Canada-US border travel restrictions: What you need to know

With the COVID-19 restrictions at the border to remain in place for at least another month, some Canadians may need a primer on what those rules are.

Public Health Agency of Canada announced that several pandemic restrictions will be extended at Canadian airports and land borders, including vaccine mandates, random COVID-19 tests and the mandatory use of the ArriveCan app, until at least June 30.

While a few Canadians may still be anxious about traveling, some are ready to take a vacation after more than two years in a pandemic. CTVNews.ca breaks down what rules travelers need to be aware of as they plan their trips prior to jetting off.

PRE-ENTRY TEST NO LONGER REQUIRED

As of April 1, fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to provide a negative pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada by air, land or water.

Passengers may still be subjected to mandatory, random PCR testing at the airport — in part to monitor for new, emerging COVID-19 variants — though they will not be required to isolate while awaiting their results.

As of April 25, children aged five to 11 who are traveling with a fully vaccinated parent or guardian will no longer be required to complete a COVID-19 test prior to entering Canada, regardless of whether the child is unvaccinated. Children under the age of five won’t be required to complete a pre-entry COVID-19 test either, and are exempt for vaccination requirements.

ARRIVECAN APP

All travelers coming to Canada, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, still have to use the ArriveCAN app to submit their health information before arriving in Canada. Travelers must submit their information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before arrival at a port of entry.

Travelers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may have to test on arrival and on the eighth day of their 14-day quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status. Foreign nationals may be denied entry as well if they have not completed their ArriveCAN submission.

Any travelers who fail to submit their information and proof of vaccination using ArriveCAN could be fined $5,000.

While travelers still have to use the ArriveCAN app, the federal government has dropped its requirement for those entering the country to monitor for and report any COVID-19 symptoms they experience. Those traveling from abroad also won’t be required to keep a list of close contacts and places visited for the first 14 days after their arrival in Canada.

PROOF OF VACCINATION STILL NEEDED

Despite the lifting of pre-entry test requirements, the requirement to be fully vaccinated with a government-approved COVID-19 vaccine in order to board federally-regulated air, rail, and marine remains in effect.

Pre-entry testing requirements have not changed for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers who are currently allowed to travel to Canada.

Unless otherwise exempt, all travelers age 12 or older who do not qualify as fully vaccinated – having received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted for travel or a mix of two vaccines – must continue to provide proof of a negative pre- entry COVID-19 test result.

Accepted pre-entry tests include a health professional-administered negative rapid antigen test taken no more than one day before arriving at a port of entry, or a negative molecular test taken no more than 72 hours before a scheduled flight or crossing at a land border .

Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers may also provide a positive molecular test taken at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before their scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border to enter Canada. Positive antigen test results are not accepted.

The government recommends completing a COVID-19 vaccine series, along with any additional recommended doses in Canada, at least 14 days before traveling internationally. For those who must travel, the government suggests delaying one’s plans until they are fully vaccinated.

MASKING DURING TRAVEL AND AFTER ARRIVAL

Canadian adults and children aged five and older who are fully vaccinated are no longer expected to wear a mask in public spaces for 14 days following their arrival in Canada. However, children aged five to 11 who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must continue to wear masks in public settings, such as school, for 14 days after entering Canada.

All travelers are also still required to wear a mask while traveling on federally-regulated modes of transportation, such as a plane or train, regardless of whether they are vaccinated.

BEFORE YOU GO

Prior to traveling, the government recommends checking the COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements, as well as other entry requirements, at one’s destination as they may be different from Canada’s rules.

Travelers are also advised by the Canadian government to monitor the COVID-19 situation at their destination in the days before traveling should the status of COVID-19 infections and public health requirements there change.

CRUISE SHIPS

Cruise passengers aged five years or older are required to take an antigen or molecular COVID-19 test in order to board a ship no more than two days before their scheduled departure, but will not need to be tested before getting off the ship.

All other requirements for cruises, including providing proof of vaccination before boarding, remain in place.

The government continues to warn travelers that the virus can spread easily between people in close quarters, such as on cruise ships. The government says the chance of being infected with COVID-19 on cruise ships is still “very high,” even for those who are fully vaccinated.

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