Throughout 2020 and most of 2021 Canada has had some of the strictest measures in the world. As of September 2021, 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
- As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated American citizens and residents can also enter Canada from the U.S. for non-essential travel.
- As of September 7, fully vaccinated tourists from any country can now enter Canada for non-essential reasons.
Travel Authorization To Visit Canada
All travelers must download the ArriveCan app for entry into Canada.
COVID-19 Testing Entry Requirements
As of August 9, 2021, entry requirements are basically separated into 2 categories and are different depending on if the traveler is fully vaccinated or not.
Canada defines ‘fully vaccinated’ as having received the final dose at least 14 days prior to entry into Canada, with one of the 4 approved vaccines. (Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca)
Only residents of Canada can enter if they are not vaccinated. Tourists from other countries can only enter if they have been fully vaccinated.
Entry Rules For Non-Vaccinated Travelers
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.
2. Testing on Arrival & Day 8 Test
Starting Feb 22, 2021 all non-vaccinated arrivals by air and land will be tested for Covid. This may be done on-site depending on the place of entry, or an ‘at home’ kit may be given to the traveler. The travelers will immediately go 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 non-vaccinated 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.
Note: As of August 9, 2021, the 3-day hotel quarantine has been discontinued for all travelers.
Entry Rules For Vaccinated Travelers
As of July 5, 2021 Canada is making some exemptions to the above rules for fully vaccinated passengers. Further updates were made on August 9, 2021 to allow for fully vaccinated Americans to also enter, as well as all other nations starting September 7, 2021
Fully vaccinated passengers can now skip 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 some may have a random 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.
- Starting October 30, 2021, all passengers boarding a domestic flight, a flight originating in Canada but heading to an international destination, a cruise ship, or a train, must show proof of being fully vaccinated or will be denied boarding.
COVID-19 Vaccine Entry Requirements
Canada has announced that proof of vaccine IS required for entry by any non-citizens/residents.
As of July 5, 2021, they are making some exceptions for fully vaccinated residents and citizens returning home.
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