New US Travel Rules Just Kicked In & The Restrictions Will Impact Canadian Travellers

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New US Travel Rules Just Kicked In & The Restrictions Will Impact Canadian Travellers
Senior Editor

Check the rules and then check them again! The new travel rules in the U.S. have just kicked in and all Canadian air travellers will be impacted by the changes.

As of December 6, 2021, travel restrictions in the United States have been ramped up, in response to growing concerns about the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

All flights departing after 12:01 a.m. on Monday will be required to follow a new CDC testing order, which was posted just last week.

Pre-departure testing protocols have been updated to require a COVID-19 test within one day of departure. This applies to all inbound international air passengers, regardless of their nationality or COVID-19 vaccination status.

Before this, travellers who were fully vaccinated had to take a pre-departure test within 72 hours of catching their flight, rather than just one day.

However, in a statement on December 2, the White House said this shorter time frame would provide “an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant."

It’s worth noting that the requirement is one day, as opposed to 24 hours. U.S. officials say this time frame provides more flexibility for both the passengers and aircraft operators.

“For example, if your flight is at 1pm on a Friday, you could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday,” the CDC's website explained.

For now, the measures only apply to air travel into the U.S., which means those arriving at land borders or seaports will be exempt.

Although Canada has also updated its travel rules in response to the Omicron variant, the new restrictions do not apply to passengers from the United States at this time.

This could change, though, as Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos recently revealed that officials in Canada are preparing for "a possible extension of that last measure to all travellers, by land and by air, coming from the United States."

He said the feds are "working with provinces and territories to see how that could be done."

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada are still required to take a pre-entry PCR test if the length of their trip is longer than 72 hours in total. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.

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

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.