Your Guide to Entering Canada With The New COVID Policies

On July 19, the Canadian government announced that it would open its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens beginning August 9 as the first phase in a two step reopening process. On September 7, Canada also intends to open its borders to citizens of other countries. 

The Canadian government is planning to use a “border testing surveillance program” at its air and land border crossings. A negative COVID-19 test upon entry to Canada will not be mandatory for fully vaccinated travellers, unless they are chosen to by random selection. They will, however, be required to pack a negative test result in addition to the proof of vaccination.

How to enter Canada from the US:

There are several entry points by land to Canada from the U.S., most notably the Windsor-Detroit, and Buffalo-Niagara Falls borders, and Port-Huron, Michigan; Maine; and Blaine, Washington, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Upon crossing into Canada, a border officer will ask the traveller the purpose of their trip, and if they feel any COVID-19 symptoms. Travellers will be required to wear a mask, bring a negative COVID test result, use the ArriveCAN app to submit their travel and vaccination information, and follow standard border crossing procedures. 

What documents do you need to bring?

Travellers must have a valid I.D., such as a U.S. passport. Children under 16 need only to show proof of American citizenship. 

If a traveller is a part of the NEXUS program, they can show their NEXUS card as proof of identification upon arrival in Canada. The same applies for citizens of the FAST program, however, only if they are travelling by land or sea.

U.S. permanent residents must carry an electronic travel authorization if they are arriving in Canada by air. Their passport needs to be linked to their electronic travel authorization, and they must also bring proof of their permanent resident status to qualify for a visa exemption.

Beginning August 9, fully vaccinated travellers are not required to take a negative COVID-19 test unless they have been randomly selected to. Nonetheless, the pre-travel testing mandate is still necessary even if a traveller is fully vaccinated. This means that travellers arriving in Canada via air or sea must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure to Canada. As for types of tests, both PCR and RT-PCR tests are accepted, whereas antigen tests are not.

If a traveller is under 12, they are still permitted to enter Canada as long as they submit the necessary information through the ArriveCAN app and meet all testing requirements. Travelers are required to provide a paper or digital copy of their proof of vaccination in either English or French. 

The benefit of a NEXUS:

If a traveller is an American citizen who frequently travels to Canada, a NEXUS pass may be an appealing option. NEXUS is a program for travel between Canada and the United States for pre-approved, low-risk travellers, which allows for expedited customs processing. 

Global Entry:

Should a traveller wish to expedite their entry back into the United States, they can get Global Entry. Global Entry cards are acceptable at land entrances for expedited entry into the U.S..

Returning to the U.S.:
Travellers arriving to the United States by land are not required to show a negative COVID-19 test. However, those arriving by air must show a negative test result taken three days before departure. 

A Special Note for Those Who May Be Inadmissible:

Please note that while COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to lift and the world is transitioning back to its new normal, some people may still be at risk of being denied entry to Canada. Those with any kind of criminal record, including those who have been charged with DUIs or OWIs are considered inadmissible to Canada by the government. If you fall into this category, please contact our firm for more information and assistance with entering Canada through applications for Temporary Resident Permits or Criminal Rehabilitations. Read more here: .

For more information regarding entering Canada, criminality and admissibility, work permits, and study permits, please contact us through our website!

FWCanada is a Canadian Immigration Law Firm which provides expertise in immigration services such as Temporary Resident Permits, Criminal Rehabilitation, Study Permits and Work Permits. Marisa Feil and her team ensure that each case is closely evaluated to determine the most relevant program. For more information, contact FWCanada at 1-855-316-3555.