Travelling to the USHow COVID-19 Affects Your Application to Travel
Updated February 3rd, 2020
Covid travel restrictions have been extended until March 21st, 2021, and will remain in place across the Canada and US as both nations work closely and collaboratively, to stop the spread of the virus (COVID-19). 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.
Though travel restrictions have hindered travel to the US, now is the best time to start 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.
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. However, at this time due to COVID-19, travellers will not be able to submit their application through land or air, and travellers will have to wait until restrictions are lifted.
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. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials determine if you can enter Canada in accordance with Canadian law. Please see the CBSA’s website for full details.
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.
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