Canada Reopens Its Borders to Fully Vaccinated Travelers

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Canada has reopened its borders to foreign visitors arriving for tourism once again. As of September 7th, 2021, travelers are permitted to enter for non-essential reasons as long as they are fully vaccinated.

The reopening comes around 18 months after the country heavily restricted foreign travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the relaxation of border controls, only passengers with an essential reason to travel or Canadian citizens and residents were permitted to enter Canada.

The country has only recently reopened its borders with the United States to fully vaccinated travelers. However, now it has extended these measures to visitors from the rest of the world.

Which Nationalities Can Enter Canada Now?

Tourists from countries around the world may enter Canada as long as they have the correct travel authorization and are fully vaccinated.

This means that foreign visitors may enter the country as long as they have received the full dose of an approved vaccine and an appropriate authorization such as the Canada eTA or a visa.

Travelers will also be allowed to enter the country if they qualify and are admissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada.

As always, however, the final say on whether travelers may enter Canada or not is up to the border officials on duty during the arrival process. Travelers must also comply with the country’s health requirements when they land.

Do Foreign Travelers Need to Quarantine on Arrival in Canada?

Under the new border regulations, fully vaccinated foreign travelers don’t need to quarantine on arrival in Canada.

However, visitors must comply with all the health requirements mandated by the Canadian government in order to enter the country.

Health Requirements to Enter Canada From September 7th

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has implemented a series of health requirements that passengers must meet when entering the country.

To prevent the spread of COVID, these rules stipulate that all arriving travelers must be:

  • Fully vaccinated
  • In possession of a negative PCR test, taken less than 72 hours before departure
  • Asymptomatic for COVID

Passengers must also complete an ArriveCAN health declaration form, and upload the appropriate proof of vaccination from their local health authorities. This will be inspected on arrival.

Additionally, visitors who’ve already had COVID can provide a recovery certificate or positive PCR test result dated within the last 14-180 days instead of taking a pre-arrival test.

Lastly, travelers must comply with all Emergency Orders implemented by the Canadian government, as well as national flight requirements. This includes randomized testing for COVID of selected passengers on arrival in the country.

How Does Canada Define Whether Someone is Fully Vaccinated?

All passengers entering Canada from the September 7th onwards must show evidence that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccine record issued by your local health authorities must be provided in either French or English. If it is uploaded into ArriveCAN in other languages it will not be accepted.

The final dose of the vaccine you received must also have been administered at least 2 weeks before arriving in Canada. If less than 14 days has passed, you will not be considered fully vaccinated.

Accepted vaccinations to enter Canada include:

  • Pfizer BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Janssen (Johnson and Johnson)

Passengers who have only received a partial dose of their assigned vaccine after recovering from COVID will not be allowed to enter Canada.

However, those who have received mixed doses of approved vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer are permitted to visit the country.

Are There Any Exceptions For Partially Vaccinated Visitors to Canada?

Canada allows almost no exceptions for partially vaccinated foreign travelers or those who have received vaccines that aren’t approved by the national government. Only fully vaccinated adult passengers will be allowed to enter the country.

However, children under the age of 12 are exempt from these requirements, as long as they are accompanied by their fully vaccinated parents or guardians. Instead, they must take a compulsory Day-8 PCR test and comply with special public safety measures.

What is the Current COVID Situation in Canada?

COVID cases are currently rising in Canada, although deaths and hospitalizations are much lower than in previous waves. This has allowed the country to open its borders following 18 months of strict restrictions.

In a press release put out recently by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the agency commented that, “While cases are currently increasing in Canada, the illness severity and hospitalization rates remain manageable as Canada’s vaccination rates continue to rise”.

“This data, along with continued adherence to public health measures by Canadians and incoming travelers, means that Canada is better able to prevent outbreaks of infection and can now allow more incoming fully vaccinated travelers without increasing the risk to the health and safety of Canadians.”

The country has had a highly successful vaccination rollout with around 75% of Canadians receiving at least their first shot as of early September. This has helped facilitate the reopening of the country to tourists.

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