Canada-U.S. border crossing: What American travellers need to know before coming to Canada in the age of COVID-19

·3 min read
Canada-U.S. border crossing: What American travellers need to know before coming to Canada in the age of COVID-19

As of 12:01 a.m. ET on Aug. 9, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. are allowed to come to Canada for non-essential travel, including for leisure or vacation purposes.

"The earlier start date of Aug. 9 for fully vaccinated American citizens permanent residents is an acknowledgement and recognition of our shared border and our close relationship with the United States," Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said at a press conferences when the rules were announced last month

"It will give the opportunity to test our processes and the ensure that they are effective in maintaining the health and safety of Canadians."

Who is considered a fully vaccinated traveller?

Travellers are considered fully vaccinated if they have received a full series of COVID-19 vaccines, currently authorized by the Canadian government, at least 14 days before entering Canada.

Vaccines from the following manufacturers are accepted: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). 

Do you need to take a COVID-19 test before coming to Canada?

Travellers from the U.S. who are fully vaccinated must also present a negative COVID-19 molecular test result, with the test conducted in the U.S. no more than 72 hours before arriving in Canada.

Alternatively, a previous positive COVID-19 test result, taken between 14 and 180 days before departure to Canada, is acceptable.

Antigen test results will not be accepted to enter Canada and proof of each traveller's test result must be presented to officials at the border.

Travellers must also be asymptomatic in order to visit Canada.

Sign atop the Ambassador Bridge, US-Canada border crossing between Detroit and Windsor.
Sign atop the Ambassador Bridge, US-Canada border crossing between Detroit and Windsor.

How do you submit your proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter Canada?

Each traveller's proof of COVID-19 vaccination and personal information must be submitted through the ArriveCAN system (either through the mobile app or website) within 72 hours of arriving at the border.

For travellers from the U.S. who plan to come to Canada as soon as the rules change, ArriveCAN will be updated at 12:01 a.m. ET on Aug. 9 and travellers can submit their information after that time.

Travellers who are unable to show their ArriveCAN receipt on their phone or in paper form will not be allowed to board a flight to Canada.

They also need to retain a copy (paper or electronic) of their proof of vaccination, in addition to originals of any certified translations, for 14 days following their entry to Canada.

Do fully vaccinated American travellers need to quarantine in Canada?

On Aug. 9, Canada is eliminating the government authorized hotel quarantine requirement. Only unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers need to go straight to their quarantine location for 14 days.

Will American travellers be tested at the Canadian border?

The Canadian government is using a randomized testing strategy at the border, beginning Aug. 9, for fully vaccinated travellers.

These individuals could be randomly selected by officials, upon arrival, to complete a COVID-19 molecular test.

This is a mandatory requirement and anyone who refuses to complete the test can face fines.

What are the rules for fully vaccinated Americans travelling to Canada with unvaccinated children?

Children under the age of 12 who are travelling to Canada with fully vaccinated parents/guardians will be exempt for the quarantine requirement.

Unvaccinated children over the age of 12, including dependant children over the age of 18 due to a mental or physical condition, can come to Canada with their parents/guardians, but must quarantine for 14 days.

Children over the age of five who are not vaccinated are still subject to COVID-19 testing on Day 1 and Day 8 testing requirements in Canada.

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