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I Drove Across The Canada-US Border After Taking A PCR Test & This Is What You Need To Know

It's not as easy as it used to be. 🇨🇦 🇺🇸

Western Canada Editor
I Drove Across The Canada-US Border After Taking A PCR Test & This Is What You Need To Know

The Canada-U.S. land border finally opened back up, and after two years of not getting out of the country, I was ready for a trip across.

It's not as easy as it used to be though. You now need to be fully vaccinated with one of the Government of Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines to bypass quarantining and additional testing, have had a negative molecular test (such as a PCR test) within the past 72 hours to get back into Canada and use the ArriveCAN app.


Because I live only an hour away from the border, in Vancouver, I was able to get my PCR test in Canada, head over to the U.S. for a couple of hours and come back using the one test.

With my list of requirements ready, I booked my PCR test appointment at Ace Travel Covid Test Clinic. The test came to a total of $295, which is a steep cost just to drive over the border.

It was my first ever PCR test, and when they say they go deep up there, they mean deep.

It wasn't the most comfortable experience, but it was over in a few seconds. I also got my test results the same day, which was perfect since I was travelling the next day.

Side note: Does everyone agree that there is no better feeling than getting a negative COVID-19 test? Even though I wasn't symptomatic, it's just so comforting.

The next step was to download the ArriveCan app. You have to scan your passport on the app, enter your information, enter the time and location of your border crossing and answer some questions about your quarantine situation if you had to do that.


It only took a few minutes, but they didn't even check this app when I got to the border, so I'm not quite sure what the point was.

So with my passport in hand, my app downloaded, my negative test results on my phone and my proof of vaccination ready to go, I was finally prepared to hit the road.


The drive was quick and easy, and I felt giddy finally leaving the country.


I pulled up to the border and saw the iconic Peace Arch and to my great surprise, no line! I went in the middle of the day, on a Wednesday, which probably helped the traffic situation.


Going into the U.S. you just need your passport and proof of vaccine, which made it less stressful pulling up to the agent.


I waited for five minutes total, and the border agent waved me through after asking me a few questions — including why the hell I was driving to go chill in the U.S. for a few hours alone.

Going into the States was a piece of cake overall, and I got to tour around the border town of Blaine, Washington on a beautiful day.


The town seemed super excited to have tourism back, and a lot of the locals said that I was one of their first Canadian customers.


After grabbing a bite to eat, hitting the beach for a walk and stocking up on snacks, I was ready to head back across the border.

On the way back into Canada, I needed to pull up my ArriveCAN app and proof of a negative PCR test, as well as my passport and proof of vaccination.

Luckily, the lineup was short when coming back into the country too.


The border agent did check my test results, and the timestamp of them, so make sure you have this ready.

Given that the PCR test is so expensive, there is a possibility of this requirement changing, so make sure you stay up-to-date on travel restrictions on the government website.

Overall, getting back into Canada was easy too! I showed my documents and was able to get back into B.C. in less than ten minutes.


Somewhat spontaneously, I then decided to pick up my boyfriend and head back into the States for a night as a mini-vacation.

Since my PCR test was good for 72 hours, I thought I would make the most out of it.

Unfortunately, my second trip into the US didn't go quite as smoothly, so be prepared for some possible surprises.

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

    Morgan Leet
    Western Canada Editor
    Morgan Leet is the Western Canada Editor for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on interprovincial travel, and is based in Vancouver.
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