Travelling to the US

How COVID-19 Affects Your Application to Travel
Updated October 28, 2021


Effective November 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.

See Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers for more information about necessary vaccination documentation.

COVID Travel restrictions for Canadians travelling to the United States through the land border have been extended until November 7th.

Air travellers will need to show proof of vaccination on arrival in the U.S. but will still need to show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding their flight.

Non-essential travellers crossing at a land border will be required to show proof of vaccination or attest to their vaccination status upon request by a border agent — but unlike air travellers they will face no requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test.

Several restrictions are in place for travellers from Canada who are going into the United States, including those who have obtained a US Entry Waiver. A US entry waiver is a necessary document for people travelling to the United States with a criminal record.

The land border is currently blocked to Canadians for non-essential travel, but they can fly into the country. Canadians travelling to the United States from other countries must be aware of additional limitations. Canadians will be denied entry to the United States if they have visited India, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, or the majority of European countries in the preceding 14 days.

For more information about travel requirements, visit the US Embassy website.

Both nations have stated that the lifting of social restrictions will be dependent on high vaccination rates and continued low community transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Though travel restrictions have hindered travel to the US, now is the best time to get started on your US Entry Waiver application, as it can take approximately 6 – 18 months to compile the application.

The US and Canada have mainly limited non-essential travel across the shared land border (ports of entry). :

“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.
U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada

At this time, essential travel restrictions do not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel between the United States and Canada. It strictly applies to passenger rail, passenger ferry travel, and pleasure boat travel between the two nations. All air passengers to the U.S., 2 years or older, including those in transit, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to their departure in a majority of states.

A US Entry Waiver is issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) so that Canadians can cross the border into the United States, even if they have a criminal record (including misdemeanors or alcohol-related driving offenses, such as DUI). Travellers with a US Entry Waiver can typically enter via air or land any number of times throughout the duration of their granted waiver.

If you have been previously stopped at the border and refused entry because of your criminal record, your record information is permanently in the database and your best option will be to obtain a US Entry Waiver. If you have a criminal record, find out if you qualify for a US Entry Waiver.

The United States can refuse admission to any person convicted of a criminal offence. This means that if you have a criminal record, you should obtain a US Entry Waiver to ensure that you will not be turned back at the border and that you can legally travel to, or through, the U.S.

Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently travelled to stay home for up to 14 days. Check state, territorial, tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel. If you are traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.

If you have a criminal record and are planning to travel to the US, contact an advisor today for a free consultation.

Questions? Contact us for more information.


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