They're saving hundreds of dollars, but there is a catch.👇💰
Some travellers are finding ways to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on Canada's COVID-19 testing requirements, thanks to free services in the United States.
As of November 8, fully vaccinated Canadians are not required to take a COVID-19 test to cross the land border into the U.S. However, the same does not apply when returning home.
All land and air travellers aged 5 and up — regardless of their vaccination status — must take a molecular COVID-19 test in the 72 hours before entering Canada.
The rule even applies to Canadian travellers stopping in the U.S. for a matter of hours, although they are able to take a pre-entry test in Canada prior to leaving.
In all cases, rapid antigen tests are not accepted.
As of November 8, Canadians who are fully vaccinated against #Covid19 can enter the US by land for non-essential travel. Before you travel to the #UnitedStates, check out the entry requirements. http://ow.ly/3CYS50GJwrh\u00a0pic.twitter.com/68cqYGJQe1— Travel.gc.ca (@Travel.gc.ca) 1636478403
How are travellers avoiding the costs?
To avoid paying up to $200 for a molecular test to return home, some Canadians are utilizing free testing services at stores and pharmacies in the U.S.
RiteAid's site promises that its drive-thru testing "meets requirements for travel to Canada."
While the services are funded by the U.S. government, in some cases they are being used by Canadian travellers who want to avoid forking out hundreds of dollars.
CBC News reports that thousands of Canadian travellers, including snowbirds, have received free PCR tests from BeeperMD, while others say they were able to get tested for no cost at Walgreens locations.
Canadians who'd skipped paying told CBC that they were able to access the services despite having a Canadian driver's licence and no American medical insurance.
Although free testing is available, there are usually no return-time guarantees for non-paying customers. Not getting test results on time could mean being unable to return to Canada as planned.
What if you take your own test?
Self-administered PCR tests, which can be taken by the traveller during their trip, cost anywhere from $120 upwards.
Canada's testing requirements have been a point of contention since the U.S. announced it would be fully reopening its borders as of November 8, as molecular COVID-19 tests are more expensive and harder to come by than rapid antigen versions.
Speaking on November 5, Canada's top doctor revealed that officials were actively looking at the country's entry requirements and said the rules may need to be "re-examined."
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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.
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