Holiday in Canada: Borders to Open to Fully Vaccinated Tourists

August 25, 2021


  • Theresa Bernardo

The Covid-19 pandemic feels like it has been here forever and restricted everybody from moving, whether it is globally, locally, or even outside of neighbourhoods.

Almost two years into the pandemic, people are starting to forget just how good it feels to go on a holiday, and not just locally, but abroad. Luckily, there are a few countries that allow this courtesy, such as Canada.

You can take a holiday to Canada in 2021, but only if you are fully vaccinated.

From August 9, 2021, Canada is on lockdown level 2, which means the country is exercising increased caution but welcomes vaccinated travelers. This only includes travelers from the United States and French citizens that currently reside in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. The U.S. border to Canada has also opened, which means that U.S. citizens can also travel to Canada.

From September 7, 2021, however, all other foreign nationals that qualify for a fully vaccinated traveler exemption may also travel to Canada.

Since foreigners can almost travel, they can also apply for a job in Canada while on holiday. Working in Canada on a temporary work permit can gain people work experience in the country, which is valuable if they have a long-term goal of moving to Canada permanently.

It is the best country globally and has one of the top healthcare systems. With over 80 percent of the population having received at least one shot of the vaccine, the country is confident that Covid-19 restrictions will continue to decrease.

Now that travelers have peace of mind, it is time to get ready to take a holiday in Canada!

Visit Canada as a Fully Vaccinated Traveler in 2021

To cross the Canadian border, you must present a copy of your vaccination record and recent negative Covid-19 test results.

Travelers must wait two weeks after completing their full vaccination before entering Canada. A Covid-19 test must also be conducted before traveling to Canada. These documents must be uploaded to the ArriveCAN website or app.

By qualifying as a fully vaccinated traveler, you are exempt from the following:

  • Quarantine once you arrive in Canada
  • Day-8 testing requirement

If you are traveling with children under 18 or dependent adults with disabilities or mental limitations that are not fully vaccinated, they will:

  • Not be allowed to stay at a government-authorized hotel
  • Must quarantine in Canada for 14 days upon arrival
  • Must follow the Canadian testing requirements, unless they are under 5-years old

Do You Qualify for the Vaccinated Traveler Exemption?

To qualify for the fully vaccinated traveler exemption, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be eligible to enter Canada on the specific date you enter the country.
  • Show no symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Have received a full series of a Covid-19 vaccine that has been accepted, or a combination of two accepted vaccines.
  • Have received your last dose 14 days before entering Canada.
  • Uploaded a proof of your vaccination in ArriveCAN.
  • Pre-entry test results - Only for travelers that are 5-years old or older, regardless of their citizenship, must have proof of a Covid-19 test result to enter Canada.

Acceptable Covid-19 vaccines include:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Moderna (mRNA - 1273)
  • AstraZeneca/ COVISHIELD (ChadOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)

Acceptable pre-entry tests include:

  • PCR - Polymerase chain reaction
  • Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
  • RT-PCR - reverse transcription real time PCR
  • Nucleic acid test (NAT)
  • Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
  • Droplet digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
  • Isothermal amplification
  • Transcription-mediated amplification
  • RNA (Ribonucleic acid)
  • CT (cycle threshold)
  • Sequencing
  • Oxford Nanopore sequencing (LamPORE)
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Detection of N gene, of ORF 1 a/ b, S gene, E gene, or RdRp gene

Please Note: All of these tests use methods, including the nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, saliva sample, or nose swab tests. Proof of the vaccine will not replace a negative test result of one of the above-mentioned tests.

Steps to Follow for Your Trip to Canada

Canadian flag, plane, and Welcome to Canada wording

If you meet all the requirements and you are ready to cross the Canadian border, then your holiday awaits.

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveler, you must follow these five steps in this order:

1. Get a negative pre-entry test

You can get a pre-entry test result within 72 hours of your flight’s departure time before your flight to Canada. All airlines to Canada will refuse boarding to anyone that can not provide a valid molecular test result.

2. Quarantine plan if you do not qualify for the exemption

If you are symptomatic or do not meet all of the requirements, you will have to quarantine in Canada for 14 days upon the arrival. A suitable quarantine plan must be added to Arrive CAN if you do not qualify for the traveler’s exception. You may also be asked to explain your quarantine plan at the Canadian border.

3. Vaccination in ArriveCAN proof

ArriveCAN must be used up to 72 hours before traveling to enter a proof of vaccination, quarantine, and travel information. This information must be provided in ArriveCAN before you arrive at the border, and must include:

  • Details of your first dose (date, country, and the vaccine you have received.
  • Details of your second dose, if two were required (the vaccine you received).
  • A photo or PDF file of each vaccination dose’s record.

Please Note: All information must be submitted in PDF format, and must be in either English, French, or a certified translation into either language.

4. Border Checklist

You must have the following items with you for your assessment, which will be conducted at the border by a government official:

  1. ArriveCAN receipt with uploadable proofs of your vaccination (2 images for 2 doses, if applicable)
  2. Proof of your vaccination
  3. Pre-entry test results
  4. Other travel documents

5. Arrival tests (Randomized testing and exemptions)

When you arrive in Canada by air or at a border crossing on land, the border official will notify you of your selection for a randomized arrival test. Should you be selected, you must:

  1. Take the arrival test (this will be directed on the exact day you enter Canada).
  2. Receive a home test kit to conduct within 24 hours of your arrival in Canada.
  3. You do not have to wait for your results and can travel to your destination in Canada. You may also take connecting flights in the country.
  4. Will not have to pay a fee for your arrival test.

Need More Than Just a Holiday? Find Out About Canadian Immigration

Friends taking a selfie

Since you are already planning a holiday in Canada, why stop there?

If you meet all the requirements and can successfully enter the country or manage to in the near future, you can get a job in Canada while you enjoy your holiday too. This can help you gain work experience and increase your chances of getting a visa in Canada over time.

While there are some requirements to live in Canada temporarily as a tourist, if you enjoy it and decide that you would like to become a Canadian resident, you can get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) today.

Find out more about traveling to Canada, whether you want a temporary or permanent visa.