Returning or travelling to Canada during Covid-19?

Guidelines to speed up the arrival process while staying safe.

If you’re planning to travel to Canada, it’s important to be aware of mandatory entry requirements that protect both you and people in Canada from the spread of COVID-19. Being prepared can also speed up processing time upon arrival and reduce the risk of exposure for you and others.

Remember, you’re still required to follow testing requirements and quarantine or isolate upon arrival (if you’re not fully vaccinated), particularly given the COVID-19 variants circulating in Canada and around the world. Fully vaccinated travellers may be eligible for exemptions from quarantine and reduced testing requirements. To be considered fully vaccinated, travellers must have received a full series of a Government of Canada accepted COVID-19 vaccine (or a combination of vaccines).

Travellers must receive their last dose at least 14 days prior to the day they enter Canada (i.e., travel must take place on day 15 or later).

What’s new for Canada-bound travellers?

On August 9, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. EDT, the government introduced new border measures. Some of the new rules and changes are listed below.

New measures beginning on August 9, 2021

U.S. Travellers

On August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States (U.S.), currently residing in the U.S., will be allowed to enter Canada from the U.S. for non-essential travel if they meet specific criteria and fulfil all requirements. U.S. travellers who are not fully vaccinated, and travellers from other countries, are not able to enter Canada unless they already meet an exemption set out in the Orders made under the Quarantine Act. Travellers who do not meet the criteria and requirements will be denied entry into Canada, may be denied boarding on flights to Canada, and/or could face additional fines on arrival.

Ending of the Hotel Stopover Requirement

As of August 9, 2021, travellers will no longer need to book a three-night hotel stopover.

Changes to Quarantine and Testing Requirements

There will be modified testing and/or quarantine requirements for unvaccinated children under 12 years of age who are travelling with a fully vaccinated traveller.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents travelling to the U.S. for less than 72 hours will be allowed to take a pre-entry test in Canada before they travel to the U.S. The results from this test can be used to re-enter Canada, as long as the traveller returns to Canada within 72 hours of taking the test.

Individuals who present a positive COVID-19 molecular test result to meet the pre-entry test requirement may be permitted to use positive test results taken 14 to 180 days prior to arrival in Canada. This is an increase from the previous timeframe, which only accepted results taken within 14 to 90 days before arrival in Canada.

Fully vaccinated travellers may not need to take an arrival test. Only travellers who are randomly selected will be required to do the arrival (day-1) test. If a traveller is randomly selected, but refuses to take the test, they will be subject to quarantine and penalties/fines.

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada

Before you travel

Before you travel to Canada, use ArriveCAN to submit your proof of vaccination, and your travel and quarantine plans. You must take a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of your departure for Canada. Canadian citizens and permanent residents travelling to the U.S. for less than 72 hours will be allowed to take a pre-entry test in Canada before they travel to the U.S. The results from this test can be used to re-enter Canada, as long as the traveller returns to Canada within 72 hours of taking the test.

Be sure to submit all required COVID-19 information electronically into ArriveCAN prior to travel to Canada and have a paper or digital copy of your vaccination documentation to speed up the process and to avoid potential fines.

Have your ArriveCAN receipt, test results, vaccination documentation for both doses and quarantine plan ready for assessment by a Border Services Officer when you arrive in Canada.

Arriving in Canada

Follow the instructions provided to you upon entry to Canada to complete your arrival (day-1) test, if required. Airports and some land borders have on-site services where you may be able to complete your test before continuing to your final destination.

If you received a home test kit for your day-1 test, complete the test at home (or at the destination you are traveling to) and send it to the lab following the instructions provided.

After you report the negative result, you must continue to follow all public health measures.

If your on-arrival test is positive or you are exposed to someone who tests positive:

  • follow all local public health requirements, including quarantine or isolation
  • keep your proof of vaccination for 14 days

More information for unvaccinated travellers

Travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated

Before you travel

To enter Canada you must use ArriveCAN to submit your travel and quarantine plans. You must get a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of your departure to Canada and register in advance for an on-arrival (day-1) test. Have your ArriveCAN receipt, test results and quarantine plan ready for assessment by a Border Services Officer when you arrive in Canada.

Arriving in Canada

Upon arrival, you will be given two self-test kits. You’ll use one test kit the day you arrive in Canada and the other on day 8 of your mandatory quarantine. You must follow the instructions provided in order to perform your test and access your results.

After you have entered Canada, you must use ArriveCAN or call 1-833-641-0343 within 48 hours to confirm that you have arrived at your place of quarantine or isolation. You’ll also need to complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during your quarantine period.

