10 Canada Coronavirus Travel Restrictions and Regulations You Need to Know About

October 7, 2021


  • Kayla Peters

As time goes by, travel restrictions and regulations are changing. For Canada, they are changing for the better as the country’s COVID-19 cases are steadily dropping and there are talks of reopening the Canadian borders again to the rest of the world. However, it will be done in phases to avoid another wave of COVID-19.

So for anyone thinking of travelling to Canada in the near future, here are 10 Canada coronavirus travel restrictions and regulations you need to know about.

Current Travel Restrictions and Regulations


1. Travellers need to download ArriveCan

ArriveCan is an online system where travellers can easily and securely submit information before arriving in Canada. Travellers can download ArriveCan as a mobile app or create an account and sign in online.

All travellers coming to Canada by land and air must provide travel, contact and quarantine information through ArriveCan before their arrival. One of the main reasons for this requirement is part of Canada’s efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As of May 21, travellers must enter their information into ArriveCAN within 72 hours before their arrival to Canada. The following information needs to be submitted electronically:

  • travel and contact information;
  • positive or negative COVID-19 test information (if applicable);
  • quarantine plan (unless exempted from the mandatory requirement to quarantine set out in the emergency order under the Quarantine Act);
  • COVID-19 symptoms self-assessment; and
  • travel history of countries visited within a 14-day period of arriving in Canada.

2. Restrictions on non-essential travel remain in place

The restriction for non-essential travel will remain in effect until June 21, 2021. Foreigners who are exempt from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions, such as temporary foreign workers, immediate family members of Canadians, and certain international students need to state the purpose of their travel is for an essential reason.

Some of the travel purposes that may deem essential include:

  • Health (immediate medical care), safety and security;
  • Providing service that is essential to the health, safety, security;
  • Energy and utility workers;
  • Transportation;
  • Critical goods;
  • Transiting through Canada for essential purposes;
  • Studying in Canada if approved before March 18, 2020; and
  • Tending to sick family members who have no one else to help them in Canada.

Here are a few examples of trips to Canada that does not fall under the essential category:

  • Coming to Canada for the birth of a new family member, although they may make an exception for the baby’s parent;
  • Attending the funeral of a family member;
  • Visiting family for a vacation; and
  • Visiting a secondary home.

3. Travellers must do a hotel stopover

As a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19, air travellers need to book and pay for a 3-night hotel stopover before arrival in Canada. There are specific hotels that have been government-authorized for travellers to stay in while awaiting their test results. These apply even if travellers have:

  • been vaccinated for COVID-19;
  • tested negative for COVID-19 on the pre-entry test; and
  • a place to quarantine alone.

For those travellers driving to Canada, a hotel stopover is not required.

4. Flights from India and Pakistan are suspended.

As of April 22, 2021, Canada has suspended flights from India and Pakistan. These travel restrictions may change with little warning. The government is also extending the requirement for air passengers who depart India or Pakistan to Canada, via an indirect route, to obtain a COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

5. Mandatory 14-day quarantine

In addition to the above hotel stopover, travellers are also required to have a quarantine plan that shows how they will quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in Canada. This plan is absolutely mandatory. Travellers can use ArriveCan to provide the quarantine information.

6. Procedure when boarding a plane to Canada

Transport Canada requires individuals over the age of two to wear a face mask before entering a plane and other forms of public transit throughout Canada. Contact-free temperature checks are also mandatory before boarding an international flight to Canada. There are also temperature screening stations set up in the departure terminals of some of Canada’s busiest airports.

7. Canada aims to use COVID-19 vaccine passports

This can also be known as proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to travel internationally. From July 2021, Canada aims to allow fully vaccinated travellers to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine. It is expected that Canada will expand the proof of vaccination requirement to enable more travellers to enter the country and in the first phases of the border reopening.

The details on what is going to be accepted as proof of vaccination have not yet been announced. However, the government has stated that they will only be accepting vaccines approved in Canada when showing proof of vaccination, at least in the beginning. The approved vaccines in Canada are currently :

  • Pfizer-BioNTech;
  • Moderna;
  • AstraZeneca; and
  • Johnson & Johnson.

Be sure to keep updated with all Canada coronavirus travel restrictions and regulations, as they are constantly changing.


8. Canada bans cruise ships

Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra announced on February 4, 2021, a ban prohibiting cruise vessels from operating in Canadian waters until February 2022.

”Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do.” - said Alghabra.

It’s best for any travellers wanting to go on a cruise ship, that will pass through the Canadian waters, to stay updated with the dates as it has changed several times before.

9. International students entering Canada

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) states that international students may travel to Canada if they meet the following requirements:

  • you have documentation of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) done within 72 hours of your departure to Canada;
  • have a valid study permit;
  • have been approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020;
  • attending an approved Designated Learning Institute (DLI) that has obtained prior approval of its response plan to control the spread of COVID-19 from the provincial government;
  • have pre-booked your three-day mandatory hotel stay at one of the government-approved hotels;
  • submitted their travel plan, including the hotel reservation for three days, through the ArriveCAN app; and

Family members who are travelling with international students will be assessed by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer as to whether the purpose of travel to Canada is non-optional and non-discretionary.

10. Who is able to travel right now?

The government strongly advises against non-essential travelling to Canada at this time. The following are among the list of people allowed to travel to Canada now:

  • Canadian citizens;
  • Permanent residents;
  • Immediate family of Canadian citizens and permanent residents;
  • Extended family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents;
  • Permanent resident applicants who were approved for permanent residence on or before March 18, 2020.;
  • Temporary foreign workers;
  • Foreign nationals entering Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds in special circumstances, such as terminal illness, serious injury or death.;
  • International students who held a valid study permit or who had been approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020; and
  • International students attending a DLI that has obtained prior approval of its response plan to control the spread of COVID-19 from the provincial government.

Good to know:

For those who haven’t yet applied to immigrate to Canada, the Canadian government is still accepting the majority of permanent resident applications. The main focus is on granting work permits to those individuals who fall under essential services.

Federal Skilled Worker Program


The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), is part of the Express Entry system, one of the largest immigration entry points for Canada and has a goal to welcome 108,500 immigrants in 2021. The FSWP is designed for foreign workers who have the qualifications, skills and work experience to contribute to the Canadian economy and become permanent residents.

How do I qualify for the FSWP?

To qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants will need to meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. have one year of uninterrupted full time (or equivalent) work experience in the past 10 years under a NOC skill type (O, A, B); or
  2. have at least secondary education (high-school); and
  3. get a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all 4 abilities in one of Canada’s two official languages which are English and French.

Biggest Industries in Canada for Skilled Workers

  • Technology & IT
  • Engineering & Architecture
  • News & Publishing
  • Healthcare
  • Commercial Banking & Finance
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Agriculture

How Can I Travel to Canada?

The Canadian immigration system is challenging enough as it is with its own rules and regulations, now to top that off with the ever-changing rules and regulations due to COVID-19 can be an even bigger challenge. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can make the journey simpler as they have extensive knowledge of the Canadian immigration programs. It is their job to ensure that you are aware of all options available, as there are over 100 immigration programs, as well as any new or upcoming Canada coronavirus travel restrictions and regulations you need to know about.

Simply click on the link below and fill out the form to see which program you qualify for!