I should have been clearer on that :) To be fair, the US does occasionally revoke its own citizens' passports
    – Mark Mayo
    Nov 7 '14 at 12:17
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    @DavidRicherby: Even if the US won't deport their own citizens, it is probably still illegal for US citizens to enter the US anywhere except designated border crossings. If I understand it correctly, the only way to get from Hyder to somewhere else in the US is the twice a week plane to Ketchikan and according to Wikipedia, the flights are treated as international flights and you have to go through customs and immigration in Ketchikan when arriving from Hyder. Nov 7 '14 at 15:45

Canada does not record the departure of US citizens, but assumes that you left in a timely fashion (same as the US does for Canadians). The only time an overstay would be recorded would be if you got caught in the country for whatever reason by police.

But how do you propose to visit the rest of Alaska from Hyder? The Alaska Marine Highway ended ferry service to Hyder back in 2001, the only way in & out of Hyder is via Canada.

  • 1
    There is a twice a week seaplane leaving Hyder. But you certainly aren't bringing a car onto one of those! Nov 7 '14 at 2:35
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    Europeans & Australians who have joined us for bicycle tours in Alaska & Yukon, have had to stop by Canadian customs leaving Canada. Whereas Americans can simply bike (or drive) by without stopping. I assume that would apply to all land border crossings. I believe departures by air are recorded through the airline system (but not 100% sure).
    – user13044
    Nov 7 '14 at 9:55
  • Good to know! I wasn't sure if they paid attention to departures or not. I was planning on taking the seaplane, sans car.
    – yolo
    Nov 8 '14 at 3:01
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    This is an old thread, but if you take a seaplane to another Alaskan city from Hyder, you clear US Customs and Immigration there, solving the problem. Apr 24 '18 at 22:06

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