Since the onset of the pandemic approximately 18 months ago in March 2020, Canadians have been left wondering when they would be able to travel internationally, and where they would be able to travel when restrictions started to lift. Despite the Government of Canada’s official travel advisory, which directs all Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada, Canadians are indeed able to travel at this point to many countries internationally. In fact, there are only sixteen countries on the government travel advisory with an advisory of “avoid all travel” so most of the world is open to Canadians at this point in time. Canada, in turn, opened its border to the world on September 7, but the federal government has suspended incoming flights from India and Morocco for the time being.
Although American citizens have been allowed to cross the land border into Canada for non-essential purposes since August 9, the same privilege has not been extended to Canadians. As it currently stands, the United States land border remains closed to non-essential travel for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. The current restriction on travel is set to expire on September 21, but there has been no news as to whether the restriction will be lifted. It is unlikely the border closure will end on September 21 given the lack of news regarding a potential opening and an apparent lack of urgency from the United States to open the border. Rather, it is more likely Canadians will be waiting until at least October to drive south across the border.
If you do want to travel to the United States, Canadians can fly south of the border with few restrictions. There is no vaccination requirement to enter the United States. Rather, air passengers need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours before their flight in order to enter the country.
Canadians have been able to travel to the European Union’s 27 member states ever since the EU governments agreed to add Canada to their list of states from which they allow non-essential travel in July. However, the countries that comprise the EU do not have uniform regulations on travel, so Canadians who intend to travel to one of the countries must ensure they inform themselves of their destination country’s entry conditions.
In general, travellers to most of the European countries will need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test and proof of vaccination in order to avoid a mandatory quarantine period of 10 to 14 days, depending on the country. Not all countries in Europe are requiring proof of vaccination. Some only require a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival, including France, Germany, Sweden, and Austria.
EU countries that do require proof of vaccination will generally accept mixed doses, so long as the individual vaccines were approved for use by the EU health authority of the World Health Organization. However, Canadians should be sure to confirm the requirements of the specific countries they plan to visit to be sure.
There is less consistency in the requirements needed to visit some of the popular winter holiday destinations. For example, Mexico has no COVID-19 restrictions in place for Canadian travellers at this time. This means you can enter Mexico without showing proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival. However, travellers must have a valid passport, and complete some additional documents.
Most of the Caribbean countries that Canadians can travel to such as Jamaica require at least a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival. Many more require proof of vaccination status as regulations vary greatly throughout the region. Some countries require quarantine or for Canadians to stay in certified COVID-19 accommodations for the duration of their trip, thereby restricting travel within those countries for tourists. If you are planning to travel, make sure to check the entry requirements prior to departure.
If you are planning on travelling internationally, now more than ever it is a very good idea to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage while travelling in case of a COVID-19 infection while abroad. Make sure your insurance will cover any COVID-19 related issues, as some policies have coverage exemptions in place for where Canadians have been advised to avoid travel. Additionally, some insurance coverage may be dependent on vaccine status, so make sure to check if you will be covered in the event you do contract COVID-19 abroad.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application.
The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about your potential classification as essential or about how you should comply with the changing regulations, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.