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Canada Opens Borders for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

The Government of Canada announced its plan to open its borders first for fully vaccinated American travelers and U.S. permanent residents and later for travelers from other countries.

On September 7, 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favorable, the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated travelers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements. As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021 and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans.

Subject to limited exceptions, all travelers must use ArriveCAN (app or web portal) to submit their travel information. If they are eligible to enter Canada and meet specific criteria, fully vaccinated travelers will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.

To further support these new measures, Transport Canada is expanding the scope of the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that currently directs scheduled international commercial passenger flights into four Canadian Airports: Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport. Effective August 9, 2021, international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at the following five additional Canadian airports:

  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport;
  • Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport;
  • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport;
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and
  • Edmonton International Airport.

These airports, in cooperation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, and Transport Canada, are working to implement the measures necessary to safely welcome international passengers as soon as possible after August 9, as conditions dictate.

All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result.

However effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travelers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travelers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers.

This strategy allows the Government of Canada to continue monitoring variants of concern in Canada and vaccine effectiveness. Using these layers of protection, the Government of Canada can monitor the COVID-19 situation in Canada, respond quickly to threats, and guide decisions on restricting international travel. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, said, “Canadians’ safety and security always come first.

With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures. A gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad. Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely.”

Finally, with the advent of increased vaccination rates in Canada, declining COVID-19 cases, and reduced pressure on health care capacity, the three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travelers arriving by air as of 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9. Fully vaccinated travelers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travelers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.

While Canada continues to trend in the right direction, the epidemiological situation and vaccination coverage is not the same around the world. The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada – international travel increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and its variants, as well as of spreading it to others. Border measures also remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves.

As Canada looks to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S., the federal government will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated travel advice to Canadians.

“Thanks to the extraordinary commitment of Canadians to getting vaccinated and following public health advice, we are seeing improvement in the public health situation in Canada.

As a result, today we announced new steps in our re-opening approach, including that international flights carrying passengers will be allowed to land at five more Canadian airports,” said, Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport Canada.