Updated August 9, 2021

 

For over a year, people on both sides of the Canada-US border have been wondering when the borders will reopen. The closure of the border between the United States and Canada because of COVID19 restrictions is soon coming to an end, with some conditions. The Canadian government recently made an announced to set the stage for a reopening that many on both sides of the border had hoped. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that the country’s climbing vaccination rate will allow for easing of COVID-19 restrictions “in the coming days and months.”

At 12:01am on August 9, 2021, Canada opens its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents for non-essential/recreational travel under the following condition:

  • they reside in and are travelling from the U.S.;
  • they can provide proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days with any of the four vaccines approved by Health Canada (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson);
  • they can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken prior to entry.

This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully open the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans. Until then, foreign nationals (including U.S. citizens) coming to Canada for non-essential reasons, such as recreation, site seeing and visiting, will be turned away at the border.

The US has extended their border closure until August 21, 2021. As vaccination rates rise, both national governments are under intensifying pressure to produce a reopening plan. On the U.S. side, there have been calls for the Biden administration to start loosening measures at the American border without Canada, if necessary.

 

The Canadian government announced a minor loosening of the border restrictions that will allow those already permitted to enter the country to avoid a hotel quarantine. Hotel quarantine policy ended August 9. Fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to do on-arrival and day eight testing, but they may be subject to random testing at the border.

 

Citizens of Canada and the United States should be aware of the ever-evolving travel restrictions in anticipation of future travel plans. 

 

COVID Vaccine and Vaccination Status for Travel

On August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada opened its borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements. Fully vaccinated travellers must:
• have received the full vaccination series of a vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada;
• be asymptomatic;
• have provided COVID-19 related information electronically through ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada (limited exceptions);
• have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French.

World leaders have been more confident in their talks about the creation of international vaccine passports that would allow fully vaccinated individuals access to participating countries.

European Union countries agreed to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-EU visitors ahead of the summer tourist season, a move that could open the bloc’s door to all Britons and to vaccinated Americans.

 

Entry Requirements for Canada

Fully vaccinated U.S. tourists can enter Canada starting August 9.
Fully vaccinated tourists from all countries can enter September 7.

Until then, before entering Canada, please ensure that your reason for entry into Canada is deemed ‘Essential travel’. Typical examples include travelling for compassionate reasons (i.e., attending a funeral), approval of Permanent Residency, the movement of essential goods and medical equipment and for work purposes (when evidence can be supplied). To find out if you are likely to be granted entry into Canada, please click hereIf you attempt to enter Canada for a reason other than what is deemed ‘Essential’, you will likely be denied entry. In addition to restrictions on non-essential travel between the United States and Canada, a number of provinces and territories have put in place specific restrictions for travel across their borders, including for domestic travellers. Please see our COVID-19 Information Page for more details.

If you have a Criminal Record or if you were ever charged with a D.U.I and need to enter Canada, you will need to apply for a Canadian Entry Waiver as you are deemed inadmissible. For more information, please click here

Once you have determined that you may be able to enter Canada, you will need to formulate a plan of action depending on your method of travel.

Entering Canada by Land

American citizens and permanent residents of the United States, who currently reside in the U.S. and who qualify as fully vaccinated travellers, will be able to enter Canada for discretionary travel starting August 9.

Until then, you must follow the rules set out by the Emergency Orders under the Quarantine Act:

  • Regardless of your Vaccine Status, you will need to ensure that you provide proof of a Negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of when you intend to enter Canada.
  • Prior to your arrival, you will need to download the ArriveCAN application. Ensure all your information is filled. For more information, please click here.
  • You will need to ensure that you have a 14-day quarantine plan. Day 1 of your Quarantine is the date you enter Canada. Your quarantine period ends on Day 14 at 11.59 pm. For further stipulations regarding your quarantine plan, please click here. Any violations of the mandatory quarantine restrictions are subject to fines up to $1,000,000 CAD, 3 years imprisonment, or both.
  • Upon arrival in Canada, you will be issued 2 Covid-19 Home specimen collection kits. You will be required to use the first kit when you enter Canada, and the second kit on the 8th day of your 14-day quarantine. You may use an on-site Service to help with your test kid. Please click here to see which Ports of entry have the on-site service. To manage your testing kits, you will need to create a Health Switch Account.

