Canada is one of the last countries in the western hemisphere with its borders still closed for most travelers.
Even with some of the strictest measures in the world, Canada has now relaxed some of its tight border measures and is now allowing certain types of travelers to enter the country.
Here are all the latest COVID-19 entry requirements for Canada and everything travelers need to know before planning a trip.
Types Of Travelers Permitted To Enter Canada
The following categories of travelers are permitted to enter Canada:
- Canadian citizens
- Canadian residents
- Extended family members traveling to Canada on compassionate grounds
- Partners who have been dating a Canadian for at least 1 year and their dependent children, adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents
- Non-relative foreign nationals under compassionate reasons in specific circumstances, such as a close friend experiencing a life-threatening illness, critical injury or death, with the potential for limited release from quarantine to visit the injured or dying loved one.
- International students who are attending a learning institution that has a COVID-19 readiness plan in place that’s been cleared by provincial or territorial health authorities
Travel Authorization To Visit Canada
All travelers must download the ArriveCan app for entry into Canada.
COVID-19 Testing Entry Requirements
1. Pre-Arrival Testing
Starting January 7, 2021, ALL passengers, both citizens, and foreigners, arriving into Canada will need to bring proof of a negative Covid test for entry, taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Types of tests accepted include: PCR, RT-PCR, qPCR, NAT (nucleic acid), LAMP and a few other rare types of tests.
Tests are now also needed for arrivals at land borders as of Feb 22, 2021.
Testing Exception For Those Who’ve Recently Recovered From Covid
Mid-January 2021, Canada also is making allowances for people who have recently had and fully recovered from the virus.
Travellers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 must provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test conducted between 14 and 90 days prior to departure, instead of a negative COVID-19 molecular test.
2. Testing on Arrival & Day 8 Test
PM Trudeau announced on January 29, 2021 that starting in February, all international flights will be landing at Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary.
Starting Feb 22, 2021 all arrivals by air will be tested for Covid and transferred to a hotel quarantine for 3 days while they await results. After test results are received, they are to go immediately to their place of quarantine to complete a full 14-days. Another PCR test will be done on Day 8 of quarantine.
Quarantine Entry Requirements
All travelers must self quarantine for 14 days when arriving in Canada.
In recent weeks the Canadian government has increased follow up by authorities on individuals in self-isolation. The ArriveCan app must be used to check in once travelers have reached their self-quarantine destination.
New Exemptions For Vaccinated Passengers
As of July 5, 2021 Canada is making some exemptions to the above rules for fully vaccinated passengers.
Fully vaccinated passengers can now skip the 3-day hotel quarantine program, the 14-day home quarantine, and the Day 8 test. They will still need to comply with the ArriveCan app, the 72-hour pre-flight PCR test, and the PCR test upon arrival.
COVID-19 Travel Insurance Entry Requirements
All incoming travelers should have travel insurance the covers COVID-19 for the duration of their trip to Canada.
COVID-19 Health Requirements While in Canada
All visitors must follow COVID-19 health requirements while in Canada:
- Some provinces have made face covering mandatory in public, while others have recently dropped it.
- Follow social distancing markers.
- Follow all instructions on ArriveCan app.
COVID-19 Vaccine Entry Requirements
Canada has not announced if a proof of vaccine record will be required for entry in the future.
As of July 5, 2021, they are making some exceptions for fully vaccinated approved travelers.
Test To Release Pilot Program
Approved travelers arriving in Canada via the Calgary International Airport or Coutts land border are eligible for reduced quarantine through a pilot testing program now in effect.
(This program is currently on hold)
Visa Entry Requirements For Canada During COVID-19
All travelers arriving in Canada will need to follow regular visa requirements.
Travelers that require a visa must apply at the Canadian embassy/consulate in their home country.
Canada Covid-19 Entry Requirements:
- Check if you are an approved traveler to visit Canada.
- Check if you need a visa or ETA to visit Canada
- Perform a PCR or LAMP test 72 hour prior to arrival
- If travelling by air, arrive at only Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver or Montreal airports
- Download Arrive CAN app and follow all instructions
- Perform a 3-day hotel quarantine followed by another PCR tesr
- Follow 14-day quarantine and health protocols
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Article originally published November 15, 2020 with updates