Post-COVID Travel - A Complete Guide to Entering Canada

May 24, 2022


  • Kouthar Sambo

Canada was the only country that kept its immigration quota open while the rest of the world shut its doors since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This explains why Canada was able to recover so effectively in comparison to other countries during a global pandemic.

Canada boasts a wealth of opportunities such as universal healthcare, quality education and an abundance of job opportunities which explains why this country is so appealing to foreign nationals.

Even though Canada is welcoming toward immigrants, it is still important to take the necessary precautions if you are thinking of travelling to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 has taken a backseat in some parts of the world, you may wonder what the latest Canada travel restriction update is.

It is worth mentioning that it is mandatory for travellers to Canada to be vaccinated and continue to execute the necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Below we highlight some vital steps as precautionary measures for your post -COVID travel - a complete guide to entering Canada.

Step 1: Check if you meet the requirements as a fully vaccinated traveler to Canada

The first thing foreign nationals should do is check their eligibility as a fully vaccinated traveler to Canada. Below is what the Canadian government deems as a “fully vaccinated traveler” to Canada:

  • The traveler should have received two COVID-19 doses that are classified as fit for traveling by the Canadian Government; this can be a mix of two vaccines. Alternatively, the foreigner can receive one dose of: Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • The second dose should be taken 14 days before you enter Canada. Note that the stipulated period of the 14 day gap is only applicable to the second dose and not the third or fourth doses.
  • The traveler should not have any signs of COVID-19
  • The traveler should present an ArriveCAN receipt with the letter A, I or V next to their name. This is done by uploading proof of vaccination in ArriveCan.
ArriveCAN explained

ArriveCAN is a platform for immigrants to provide travel information before and after entering Canada. The idea of ArriveCAN is for travelers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by providing the necessary travel information.

Step 2: Make a list of what you need to have at the borders of Canada

There are certain procedures and items that travelers need to have upon entering the borders of Canada. The best way to ensure that you have all documents in order is to make a list, or create a checklist of items that you should have at hand.

Note that the government official will evaluate and check if you have the following items. You should:

  • Print your ArriveCAN receipt and ensure you have your digital copy as well. You should have your printed receipt on you as it needs to be presented to the border officers.
  • Show an original copy or paper copy of your proof of vaccination which you have uploaded to ArriveCAN. Try and have the printed version at hand should there be any connection issues from your device. Note that Canadian borders do not have WiFi for travelers.
  • Travelers should be informed and prepared for arrival testing at the borders of Canada.
  • Print and have any other relevant documents at hand that were uploaded to ArriveCAN.

The above list of items are mainly relevant to ArriveCAN. Depending upon the nature or circumstance of your visit to Canada, you should always ensure that you have all other outstanding documents at hand.

For example, if you are a skilled worker with a job offer in Canada, you may want to ensure that you have a printed copy of your Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) at hand even though this document is not mentioned in the ArriveCAN list.

Step 3: Know how ArriveCAN works

It is imperative that all travelers to Canada use ArriveCAN. Failure in complying with this standard will result in a fine of $5,000. Since ArriveCAN plays such a crucial role for those traveling to Canada, we highlighted some quick pointers that you should know about ArriveCAN.

  • Travelers should have the latest version of the ArriveCAN app before uploading their travel information.
  • Beware of fraudulent ArriveCAN webpages asking for your money. Note that ArriveCAN is a free, secure platform for travelers entering Canada.
  • Whether you are traveling by air, rail, land or marine, ArriveCAN is mandatory for all travelers entering Canada with the exception of those exempted from using the platform.
 Who is exempted from using ArriveCAN?          
  •  persons with cognitive or physical impairments;
  • persons coming from countries with a lack of infrastructure;
  • persons from countries who restrict its internet access to its residents;
  • persons coming from countries with natural disasters, and
  • asylum seekers and refugees.

The web version of ArriveCAN accommodates tablets, laptops, smartphones and desktop computers. For mobile users, ArriveCAN accommodates Apple devices (iOS 12 or above) or Android devices (OS 6 or above).

