Everyone living through the Coronavirus pandemic can attest to what life is like under lockdowns and restrictions. International travel was almost halted entirely in early 2020, as was the case in Canada, and has been under varying levels of restrictions since.
Canada placed limits on nonessential travel and banned international travel in March 2020 before establishing strict quarantine protocols. Fortunately, Canada has recently relaxed some of its travel restrictions, slowly but cautiously opening up for business as usual. While it is now possible to visit the True North again, certain conditions still apply.
Knowing what to do and expect before deciding to book a flight can save you a lot of trouble. Even if you meet all the visa requirements, the pandemic is far from over, and Canada is determined to slow the spread within its borders. Canada has done well fighting the virus and plans to keep it up as the fourth wave arrives.
A guide to Canada's travel restrictions
Here's what to know for safe traveling that is compliant with Canada's travel restrictions:
1. While international travel to Canada is slowly resuming, flights from India remain halted until September 21. India is a high-risk country due to the surge of the delta variant of the virus there in recent months.
2. Since July 5, the 14-day quarantine rule no longer applied to fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to the country from abroad.
3. As of August 9, Americans and permanent citizens of the U.S. are allowed to book a flight to Canada. The vaccination rule applies to Americans visiting the country too.
4. Finally, on September 7, Canada's travel restrictions eased further to allow all vaccinated international travelers to visit the country.
5. It's preferable to have received a full series of a vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada. These include AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer.
6. Make sure to receive an accepted vaccine at least 14 days before deciding to book a flight to one of the five designated cities in Canada.
7. International passenger planes are limited to landing in five specific cities across the country. Make sure to book a flight to Canada that lands in Ottawa, Edmonton, Québec City, Halifax, or Winnipeg.
8. All travelers over the age of five must produce negative results by Covid-19 RT-LAMP or PCR tests no more than 72 hours before flying.
9. Travelers who received a vaccine not recognized by the Government of Canada will unfortunately not be adequately vaccinated and will have to quarantine for 14 days.
10. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people won't be turned away but will have to quarantine for 14 days.
11. Use the convenient ArriveCAN app or website to submit all your relevant information to qualify to enter the country per Canada's travel restrictions.
Canadian visa requirements
Once vaccinated, do a little admin work to make sure you meet all the visa requirements to visit Canada. Make sure your passport is still valid, be free of any criminal convictions, and your health should be generally good.
To be eligible for a Canadian tourist visa, you'll need to prove to an immigration officer that you have ties to your home country. Family, work, or assets are examples of ties that depend on your return home.
The visa requirements also involve being able to prove that you will indeed leave Canada after your visit. You'll need to show that you have sufficient money to fund your trip. This amount depends on the length of your stay and the costs, if any, of your accommodation.
In certain circumstances, travelers may need to undergo a medical examination. Sometimes a letter of invitation from someone living in Canada is also necessary.
The Government of Canada plans to continue allowing vaccinated visitors to enter the country so long as the Covid-19 situation continues to look up. Now that you can book a flight to Canada again, it's well worth visiting once you've done your homework on Canada's travel restrictions and visa requirements, of course.
Canada has much to offer an adventurous traveler. From metropolitan life in Canada's major cities to excursions in the vast Canadian outdoors, there's something to suit any traveling niche. You can enjoy a cultural and historical experience in Old Québec or some exhilarating skiing and snowboarding in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.