On July 19, 2021, Canada announced a series of changes to the border closure between the United States and Canada which has been ongoing since March 2020. These changes will go into effect on August 9, 2021, at 12:01 am EST and those planning to enter Canada on or after August 9, 2021, should be aware of the following:
- Loosening of US/Canada Border: The restriction on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States (business and tourism) will be lifted for US citizens or permanent residents, residing in and entering directly into Canada from the United States. To be eligible for entry, travelers must show proof of full vaccination, completed at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. This exemption also covers certain unvaccinated dependent children.
- Expansion of International Airport Options for Incoming Travelers: As soon as possible after August 9, 2021, International commercial flights may begin landing at five additional airports:
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport;
- Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport;
- Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport;
- Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and
- Edmonton International Airport.
- Changes to post-arrival testing: Fully-vaccinated travelers will no longer be required to undergo a day-one test on arrival to Canada as a mandatory requirement, but maybe selected to complete one at random. This means that fully vaccinated travelers, those with a Canada-approved vaccine record, will only be required to complete a pre-arrival test before entering Canada.
- Removal of Government-Authorized Hotel Quarantine: As of August 9, 2021, the Canadian government will no longer require non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers arriving to Canada by air to complete a government hotel quarantine. Moving forward, travelers who are required to quarantine will be able to proceed directly to their place of quarantine without the requirement to await their day one test results in a government-authorized hotel. They will continue to be required to complete a day one and day eight COVID-19 test following entry.
- Confirmation of Covid-19 Measures to Remain in Effect for Foreseeable Future, regardless of vaccine status:
- Travelers will continue to have to submit pre-departure date into the ArriveCAN app regardless of citizenship, subject to limited exemptions for accessibility.
- Canada will continue to require each international traveler to present the negative results of a COVID-19 molecular test taken prior to arrival. This information must be provided electronically through the Arrive-CAN app;
- The ban on direct flights from India to Canada will also remain in effect until at least August 21, 2021. A reassessment will be completed prior to this date. Entry into Canada through a third country will still be acceptable as long as all testing requirements are completed.
Individuals traveling to Canada should be aware that these rules needs to be read alongside existing entry requirements and that individuals must be in possession of a negative Covid-19 test prior to entry, must have proof of vaccine status (where applicable), as well as a suitable place to quarantine regardless of exemption status. More information regarding current entry requirements to Canada can be found at https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/wizard-start.
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