ArriveCAN also has a built-in scanning option for your documents which simplifies the process of uploading travel information. You can find out more about creating your ArriveCAN account here.

Step 4: What you need to know about arrival tests

Depending on the airport you arrive at in Canada, you may randomly be selected for a mandatory arrival test. However, travelers who are fully vaccinated do not have to wait for their arrival testing results and are welcome to travel to their destinations.

Note that some airports will not conduct arrival tests but may require you to complete a self-test. According to the official Canadian government website, the following are testing service providers at the airport:

  • Calgary (YYC) – Switch Health
  • Montreal (YUL) – Biron (no registration required at this time)
  • Toronto (YYZ) - Switch Health
  • Vancouver (YVR) – LifeLabs

It is of utmost importance that travelers only use self-testing kits issued by the testing service providers and no other testing kits. Should the traveler not receive their test results, they are expected to contact the testing service provider. Instructions and contract details are contained within the packaging of the testing kits.

Step 5: Know the requirements and process for unvaccinated children or dependents

Children who are not vaccinated should wear a proper mask that fits the nose and mouth area correctly. Below are the following scenarios outlined for children and dependents:

  • Children under five years of age: Children in this age group are not subjected to vaccination requirements or pre-entry testing. Should a child turn five on the day of arrival in Canada, the child would have to undergo testing procedures.
  • Fully vaccinated children from 5 through 11 years of age: The parents must provide proof that the child is fully vaccinated by uploading this information onto ArriveCAN. There will be arrival testing for children who qualify as fully vaccinated, and the child must be tested when selected randomly for testing unless the parent qualifies as a fully vaccinated traveler.
  • Children who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated from age 5 through 11 years of age: If the parent of the child is fully vaccinated, the child would be exempted from providing a pre-entry test result. The child would also be exempted from quarantine and there would be no restrictions on their activities. However, the child would be subject to arrival testing if the parent is selected for random testing.
  • Unvaccinated youth ranging from age 12 to 17 years of age: This agre group is not exempted from quarantine and pre-entry testing procedures even if the parents or adults qualify as a fully vaccinated traveler.
  • Unvaccinated children of 18 years of age or above are classified as adult dependents: Dependents who are unvaccinated due to mental or physical reasons are still allowed to enter Canada. However, dependents are not exempted from any testing and quarantine requirements.

A Final Word on Your Post-COVID Travel - A complete guide to entering Canada

Each country has its own post-COVD travel requirements and we have provided you with the need-to-know information when traveling to Canada. We urge Canadian travelers to help minimize the spread of COVID and familiarize yourself with the necessary requirements when traveling to Canada. We have provided you with the latest Canada travel restrictions update for your post-COVID travel - a complete guide to entering Canada whether you are visiting or planning to settle in Canada.

A good start would be to get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) should you wish to know more about COVID requirements upon entering Canada.


1. What is Canada’s travel restrictions update?

If you are traveling to Canada, you would have to use ArriveCAN to submit your travel plans and information. Make sure you conduct thorough research on what is required from you during these unprecedented times of a pandemic, and be sure to comply with the requirements. You can find more information on post-covide travels to Canada here.

2. How does ArriveCAN work?

ArriveCAN is a platform for immigrants to provide travel information before and after entering Canada. The idea of using ArriveCAN is for travelers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by providing the necessary travel information. You would need to create an ArriveCAN account and upload the necessary information required. It is imperative that all travelers to Canada use ArriveCAN. Failure in complying with this standard will result in a fine of $5,000.

3. What are Canada's international travel restrictions?

Canada currently requires all travelers to use ArriveCAN before and after entering Canada. ArriveCAN is designed for travelers to upload their travel plans and information. Upon entering the borders of Canada, adults can expect arrival or pre-entry testing, self-testing (where applicable) and quarantine rules. The Canadian government has provided an efficient online platform to help minimize the risk of COVID by virtue of ArriveCAN.