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Canada Now Requires Proof of Negative PCR Test Before Entering

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Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety for Canada, has announced the government will be adding an extra layer of security for passengers traveling into Canada.

Starting January 7, 2021, all approved passengers into Canada will also have to provide proof of a negative PCR test, performed no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in the country.

china health canada

The new PCR test requirement will NOT circumvent the blanket 14-day quarantine arrivals still face upon arrival, but instead act as an additional layer of security, ensuring infected passengers are not boarding flights into the country in the first place.

Canada Swoop Flight travelers in masks

Many other nations have removed their blanket 14-day quarantines as suggested by the CDC, but Canada has been one of the last countries in the world to hold steadfast to their strict border rules.

Currently, entry into Canada is only possible for citizens, permanent residents, and a short list of essential travelers, extended family members, and a few other exceptions. General entry for tourism has not yet resumed.

Canadian traveler hiking

 It is assumed the pre-flight 72-hour PCR test will be only be required for essential and approved foreigners traveling into Canada, as citizens of Canada have the right to return home at any time, and still must complete the compulsory 14-day quarantine.

Official rules for the new negative PCR test requirement will soon be released and posted by the Government of Canada.

canada traveler airport facemask

Canadians Are Still Allowed To Travel Abroad, If They So Choose

While Canadians are being advised to not travel abroad for non-essential purposes, there are no laws prohibiting it. Canadian citizens can still travel for leisure purposes, as long as they comply with the quarantine rules coming back home. Here is a complete list of countries allowing Canadians for the purposes of tourism.

woman happy at beach

WestJet and Air Canada are making travel easier for Canadians that do want to head to sunnier destinations, by providing the pre-flight testing that is required to travel to Hawaii at this time. Other popular destinations for Canadians during the winter months like Mexico and the Dominican Republic are not requiring travelers to bring tests or quarantines to enter, making them increasingly popular for snowbirds looking to escape.

Calgary airport is still running it’s ‘test to release’ pilot program that allow returning Canadians to take a PCR test at the airport upon arrival and quarantine for 12-48 hours awaiting results. After receiving a negative result, they can leave quarantine early.

Calgary airport

Read More: Countries that are allowing Canadian tourists to visit and companies that are offering Canadians travel insurance that covers covid

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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


Sunday 17th of January 2021

Specific tests are being regulated by the airlines not the Government. Many from Dominican Republic were denied as test results not back on time and some denied because of the airline. What a mess.


Tuesday 5th of January 2021

The custom is very strict on the app. There is a code generated once you enter the information prior to flight back to Canada and you have to show this code multiple times upon arrival. There is email and in app notification every day asking for you to "check in"


Tuesday 5th of January 2021

Update for all who have downloaded the arriveapp , I think in this app I need to update my symptoms daily , I had to do this yesterday and will probably need to do this again today and most likely everyday

I wasn’t expecting this. I’m not sure if this app is mandatory when arriving to Canada. I wouldn’t have done it if I had known.

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

Yes it is mandatory


Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Has anyone seen a finalized or published a list of testing facilities for every country from the Government of Canada yet? Leaving for Cuba next week to see my family and I cannot find anything. Any help would be appreciated


Monday 4th of January 2021

Air Canada sent me an email yesterday, the below is part of the info sent to me: • At present, the Government of Canada has not yet finalized or published a list of testing facilities for every country. Visit for official updates.

How can I confirm if Canada will accept a test taken in Cuba?

Thanks for your help Kashlee!

Kashlee Kucheran

Monday 4th of January 2021

I don't think a list like that will ever become available? I have not seen any country make one before, so I wouldn't expect Canada to


Sunday 3rd of January 2021

I just got home. What a crazy crazy lineup at customs airport. I’ve never seen so many people at montreal customs as I’ve seen today. Many people coming back from south. 😂

I’ll be going back to spain in March. Hope this 14 day quarantine ends by then. I think it will I hope 😆