Canada lifted its ban on Americans crossing the border for leisure on Aug. 9. while the US maintained all restrictions on its Canadian neighbors.
The Canadian government closed its border in March 2020 in an attempt to protect its citizens from the ravages of the pandemic at a time when the world was unsure whether creating a vaccine against the new virus would be possible in the coming years.
Fortunately, a lot has changed since then. Canada not only fully vaccinated 70.3% of its population, but also signed a C$30.38 million grant agreement to provide essential health services to 10 other countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Armed with a stronger health care system and massive vaccination campaigns, the country is ready to welcome back its fully vaccinated southern friends. Here’s how.
Crossing the Border – Required Documents
Before boarding a flight to Canada, there are a number of documents that fully vaccinated Americans and permanent residents must gather and register to ensure smooth entry.
First, Canada considers a person fully vaccinated when they receive the full series of a government-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before entering Canada.
Currently, approved vaccines are those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca / Covishield and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). The certificate can be issued in English or French.
Once travelers have their certifications ready, it’s time to take the COVID-19 test. Make sure you don’t end on 72 hours, otherwise you will need to pay to be retested, even if the test is a few hours longer than 72 hours.
Having a hard copy of your test is “very, very helpful” as gate agents will want to check before giving you your boarding pass, says Daryl Silver, president of Continental Travel Group.
Also bringing a physical boarding pass is highly recommended to expedite your journey through the airport.
The ArriveCAN app
O app arrivesCan is a web-based platform and application that must be downloaded and used to provide the Canadian government with mandatory travel information before and after entry into Canada.
Travelers must carry photographic proof of their vaccination certificates and COVID-19 negative tests within 72 hours of departure.
This easy-to-use app is also intended to help travelers with useful information about the boarding crossing process.
You survived the cross-boarding process, are you free to go now?
Not yet. One more thing is needed. Take the test again.
All arrivals are required to take a free arrival test upon arrival or receive a home test kit to complete the day.
Travelers opting for the second option will also need to make a quick video call with a Canadian official to guide them through the test administration process and prepare it for delivery to a lab.
Once the results return negative, visitors are free to resume their travels.
The government will require them to keep a record of close contacts for the next 14 days if they have received a false negative.
Will Canada accept unvaccinated Americans in the near future?
Those expecting Canada to change its inbound vaccination mandate in the near future will need to change their travel plans.
Starting in October, Canada will require all passengers on flights, trains and cruises to bring proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
This new requirement applies not only to international travel, but also to local travel.
Unvaccinated travelers crossing overland are allowed for now, but must observe a mandatory 8-day quarantine upon entry.