Canada travel restrictions

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.

Justin Trudeau is warning that Canada could impose new travel restrictions without prior notice

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning that further travel restrictions could be put in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau is asking all Canadians to cancel any non-essential travel, saying that taking a vacation is not worth the risk of getting COVID-19 and being unable to return to Canada.

Trudeau said that the Government of Canada is following the spread of the new COVID-19 variants, including those found in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, and that new travel restrictions could be put in place at any time without prior notice.

Trudeau acknowledged that Canadians have the right to travel, but also said that the Government of Canada will impose penalties to those found to be endangering the health of their fellow Canadians.

Travel information for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to the Philippines

Canadians are advised to avoid non-essential travel until further notice.

Effective on January 7, 2021, all travellers (including Canadian citizens and permanent residents) five years old and above returning from the Philippines will be required to submit a negative PCR test result within 72 hours before boarding their flight to Canada.

Travellers will also need to complete a 14 day quarantine period upon arrival to Canada.

Contact local health authorities to determine the nearest PCR testing site to your location.

Many countries, including the Philippines, continue to impose travel restrictions.

With options for international travel limited at this time, Canadians may have difficulty returning to Canada from the Philippines.

The Government of Canada has no plans to offer repatriation flights at this time.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents are advised that those who choose to travel may experience the following while in the Philippines:

  • Difficulty receiving essential products and services
  • Limited access to healthcare
  • Travel restrictions and quarantines
  • Limitations on travel and medical insurance coverage
  • Limited access to consular services

For more information, click here.

NEGATIVE COVID-19 TESTS NOW REQUIRED FROM ALL TRAVELLERS TO CANADA

All travellers to Canada are now required to submit a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to enter.

The announcement came as officials discouraged Canadians from travelling for non-essential reasons.

The Government of Canada has been advising Canadians against non-essential travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

“We want to reinforce a very simple but important message: We strongly advise against travel unless it is absolutely necessary,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. “We are asking people to follow the rules, but unfortunately there will always be some people who choose to ignore them. Some people are going to choose to travel against our advice.”

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said that additional details for the new requirement will be announced soon.

Travellers will be required to submit a negative PCR test three days before arriving in Canada.

The Canadian Airport Council also released a statement in response, saying that it was a“prudent move that brings Canada closer in line with the rest of the world, but it’s disappointing to see it so haphazardly unveiled, without consultation with the industry that has to implement it.”

The National Airlines Council of Canada also expressed the Government of Canada’s lack of consultation.

NCACC president and CEO Mike McNaney told the Toronto Star that “while (the) industry will do all it can to implement the new requirements, and ensure passengers are aware of their obligations, given the lack of detail and prior consultation this is going to be a very challenging exercise, the complexity of which the government must not underestimate.”

Public health officials have said that a negative test doesn’t mean that a person is free from COVID-19, as it can develop up to 14 days after exposure.

All travellers are required to undergo a two week period in order to self quarantine.

“On the rare occasion that someone brings COVID-19 into Canada, when they are in quarantine, the virus stops there, it does not spread further into the community,” Blair said.

The Government of Canada has been the subject of criticism for its lack of enforcement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who has asked for COVID-19 testing for all travellers arriving at Canadian airports.

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 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.

Canada Travel Restrictions

COVID-19 testing is now required for all travellers entering Canada

Effective January 7, 2021, all travellers 5 years old and above will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test to the airline before boarding flights to Canada.

Mandatory 14 day quarantine or self-isolation

All travellers entering Canada are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Canada.

Travellers who fail to quarantine for 14 days will face serious consequences.

Flights from the U.K.

Effective December 30, 2020, all flights from the U.K. to Canada has been suspended. Travellers are advised to monitor the situation closely, as travel restrictions may change at any time.

The Government of Canada has imposed travel restrictions to protect Canadians.

Until further notice, most foreign nationals cannot travel to Canada for non-essential reasons, even if they have a valid visitor visa or electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Who can travel to Canada at this time?

The following will be allowed to enter Canada at this time:

  • Canadian citizens,
  • Canadian citizens with dual citizenship (must have a valid Canadian passport or special authorization)
  • Permanent residents
  • Persons registered under Canada’s Indian Act
  • Protected persons

Other foreign nationals may be allowed to travel to Canada if they meet the eligibility requirements:

  • if they are an immediate or extended family member of a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a person registered under Canada’s Indian Act. Must stay in Canada for more than 15 days. A quarantine plan must be submitted. Reason for travel must be for a non-discretionary purpose. Extended family members must have written authorization from immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • if they have been authorized to travel to Canada by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for compassionate reasons including being present for a loved ones final moments of life, providing support to a critically ill person, providing medical support or to attend an end-of-life ceremony or funeral.
  • if they are travelling from the United States for a non-discretionary reason and are exempt from travel restrictions.

Other travellers from countries other than the US are exempt from travel restrictions, including:

  • Temporary foreign workers
  • Certain international students
  • Approved permanent residents arriving in Canada for the first time
  • Immediate family members who have received written authorization from IRCC
  • Travellers who are transiting through Canada on their way to their final destination
  • Members of the Canadian Forces, visiting forces, Department of National Defence as well as their immediate family members
  • Diplomats and their immediate family members accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Crew members of aircraft and sea vessels
  • Citizens of France who are residents of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon who have only been in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Canada or the US during the 14 days before the day they are entering Canada
  • Travellers who are providing an essential service in Canada and have received approval fro the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
  • Travellers who have been identified as someone whose presence in Canada is of national interest by the Ministers of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or Foreign Affairs. These travellers do not need to provide proof that they are entering Canada for a non-discretionary reason.
  • Travellers who have been invited by the Minister of Health to help with Canada’s COVID-19 response.
  • Travellers who are making medical deliveries.

All travellers are required to submit a mandatory quarantine plan upon arrival in Canada.

Public Health requirements for travellers to Canada

Travellers arriving in Canada are required to pass a health check before boarding any aircraft.

Travellers must also wear a non-medical mask or face covering during the duration of the entire flight.

ArriveCAN app

Travellers must use the ArriveCan app to check in at the airport or cross borders.

Using the ArriveCAN app, travellers will submit the following:

  • Travel and contact information
  • Quarantine plan
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessment

Travellers entering Canada by air, land or sea will be required to submit basic information using the ArriveCAN app or the paper form.

Travellers will be required to present the ArriveCAN receipt to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer, who will assess them for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival in Canada.

Mandatory 14 day quarantine requirement

All travellers entering Canada by air, land or sea will be assessed before being allowed to enter. Those found with COVID-19 symptoms will be denied entry to Canada.

All travellers will be required to present a quarantine plan that provide details including:

  • where they will stay
  • arrangements made for transportation from airport to destination, who will deliver their groceries and how they will access essential services and medical care.

A quarantine plan is mandatory. Travellers who are unable to provide a quarantine plan will be denied entry to Canada.

Failure to comply with the mandatory 14 day quantity requirement has serious consequences, including:

  • Fines up to CAD$750,000.00
  • 6 months of jail time
  • Deportation from Canada, with an entry ban of 1 year

Only certain travellers are exempt from the mandatory quarantine requirement, including truck drivers who cross the US and Canada border to deliver goods.

Click here for further information.

SOURCE: GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

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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