In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada currently has travel restrictions in place. While most foreigners cannot travel to Canada at this time (even those with valid Visitor Visas and electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs)), there are exceptions. Read on to learn more about current Canada travel restrictions that are in place.
Travel restrictions are currently in place.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS EASED FOR ELIGIBLE FAMILY MEMBERS, OTHERS
2020-10-02 Canada travel restrictions have been eased to allow eligible family members to enter the country.
Canada’s borders continue to be closed to all non-essential travel until October 31, 2020, with exceptions.
The changes were announced by Marco Mendicino, minister for immigration, Bill Blair, minister for public safety and Patty Hajdu, minister of health, at a press conference on Friday, October 2, 2020.
At the press conference, the ministers said that the government is trying to be as compassionate as possible despite the surging cases of COVID-19 in the country.
“We needed to take these steps, given that this is not a short term problem,” Hajdu said at the press conference. “This disease is not going away any time soon.”
Starting October 8, 2020, eligible family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, including those in an exclusive dating relationship of at least one year, dependent children, adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents can come to Canada.
Unmarried couples may be asked to provide a notarized declaration about their relationship.
Also eligible to enter the country will be non-relatives for compassionate reasons. Reasons may include friends of Canadians experiencing life-threatening illnesses, injury or death.
“These situations could include being with someone you love to say goodbye at the end of their lives, or attending a funeral, or end of life ceremony… The decision to allow someone to end their quarantine early will be coordinated with the provincial or territorial government,” Hajdu explained at the press conference.
Beginning on October 20, 2020, international students who have submitted a quarantine plan and have been cleared by provincial or territorial health authorities will be allowed to enter Canada.
The Government of Canada said that more details will be announced next week.
All travellers will be required to quarantine for 14 days, and will be required to stay in Canada for a minimum of 15 days.
“These are the relationships that are helping us to get through these unprecedented times… At the same time, many families and loved ones have been kept apart, and are separated from their Canadian relatives,” Mendicino said at the press conference.
“While the travel restrictions we’ve put into place have been difficult, the protections at the border are helping to keep us safe through the pandemic,” Mendicino continued.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is deploying more staff, including 190 officers at borders, to monitor travellers who enter the country to make sure that they are following their quarantine plans.
Fines and jail times can be imposed on those who break quarantine.
“Any individual who cannot be reached… or if there is a suspicion that someone is not currently complying with the quarantine requirements, local law enforcement follows up and they have the full authority to issue fines and undertake enforcement, as is necessary,” Blair said at the press conference.
Before boarding flights to Canada, travellers are required to pass health checks, any traveller showing signs of symptoms will be denied entry.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that keeping Canadians safe remains his government’s top priority.
“From the very beginning, our priority has been quite simple: Making sure that Canadians are protected from COVID-19 and that has meant taking strong actions at the border and continually looking how we can improve our actions to prevent importation of COVID-19,” Trudeau said at the press conference.
The Government of Canada maintains that community spread, not travel, is the main reason for the surge o COVID-19 cases in the country.
Mendicino said that many Canadians have been waiting for the announcement, including Filipinos who have made appeals to the government to allow family members to travel to Canada.
“My heart goes out to everybody who is separated right now… it’s our commitment to try and get these processes in place as quickly as possible, so that we can reunite as many families as possible… But at the same time protecting the health and safety of Canadians,” Mendicino said at the press conference.
EXPIRED PR VISAS AND COPRS ALLOWED ENTRY TO CANADA
IRCC has announced that travellers with expired Certificates of Permanent Residence (COPR) and Permanent Resident (PR) Visas will be exempted from travel restrictions currently in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
IRCC has made changes to some of its existing policies, including allowing travellers with expired COPRs and PR visas to enter Canada.
Previously, travellers from countries other than the United States were required to have been issued visas on or before March 18, 2020 to be allowed entry into Canada. US travellers qualified regardless of when their visas were issued.
Only travellers who intend to stay in Canada after arrival will be allowed entry. Travellers who cannot demonstrate that they intend to stay in Canada, or are not exempted from travel restrictions, will be denied entry into Canada.
Only non-discretionary travel is allowed.
These are the travellers currently exempt from travel restrictions:
TRAVELLERS FROM COUNTRIES OTHER THAN THE US WITH VALID COPR AND PR VISA
Travellers from countries other than the US with COPRs and PR visas issued on or before March 18, 2020 are exempted from travel restrictions and are allowed to travel to canada for non-discretionary reasons. Travellers must present a 14 day quarantine plan.
TRAVELLERS FROM THE US WITH VALID COPR AND PR VISA
Travellers from the US with valid COPRs and PR visas are exempted from travel restrictions. Travellers must present a 14 day quarantine plan.
TRAVELLERS FROM COUNTRIES OTHER THAN THE US WITH EXPIRED COPR AND PR VISA
Travellers from countries other than the US who have expired COPRs and PR visas are required to contact IRCC using this form here. Travellers are required to indicate the expiration date of their COPR or PR visa, as well as the non-discretionary reason for their travel.
Travellers will be evaluated using the documents submitted, which must include an acceptable settlement and quarantine plan, as well as a travel itinerary.
IRCC will provide further instructions after receiving the form.
