Travel to Canada: Borders Now Open to U.S. Travellers!
August 9, 2021
Canada closed its land border with the United States in March 2020 as the pandemic first accelerated, it has been a long one and a half years. For those travellers who have been waiting oh so patiently to travel to Canada, now is the time. The Canadian borders now open to U.S. travellers!
Continue reading to see the requirements that need to be met in order to cross the border.
Canadian Border to Open for U.S. Travellers
Canada plans to open its borders to those U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents, that are fully vaccinated, for non-essential travel on August 9, 2021. Those travellers who are not exempt from travel restrictions will be able to explore Canada for tourism as long as they meet all the requirements.
To be considered fully vaccinated, you must:
- be eligible to enter Canada;
- have received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines;
- have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to the day you enter Canada; and
- upload your proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN.
The accepted vaccines in Canada are as follows:
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD; and
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
If you received your vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.
What is ArriveCAN?
ArriveCAN is the official government of Canada platform used to submit all traveller’s mandatory information as well as all documents and information related to travel plans. The uploading process is easy to do and information is secure. This application is an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
All travellers wanting to cross the border of Canada must download ArriveCAN. Travellers can access ArriveCAN via the website and create an account or download the mobile application available.
Entry requirements for the fully vaccinated exemption
Fully vaccinated travellers must follow the entry requirements:
- Pre-entry test required;
- Quarantine plan in case you don’t get the exemption;
- Arrival test; and
- Requirements checklist.
Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age will be able to enter Canada if they are travelling with a parent or guardian who is fully vaccinated.
Pre-entry test required
Travellers flying to Canada must take a test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of their flight to Canada. Airlines will refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a valid molecular test result.
Travellers must show proof of test results even if they:
- have tested negative for COVID-19 previous to the 72 hour period;
- have been vaccinated for COVID-19;
- recovered from COVID-19 and no longer test positive; and
- recovered from COVID-19 and continue to test positive.
Quarantine plan in case you don’t get the exemption
Only a government representative can decide whether a traveller is exempt from quarantine or not, therefore it is important for travellers to be prepared to quarantine for 14 days, in the case they:
- are symptomatic;
- don’t meet the requirements.
All travellers must use ArriveCAN to submit their quarantine plan.
Travellers are required to register their test in advance as this saves time at the border. They may also travel to their destination as they do not need to wait for the arrival test results. Airports and some land borders have on-site testing or sample observation services where travellers can complete their tests. If the arrival test is negative U.S. travellers must:
- follow local public health measures;
- maintain a list of all close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada; and
- keep copies of your proof of vaccination for 14 days.
All travellers should follow the checklist to know what to bring to the border. Provinces and territories may have their own border measures as well as public health guidelines. Travellers need to check for the updated requirements for their destination.
Exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers who meet specific conditions
Some travellers may qualify for certain exemptions to quarantine and testing requirements if they:
- are eligible to enter Canada;
- are asymptomatic;
- meet the Government of Canada requirements of fully vaccinated travellers; and
- meet all other entry requirements, including entering their information in ArriveCAN before arrival.
Those who meet the requirements may be exempt from:
- hotel stopover (for air travellers);
- day-8 testing requirement.
Please note that until August 9, 2021: Exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers are not available to those arriving in Canada by boat. Travel restrictions on who can enter Canada remain in place. Foreign nationals (including U.S. citizens) coming to Canada for non-essential reasons will be turned away at the border.
How to Get a Canadian Tourist Visa from the USA
For those wanting to travel to Canada as the borders are now open to U.S. travellerswill be happy to know that U.S. citizens and permanent residents do not need a visitor visa to explore Canada. They are, however, expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Having the eTA allows the tourist to do multiple visits and stay for durations as long as six months at a time. The eTA is valid for five years or up until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
How to apply for an eTA
The entire application is done online and is rather simple. There is an online help document in several languages that can be useful for those travellers struggling with the application. Travellers will need the following to complete the eTA form:
- A valid passport from a visa-exempt country;
- A valid email address; and
- A credit or debit card.
Most applicants receive their eTA approval within minutes via email. There are, however, some applications that can take several days if additional information is required from the applicant. This is why it is best to have the eTA before booking the flight to Canada.
An eTA costs CAD $7 and applicants can only apply and pay for one person at a time.
The approved eTA will be linked to the passport the traveller used to apply. Travellers need to present their passports when checking in to their flight to Canada. The airline staff will scan the passport to confirm that it is a valid eTA. If they do not have one, they will not be able to board the flight.
Places to Visit in Canada as a Tourist
Whistler is one of the best places in Canada to go for winter skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing and so much more. It is also home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America which there would be no shortage of fun for travellers.
Things to do include:
- Visit vibrant culture at the art museums and cultural centres; and
- Enjoy great food at 21 Steps or Alta Bistro.
This is a great place to go with a partner. It is known as a paradise for water lovers, as Tofino has some breathtaking beaches. The endless beaches and constant waves also make for great surfing spots and travellers are able to surf year-round as long as they are wearing thick wetsuits.
Things to do include:
- Explore the famous beaches like Long Beach and Chesterman Beach
- Try the popular fish tacos; and
- Kayaking and camping at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
3. Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens, a place best to explore with a camera in hand. There are many things to do, with a captivating display of flowers, fun boat tours, fireworks and more. It really is a great place to get the most Instagram-worthy pictures!
Things to do include:
- Witness the fireworks show designed by Disney
- Ice skating; and
- Dine in the original Butchart family residence.
For all travellers wanting to explore and travel to Canada as the borders are now open to U.S. travellers, simply click the link below to see if you are eligible!