More information for unvaccinated travellers

U.S. Travellers

As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States (U.S.), currently residing in the U.S., will be allowed to enter Canada from the U.S. for discretionary (nonessential) travel if they meet specific criteria and fulfil all requirements. U.S. travellers who are not fully vaccinated, and travellers from other countries, are not able to enter Canada unless they already

meet an exemption set out in the Orders made under the Quarantine Act, will not be permitted entry. Travellers who do not meet the criteria and requirements will denied entry into Canada, may be denied boarding on flights to Canada, and/or could face additional fines on arrival or be directed back to the U.S..

Before you travel

Before you travel to Canada, use ArriveCAN to submit your proof of vaccination and your required travel information and quarantine plan information. You must take a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of your departure to Canada or show proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test taken between 14 and 180 days (as of August 9) before your scheduled flight or arrival at a land border crossing.

Air carriers will verify that travellers coming to Canada have submitted their information digitally by using the ArriveCAN mobile app or by signing in online before they board their flight. U.S. travellers who are travelling for discretionary purposes who are unable to show their ArriveCAN receipt – either on their mobile device or a printed copy - will not be allowed to board their flight to Canada, as they are ineligible to enter Canada. If you have trouble using ArriveCAN, or are not able to obtain a receipt, you can get help online. In addition to their ArriveCAN receipt, travellers should carry their actual vaccine documentation (for each dose received) with them to show officials at the border entry point.

Have your ArriveCAN receipt, test results and vaccination documentation ready for assessment by a Border Services Officer when you arrive in Canada.

Arriving in Canada

Follow the instructions provided to you upon entry to Canada to complete your on-arrival (day-1) test, if required.

If you received a home test kit for your day-1 test, complete and send it to the lab following the instructions provided.

After you report the negative result, you must still continue to follow all public health measures.

If your on-arrival test is positive:

  • Follow all local public health requirements, including quarantine or isolation
  • Keep your proof of vaccination for 14 days

More information for fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S.

What should you expect when entering Canada?

Knowing what to expect when you arrive in Canada can save you time and effort as you embark on your trip.

When entering Canada, a Border Services Officer will:

  1. Ask if you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing. Answer truthfully. (Remember, Canadians, persons with status under the Indian Act and permanent residents who have COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to enter Canada.)
  2. Ask if you understand that you must:
    • quarantine for 14 days if you don’t have symptoms and are not fully vaccinated, or isolate for 10 days if you have symptoms;
    • have a quarantine plan;
    • take an on-arrival test on day 1 of your entry to Canada, if required by a Border Services Officer; and
    • a home COVID-19 test on day 8 of quarantine with the provided COVID-19 At-Home Specimen Collection Kits if you are not fully vaccinated.
  3. Ask if you have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine, where:
    • you’ll have access to basic necessities, including water, food, medication and heat during the winter months;
    • you won’t have contact with people who:
      • are 65 years or older,
      • have underlying medical conditions,
      • have a compromised immune system;
    • you won’t be in a group or community living arrangement; and
    • you can avoid contact with others who did not travel with you and will have no visits from family or guests.
  4. Give you instructions on the actions you must take under the Emergency Order as well as the penalties and fines for non-compliance.
  5. Ask to see your printed or digital ArriveCAN receipt.
  6. Ask you to follow instructions for your home COVID-19 testing.

Before travelling, you should also research provincial, territorial and local public health measures and restrictions for your destination, as they can vary.

Find out more about Canada’s travel restrictions, exemptions and advice here.

Required COVID-19 testing for land and air travellers

All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test (taken within 72 hours of your arrival in Canada) or evidence of a positive COVID-19 test taken 14 to 180 days prior to arrival in Canada. You may need to schedule the test in a transit city if you have a connecting flight. The test must be one of the acceptable forms of COVID-19 molecular tests, not an antigen test. Keep proof of your test results for the 14-day period that begins on the day you enter Canada.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents travelling to the U.S. for less than 72 hours will be allowed to take a pre-entry test in Canada before they travel to the U.S. The results from this test can be used to re-enter Canada, as long as the traveller returns to Canada within 72 hours of taking the test.

If you meet the definition and criteria for a fully vaccinated traveller, you will not be required to quarantine or complete a day-8 test. You must still continue to follow all public health measures.

Unvaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada will need to follow all testing and quarantine requirements. This includes completing a minimum of 14 days in quarantine, and home day-8 test with the provided COVID-19 At-Home Specimen Collection Kits.

Plan now, save time later

Start preparing for your trip now. Use ArriveCAN by signing in online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN or by downloading the mobile app via Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Failure to comply with any requirements or providing false information may result in fines, penalties or imprisonment.

Learn more at travel.gc.ca/travel-covid

 

Sources: Government of Canada