TRAVELLERS FROM THE US WITH EXPIRED COPR AND PR VISA
Travellers from the US with expired COPRs and PR visas will be required to present proof that their application has been approved, that they are in possession of their COPR and PR visas and that they have a two week quarantine plan.
REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVELLING TO CANADA WITH EXPIRED COPRS AND PR VISAS
Travellers who have expired COPRs and PR visas must contact IRCC using the electronic form. Using the form, travellers will provide the expiration dates of their COPRs and PR visas as well as a non-discretionary reason for travel.
Travellers must present documents, including lease agreements and home ownership documents and letters of employment, if available.
Other documents also required include a two week quarantine plan, indicating how they will access essential services such as groceries and medical care.
Travellers must provide a detailed travel itinerary.
Travellers must be able to leave their country of origin in order to board aircraft bound for Canada.
IRCC will prioritize travellers who have confirmed travel plans, as well as travellers who are able to book and confirm their itineraries as soon as IRCC gives them approval.
IRCC is currently accepting new applications for Permanent Residency.
New applications that are incomplete will be retained by IRCC and reviewed within 90 days.
Incomplete applications will be required to provide a COVID-19 related explanation as to why their documents are incomplete in order to qualify for a review of their application.
Complete applications are being processed by IRCC normally.
WHO CAN ENTER CANADA?
At this time, only the following can enter Canada:
- Canadian Citizens
- Permanent Residents
- Persons registered under Canada’s Indian Act
- Protected persons
There are exceptions, including:
- Eligible foreign nationals
- Immediate family members of Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents
Other exceptions are being made for the following:
- temporary foreign workers (including Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from the Philippines)
- certain international students
- certain approved permanent residents
- immediate family members authorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) who will be joining a temporary resident of Canada
- travellers passing through Canada
- Members of the Canadian Forces, Department of National Defence, visiting forces as well as their immediate family members
- Diplomats and their immediate family members
- air and sea crew members
- French Citizens from Saint-pierce and Miquelon who have been in Canada, the United States of America or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon for 14 days before entering Canada
- People whose presence in Canada has been identified by the IRCC, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Foreign Affairs ministers as being of national interest
- People who have been invited by the Health minister to help with Canada’s COVID-19 response and
- People making medical deliveries.
Eligible foreign nationals must travel for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose and be travelling directly from the United States of America or be exempt from travel restrictions.
Immediate family members are:
- spouses or common-law partners
- dependent children
- dependent children of dependent children
- parents or step-parents
- guardians or tutors
Immediate family members must provide evidence that they are related to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents and that they will be staying in Canada for at least 15 days.
Immediate family members must also submit a mandatory quarantine plan before being allowed to enter Canada.
REQUIREMENTS FOR BOARDING A FLIGHT TO CANADA
Travellers bound for Canada must pass a health check and meet the minimum requirements of airline companies. Any traveller sowing symptoms of COVID-19, including elevated temperatures, coughing and difficulty breathing will no the allowed to board the aircraft.
Travellers must advise the airline company that they are allowed to travel to Canada and show proof that they are either Canadian citizens, permanent residents, a person registered under Canada’s Indian Act, a protected person, an immediate family member or another eligible traveller exempted from travel restrictions.
Travellers must also show that they have a valid travel document, as well as a valid passport.
Travellers coming from all countries except for the United States of America must secure written authorization from IRCC to show that they are exempt from travel restrictions.
Immediate family members must have a copy of their family member’s status as a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, as well as a document showing their relationship to their family member.
These documents will include:
- Canadian Passports
- Proof of Canadian Citizenship
- Permanent Resident Cards
- Permanent Resident Travel Documents
- marriage certificates (or documents showing a shared address)
- birth certificates
- Confirmation of Permanent Residency (COPR)
Paper and electronic copies of these documents will be accepted.
Travellers coming from the United States of America must provide proof that their travel is essential (non-discretionary) in nature.
HOW TO REQUEST FOR WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION FROM IRCC
To request written authorization from IRCC, travellers must send an email here.
The email must include the following details for each traveller:
- full name
- date of birth
- Unique Client Identifier (UCI)
- passport numner
- detailed reason for travel
- proof of relationship to family member already in Canada
- proof of immigration status of family member already in Canada
- proof of Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA
IRCC will respond within 5 business days with further instructions.
Travellers who do not have written authorization from IRCC will not be allowed to board their flight to Canada.
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES
Travellers will be required to submit to a health check by airline companies prior to boarding and wear a non-medical mask or face-covering for the duration of the entire flight.
Upon arrival in Canada, travellers must provide their contact information using the ArriveCAN mobile app, the web-based form or a paper form.
Travellers will be assessed by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers upon arrival at the Point of Entry (POE). Travellers who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter Canada.
Travellers must present a detailed quarantine plan upon arrival in Canada. Details must include:
- where they will be staying during the quarantine
- details about how they will travel from the POE to their place of quarantine, how groceries and other essential supplies will be delivered and their access to essential services and medical care.
Travellers who do not follow the mandatory quarantine will be subjected to fines up to CAD$750,000, jail time of up to 6 months and be removed from Canada (with an entry ban of 1 year).
Only travellers who provide essential services are exempt from quarantine requirements.
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