 

Entering Canada by Air
  • Regardless of your Vaccine Status, you will need to ensure that you provide proof of a Negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of when you intend to enter Canada.
  • Prior to your arrival, you will need to download the ArriveCAN app and input all of the required travel information. For more information, please click here.
  • You will need to ensure that you have a 14 day quarantine plan in effect. Day 1 of your Quarantine is the date you enter Canada. Your quarantine period ends on Day 14 at 11.59 pm.
  • Prior to your arrival in Canada, you will need to book a three day stay at a government-authorized Hotel in the same city as the airport you arrive at. If you do not show evidence of booking a hotel prior to your flight, you may be subject to a $5000 CAD fine. For more information on how to book your hotel, please click here. The three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air as of 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9.
  • Upon arrival in Canada, you will be tested for Covid-19, and will be given an additional Covid-19 Home specimen collection kit. You will be required to use this on the 8th day of your 14 day quarantine. You will need to wait for the results of your first Covid-19 test at the government-authorized Hotel that you choose to stay at. To manage your testing kits, you will need to create a Health Switch Account.

 

Entering the United States

The United States has limited non-essential travel at ports of entry. The U.S. government on Wednesday extended the closure of land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel such as tourism through Aug. 21, even as officials debate whether to require visitors to have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. “Essential travel” still permitted includes: work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security. Trade and business travel will continue to operate across our borders, ensuring workers and goods are not impeded. Find out more about essential and non-essential travel to the US here.

The land border has remained closed to all non-essential travel. The United States has allowed Canadians to fly in, though they must first receive a negative COVID-19 test, as do nearly all U.S.-bound international air travelers. Unlike international air passengers, travelers crossing U.S. land borders do not need negative COVID-19 tests.

COVID travel restrictions for the United States are assessed based on the State you intend to travel to. For a more comprehensive breakdown, please click here. It is imperative to follow the protocols issued by the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Please note that the CDC strongly advocates that travelers be fully vaccinated before considering travel to the United States.

If you have a Criminal Record , you will need to apply for a U.S Entry Waiver as you may be denied entry into the United States. You may need a U.S Entry Waiver if you were granted a Canadian Pardon/Record Suspension. For more information, please click here.

For convenience, we have listed all the restrictions for the States which share a border with Canada.

ALASKA A negative Covid 19 test is not required, but is strongly recommended. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not have to self-isolate/quarantine. For more information, please click here

MICHIGAN Travelers are not subject to any specific restrictions. To keep up to date, please click here

MAINE Travelers who are not fully vaccinated are required to quarantine for 7 days after arrival and must take a Covid-19 molecular or antigen test 3-5 days after arrival. For more information, please click here

MINNESOTA Travelers are required to follow the protocol issued by the CDC. For more information, please click here 

MONTANNA Travelers are not subject to any specific restrictions. To keep up to date, please click here

NEW YORK Travelers entering the United States do not necessarily have to quarantine if they do not display any symptoms of Covid-19. Travelers who are unvaccinated, or who have recovered from Covid-19 within three months of arriving at New York, are recommended to take a covid-19 test 2-5 days after arrival. All travelers are required to fill a form prior to arrival. For more information, please click here

WASHINGTON Travelers are required to follow the protocol issued by the CDC. For more information, please click here

NORTH DAKOTA Travelers are not subject to any specific restrictions. To keep up to date, please click here

OHIO Travelers are required to follow the protocol issued by the CDC. For more information, please click here

VERMONT Travelers are required to follow the protocol used by the CDC. For more information, please click here

NEW HAMPSHIRE Travelers (including by cruise) are required to self-isolate/ quarantine for 10 days after arrival, however there are certain exceptions. Furthermore, travelers can end their quarantine after 7 days if they take a Covid-19 test 6 days after their arrival. For more information, please click here

IDAHO Travelers are not subject to any specific restrictions, to keep up to date, please click here

PENNSYLVANIA Travelers are not subject to any specific restrictions, to keep up to date, please click here

*For the most up to date information about entry requirements for the USA or Canada, please visit the official government websites.

If you would like more information about travelling to Canada or the US with a criminal record, click here to get a free consultation.