Here's What You Need To Know If You're Confused AF By The Latest Canada-US Border News

Who can go where? And when?👇✈️

Here's What You Need To Know If You're Confused AF By The Latest Canada-US Border News
Senior Editor

After over a year of ongoing travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, the situation at the border is beginning to change. However, there are plenty of things to be aware of before you book a trip.

For example, although Canada is set to reopen its borders to eligible fully vaccinated American travellers from early August, this will not be reciprocated in the United States.

In fact, the U.S. government has made it clear that Canadians (regardless of their vaccination status) will not be permitted to cross the land border for discretionary reasons until August 21 at the earliest.

Whichever side of the border you're on, here's what you need to know:

Can Americans go to Canada?

Right now, American citizens and permanent residents are not authorized to enter Canada for non-essential reasons, such as travel, tourism or visiting family and friends.

However, from 12:01 a.m. on August 9, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents will be permitted to enter Canada via land or air, regardless of their purpose for travel.

To qualify for entry, they must have received the full course of a Government-of-Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Eligible travellers will not be required to quarantine for two weeks or take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada, although they must still take a pre-entry test.

Can Canadians visit the United States?

This is where it gets a little bit more complicated.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminded Canadians that they have actually been able to visit the United States via air amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the country's land borders have been firmly closed to all non-essential travel, Canadians have been able to enter via plane "for tourism, for secondary residences, for whatever reasons they wanted."

Before July 5, they would have been required to quarantine upon their return to Canada and stay in one of the government's pre-approved hotels.

However, fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and others permitted to enter the country can now skip these measures.

This means that it is possible to fly to the U.S. right now (regardless of the reason for travel) and skip some travel measures when returning to Canada, provided the traveller has been fully vaccinated.

The U.S. land border, however, will remain closed to all non-essential travellers until August 21 at the earliest.

It's worth noting that the Government of Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel abroad.

Why hasn't the land border reopening been reciprocated?

In a notice pre-published in the U.S. Federal Register, officials said that reopening the land border to discretionary travel right now is too risky.

"Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 within the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 between the United States and Canada poses an ongoing 'specific threat to human life or national interests,'" it said.

Trudeau has made it clear that Canada will not pressure America into fully resuming cross-border travel.

He told reporters, "Canada is not going to any more dictate what the U.S. should be doing around its border policy, than we would accept the U.S. to dictate us around our border policy."

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.

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.