Yes, to stop the spread of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus the Canadian Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos declared travel restrictions and further border measures. While the restriction guidelines keep changing, here is what you need to know if you are planning to travel to Canada.
Canada Travel Restriction Updates and Guidelines:
Download ArriveCAN to enter or leave Canada
ArriveCAN is a free app that is mandatory to install for all travelers who are entering Canada by air, land, marine vessel, and rail. All the information needs to be submitted within 72 hours before arrival or leaving Canada.
If you don’t submit travel information through ArriveCAN then you might be denied from boarding flight, crossing via rail, or marine border crossing. If you are a foreign national and traveling to Canada you may be denied to enter if the information is not uploaded beforehand.
Effective from December 21, 2021, at 12.01 a.m. EST, all travelers have required a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test. Canadian citizens who are taking short trips of less than 72 hours are exempted from taking the test. Travelers coming to Canada are required to present negative COVID -19 molecular tests within 72 hours of the scheduled flight or passing the land border.
Use ArriveCAN to submit the following information
Travelers contact information and details every contact details and information of the traveler and number of people traveling
The reason for traveling - cross-border work, medical support, trade and transport, and essential services are exempted from essential travel. Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, and permanent residents can return to Canada, foreign nationals enter Canada for discretionary travel and study, family reunification, or other compassionate reasons.
Travel details – date and time of arrival, airport or port, and place of entry. Flight number, airlines details, and other details.
- Travelers' contact information and details every contact details and information of the traveler and number of people traveling.
- The reason for traveling - cross-border work, medical support, trade and transport, and essential services are exempted from essential travel. Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, and permanent residents can return to Canada, foreign nationals enter Canada for discretionary travel and study, family reunification, or other compassionate reasons.
- Travel details – date and time of arrival, airport or port, and place of entry. Flight number, airlines details, and other details.
- Vaccination status, travel history, and test reports
- Vaccination status with proof
- pre-entry COVID-19 test results with a confirmation letter
- Countries and places you visited 14 days before arriving in Canada
- Quarantine Plan
- Saved traveler features
Get ArriveCAN receipt –
After uploading all the travel and contact information through ArriveCAN, you will get a receipt via email. This email doesn’t make you eligible to enter Canada or the status of your vaccination. The border service officer will check all the documents and travel status. This receipt verifies that you have successfully entered all the travel information.
Advance CBSA Declaration -
If you are arriving at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) or Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) then you can answer all the customs and immigration questions to the Canada Border Services Agency before the flight lands in Canada.
Mandatory requirements for COVID-19 testing and quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers coming from a foreign land other than USA or Canada
On arrival to Canada, travelers fully vaccinated and without symptoms of COVID-19 are required to quarantine 14 days till the result of COVID-19 test comes. The Quarantine Act is taken seriously under the travel restrictions in Canada.
Testing: On the day of arriving in Canada it is important to take a COVID-19 molecular test. You may do the test inside the airport or receive a self-swab kit. No matter what method of test you choose, it's important to submit the specimen within 24 hours of arriving.
Quarantine: Quarantine (14 days) in a designated place until the report of COVID-19 molecular test arrives. If you haven’t done the test and there are no symptoms of COVID-19 then you should quarantine for 14 days. If you test positive then isolate yourself for additional 10 days and visit the doctor and follow all the prescribed medications. The date of isolation begins from the date you took the COVID-19 test or the date you received the test results. Requirements: Unvaccinated child less than 12 years of age accompanied by fully vaccinated parents
On arrival in Canada, for 14 days the child is exempt to attend –
- School, camp, or daycare
- Visit any aged person who is 65 years old or vulnerable people who have a slow immune system regardless of their vaccinations status.
- Crowded public area or take public transportation and ensure to wear a mask and as much as possible. He should always maintain physical distancing with household members.
- Any sporting events or amusement parks, shopping malls, and any outdoor or indoor settings.
Take COVID-19 tests
The child should take COVID-19 molecular tests after arriving in Canada. Or, if you can place the evidence that the child took the test 14 days before arrival in Canada or the child is less than 5 years of age then he is exempted from the test.
Travel restrictions to Canada: Vaccination Requirements
Accepted vaccines in Canada for travelers:
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine – single dose
People from Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, or Zimbabwe are not allowed to enter Canada till January 31, 2022. But this is not applicable for Canadian residents or people from Canada Indian Act.
Travelers who were in Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, or Zimbabwe for the past 14 days have to follow measures after visiting Canada–
- Subject to 14 days quarantine and COVID-19 test. They are applicable for any of these tests - CRISPR, Ct, detection of the E gene, detection of Orf1a/b, detection of the RdRp gene, detection of the S gene, detection of the N gene, LamPORE, NAAT, NAT, RNA, RT-LAMP, RT-PCR, isothermal amplification, sequencing, and WGS.
- Must carry a negative COVID-19 report at most 72 hours before departure of the last direct flight to Canada. The test result must not be issued in Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, India, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, or Zimbabwe.
Travel restrictions to Canada-
For fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people non-essential travel outside Canada should be avoided as entry requirement are going to be applicable for both categories. This has been effective from December 15, 2021.
Residents and workers from British Columbia is exempted from a temporary visit to Canada-
Residents of British Columbia are exempt from entering Canada through land or United States of America and quarantine requirements. Non-essential travel, including visiting friends or family, is only allowed but their stay should not be more than 24 hours.
Who can enter Canada?
Canadian citizens (including dual citizens), people registered under the Indian Act, and foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated may be allowed to enter Canada. Although Canada lists down the following restrictions but remembers that certain provinces and territories lay down their lists of restrictions.
- Wear a mask and sanitize your hands all the time when you are in public spaces
- Maintain a list of all close contacts for the first 14 days in Canada
- Check and monitor your health and if you find any signs and symptoms of COVID-19, visit the doctor.
- Check with government websites and other portals for provinces and territories for changes and updates in rules
Change in rules and Travel restrictions Canada announced by Justin Trudeau –
Justin Trudeau the prime minister of Canada has said that it is not a good time to travel and has issued advice to all Canadians to avoid travel outside the country. The Prime Minister has also indicated that rules of entry into Canada are going to be stricter and unvaccinated travellers will not be allowed to enter Canada for some time. If you are a foreign unvaccinated visitor you can expect to be denied entry into Canada for quite some time.
As the situation changes the rule will change accordingly so travelers are encouraged to study the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) travel health notices.