Below, we provide an update on new travel requirements for air travel into both Canada and the US. Restrictions for travelling to the US are expected to be relaxed, as the country looks to adopt new air travel restrictions in the coming month. In Canada, the ban on flights from India has been lifted, while the one on flights from Morocco has been extended.
Last week, the United States made one of its biggest travel policy changes since the COVID-19 pandemic era restrictions began being implemented in March 2020. The US has announced it is planning on easing airline restrictions starting this fall for travellers to the country who have proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test. Previously, the restrictions imposed on flying into the United States differed on a country-by-country basis, leaving many people who wanted to travel to the United States from countries with lower COVID-19 rates unable to do so.
In order to enter the United States once the new policies go into effect, all foreign travellers must demonstrate proof of vaccination prior to boarding their flight in addition to a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of their departure time. Fully vaccinated travellers will not have to quarantine upon arrival in the United States, and exceptions will be made for children who are not yet approved for vaccination. There are also new rules for American citizens who are flying into the United States. Unvaccinated citizens will need to be tested within one day of the departure of their return flight to the United States and then tested again upon arrival.
Some parts of the new policy are unclear and will need to be clarified before the policy comes into effect. For example, it was not announced if travellers must have specific brands of vaccines in order to be considered fully vaccinated when travelling to the United States. Further, no date has been set for when the new policy will come into effect, although the announcement indicated that the policy is expected to come into force in “early November”.
Although the air travel policy is set to change, there has been no word on the land border closure for non-essential travel from Canada to the United States that has been in place since the onset of the pandemic. Although the relaxing of the air travel restrictions is promising, the situation at the land border will remain the same until at least October 21, 2021.
If you are planning on travelling to the United States from a country where you are not currently able to do so, keep an eye out for the official date the policy goes into place so you can plan your travels accordingly.
Canada’s travel advisories with respect to foreign travel remain in effect on a country-by-country basis. Since the beginning of the travel restrictions spurred on by the pandemic, travel has been disallowed from certain countries while allowed from others.
Recently, Canada lifted a ban on direct flights from India. The ban on direct passenger flights was enacted a few months ago and prevented people from travelling to Canada directly from India, creating the need for travellers from India to incur extra travel costs in order to complete their journey. As of September 27, the direct flight ban was lifted, and flights from India to Canada have resumed, albeit with some restrictions. For example, travellers will need to show a negative COVID-19 test result from a specified lab located at Indira Gandhi International Airport within 18 hours of their departure time.
Even though the ban on flights from India was lifted, Canada is still restricting flights from certain other countries. One example of which is Morocco, which had its ban on direct flights to Canada extended until at least October 29, 2021. Travellers who are in Morocco will have to travel through a third country and obtain a negative COVID-19 test in that third country if they want to continue on to Canada.
If you are planning on travelling to Canada, make sure to keep up with the news as Canadian travel advisories can change frequently. Be sure to check the list of advisories in order to ensure that you can directly fly to Canada and if you can fly directly to Canada, be sure to account for the COVID-19 compliance directions you need to follow in order to be admitted.
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.