7 Things You Need To Know About Canada's Travel Rules If You're Confused By All The Changes

Travel between Canada and the U.S. just changed, too. 👇✈️

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7 Things You Need To Know About Canada's Travel Rules If You're Confused By All The Changes

If you’re feeling a little lost and confused when it comes to Canada’s latest travel restrictions, you’re not the only one.

Over the last couple of months, the rules have changed a lot and thanks to the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, the requirements for international travel have been updated yet again.

From mandatory vaccine passports and entry prohibitions, to changes at the Canada-U.S. border and new measures for fully vaccinated people, there’s a lot to keep on top of.

Before you consider taking a trip or if you’ve already got something in the calendar, here are seven things you absolutely need to know right now.

Vaccine passports

On November 30, 2021, Canada’s vaccine mandate for travel officially kicked in. It means that almost all travellers who have not received the full course of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine are prohibited from boarding passenger flights and some trains in Canada.

It applies to Canadians, permanent residents and international visitors aged 12 and older on domestic and international flights, as well as on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

In order to travel, fully vaccinated individuals must provide federally-approved proof of vaccination.

A negative COVID-19 test is no longer permitted as an alternative to vaccination, apart from in instances where the traveller has a valid exemption.

Those who believe they have grounds for exemption should contact their airline or railway company to obtain the necessary form, per the Government of Canada.

ArriveCAN

The feds have made it clear that even fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada need “more than just a QR code.”

On November 29, the Public Health Agency of Canada explained that all passengers are required to share their proof of COVID-19 vaccination via ArriveCAN — the official Government of Canada platform.

Border officials will need access to information about any first and second doses received, as well as the name of the organization that administered the COVID-19 vaccine, the brand name of the vaccine and the dates the doses were received.

Proof of vaccination must also show the traveller’s name, as well as their quarantine details and itinerary.

All of the above must be shared via ArriveCAN within 72 hours prior to arriving in (or returning to) Canada.

“Remember: you must bring a digital or paper copy of your proof with you,” says the federal agency.

New testing requirements

On Tuesday, November 30, the Canadian federal government announced new immediate travel measures in response to the Omicron variant.

One of the measures that has now come into effect is increased testing at Canada’s borders.

As of November 30, all air travellers entering Canada from any country other than the U.S. must take a COVID-19 test at the airport they land in, regardless of their vaccination status.

Fully vaccinated individuals are then required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.

For now, this does not apply to fully vaccinated individuals entering Canada from the United States via plane, or fully vaccinated travellers crossing the land border. However, officials have made it clear that this may change in the near future.

The cost of the arrival test will be covered by the feds, according to Global News, although the cost of pre-departure testing must still be paid by the traveller. The requirement for a pre-departure test has not changed.

New entry prohibitions

On the same day, federal officials in Canada also announced an expanded list of countries with entry prohibitions, due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

As of November 30, foreign nationals who’ve been in any of the following countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted to enter Canada: Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Those with a right to enter Canada, regardless of vaccination status, who have been in any of these 10 countries in the previous 14 days will face “enhanced pre-entry and arrival testing, screening, and quarantine measures” upon their arrival.

The Omicron variant

As countries around the world respond to growing concerns about the Omicron variant, travellers should be aware of constantly changing restrictions on travel.

If you have a trip booked, it’s worth re-checking the rules at home and at your destination before you get going, as the situation may have changed.

Canadian officials warned on Tuesday that restrictions and entry requirements “can always change,” and that applies internationally, too!

The Canada-U.S. border

On Thursday, December 2, the United States introduced travel requirement changes in response to concerns about the Omicron variant. These changes will impact Canadian travellers.

President Joe Biden confirmed that from "early next week" all air travellers entering the United States — including those from Canada — must take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of catching their flight.

This applies to all passengers, regardless of their vaccination status.

Previously, fully vaccinated travellers from Canada were able to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight.

For now, though, the situation at the Canada-U.S. land border will reportedly remain the same. This means fully vaccinated people can continue to cross without taking any tests at all if their trip is 72 hours or less in total.

Those taking longer trips to the U.S. do not have to take a test to go Stateside but must show proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours to return to Canada.

The rules come less than a month after the U.S. land border fully reopened to travellers from Canada.

Unvaccinated travellers

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers without a valid exemption are no longer permitted to travel on federally-operated planes and trains in Canada.

Unvaccinated people with the right of entry to Canada will continue to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at a Canadian airport and on day eight. They must also quarantine for 14 days.

Under the new restrictions, they are also required to stay in a designated quarantine facility or another "suitable location" while they await the result of their arrival test.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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