Canada Travel Guidelines
Travel guidelines for Canada during a pandemic
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic in late 2019, Canada has been one of the first few countries to implement strict lockdowns and curbs on travel. The Canadian Government closed its international borders for travellers for almost a year and a half. However, with reducing Covid-19 cases, Canada has eased certain restrictions. If you intend to travel to Canada, make sure you stay abreast with the latest travel guidelines for Canada during the pandemic.
In the wake of the global Coronavirus pandemic, Canada, like most other countries, has put travel restrictions to limit any further spread of the virus. With the reducing number of Covid-19 cases, the Canadian Government, in July 2021, introduced some exemptions and eased the travel guidelines for Canada. As per the latest travel guidelines for Canada during pandemics, fully vaccinated travellers who meet certain conditions may enter Canada.
India to Canada – Flight Operations
The Canadian Government has suspended all direct flights departing from India until 21 September 2021. However, eligible travellers who wish to enter Canada must travel via a third country, i.e., they can board flights from transiting hubs approved by the Canadian Government. Such travellers must also obtain a negative Covid-19 molecular test from the transit country prior to departure to Canada according to the guidelines for travelling to Canada laid down by the Canadian Government.
Who is allowed to enter Canada?
The travel guidelines Canada circular states that the following people may seek entry into Canada
- Canadian Citizens, including individuals holding dual citizenship
- Individuals registered under the Indian Act
- Permanent Residents of Canada
- Protected Persons (Refugee Status)
- Stranded Canadian Nationals/Residents and Foreigners with valid Canadian visa
- Seamen of foreign nationalities; Seamen holding Indian passports would be allowed subject to clearance from the Ministry of Shipping
Canada will permit fully vaccinated foreign nationals for discretionary travel from 7 September 2021 (tentatively). These individuals will also be qualified for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption under the guideline for travelling to Canada.
Who is not allowed to enter Canada?
Canada Travel Guidelines strictly dictate that all foreign nationals will be denied entry into Canada for any of the below reasons:
- Leisure, tourism, visiting friends
- Social gatherings, weddings
- Travels related to property ownership or management in Canada
Exemptions For Fully Vaccinated Travellers
Under Canada’s Government-mandated travel guidelines, Fully vaccinated travellers are exempted from quarantine upon arrival and Day-8 testing requirements.
The Government of Canada will categorise you as Fully Vaccinated if you can provide certificates proving that you are fully vaccinated for Covid-19. Partially vaccinated individuals do not qualify for the exemption.
Listed below are the accepted Covid-19 vaccines as per the Canada Travel Guidelines document released by the Canadian Government.
- Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
- Moderna (mRNA-1273)
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
You can avail fully vaccinated travel exemptions if:
- You are eligible to visit Canada
- You have no Covid-19 symptoms
- You have received a complete dose of accepted Covid-19 Vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines
- You have received your final dose at least 14 days before the day of arrival in Canada.
- You have uploaded your proof of vaccination on the ArriveCAN mobile application.
- You meet all other entry requirements
Covid-19 Testing for Travellers
- All travellers above the age of five, including fully vaccinated, must prove a negative Covid-19 test report. You need to take the molecular test within 72 hours of your departure to Canada. Airlines will forbid you from boarding the aircraft if you fail to present an accurate report.
- If you have a flight to Canada via another country, you must take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of your departure from that country.
- If you are entering Canada via roadway or waterway, you must take a test within 72 hours of your planned entry.
- Children below five years and under will be exempt from providing a pre-entry test result.
Post-entry or Arrival Test
- Upon qualifying for the fully vaccinated travellers exemption, you may be exempt from arrival testing as per the travel guidelines for Canada. However, you may be selected for mandatory randomised arrival testing, which is free of cost.
- After entering Canada, you will be required to take the test on arrival at the border or receive a home-test kit.
- Officials will provide you with a kit that you must use on Day-8 during your mandatory quarantine.
- If you are driving to Canada and the border crossing does not offer any on-site testing or decide not to take the on-site testing, you must follow all instructions in the home test kit and complete the test at your destination.
- Travellers presenting a positive COVID-19 test result taken within 14 to 180 days of arrival into Canada may be exempt from arrival testing.
Protocols To Follow If Tested Positive Upon Arrival
- After arriving in Canada, diligently monitor for any symptoms for at least 14 days. If you start showing COVID-19 signs, you must immediately:
- Contact the local public health authorities and follow their directions, including isolation.
- Report symptoms to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) by calling 1-833-641-0343.
- If required, you must provide proof of your test results to any federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal government official.
Who needs to use ArriveCAN?
Per the latest travel guidelines for Canada, all travellers entering Canada via air, land, or marine vessels, must use ArriveCAN. You are required to submit your information within 72 hours before arriving in Canada.
If you do not submit your information on ArriveCAN, the departure airport may refuse boarding in the case of air travel. If you are crossing the Canadian border via land or water, respective authorities have the right to deny entry. Please note, you must be an international traveller, travelling for discretionary purposes only.
Canadian Nationals, permanent residents, individuals registered under the Indian Act, and international travellers who are eligible to enter Canada under another entry exemption will be permitted boarding or entry, however you:
- Will not qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption
- May face additional delays at the border for public health questioning
- May be subject to fines or enforcement action
Entry exemptions & Criteria for Former Covid-19 patients
Under the travel guidelines for Canada, Entry Exemptions include overseas work, studies, or compassionate grounds.
If you tested positive for Covid-19 previously, you need to prove a Covid-19 positive molecular test instead of a negative test. You should take the test between 14 days and 180 days before your departure date. You must obtain the report from a third country before you continue the journey to Canada. You may even be required to stay quarantined in the transiting region for 14 days.
Additional Factors to Consider
- Certain countries do not allow Indian nationals to enter or transit, especially those who tested positive for Covid-19 previously
- For transiting passengers, Covid-19 testing may not be available at all international airports
- If you test positive, authorities have the right to send you back to your origin point of departure or instruct you to stay quarantined
- Covid-19 testing may not be available for transit travellers
- Carefully consider your itinerary, transit options, and entry requirements for third countries
With the spread of the new coronavirus variant, Canada is further extending the ban on international travel. The government does not intend to open up for Leisure tourism anytime soon. Ensure that you meet the specific Canada Travel Guidelines and criteria if you qualify to enter the country.
*Disclaimer: The above information is valid as of 1st September 2021 and is subject to change.