As the end of summer is quickly approaching, some people may be looking to book last-minute travel before kids return to school and we settle into autumn. Below, we will provide updates to travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S., as well as recent changes to U.K. travel policy affecting Canadians.
Another month has gone by, and Canadians are still not allowed to travel into the United States by land for non-essential reasons. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the border restrictions will remain in place in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant. The extension of the restrictions came as a surprise to some as Canada opened its land border to fully vaccinated American travellers on August 9, and since then American travellers have flowed into Canada, with the number of non-commercial visitors doubling since the border opened. The number of Americans accessing Canada by land is still well below the pre-pandemic average, however. In the first week after opening the border, nearly 220,000 Americans entered Canada for non-essential reasons, compared with 1.4 million during the same period in 2019.
As Canada opened its border, many expected the United States to follow suit and allow Canadian travellers into the country but hopes of the border opening were put on hold. Now, those who are vaccinated and want to travel will have to wait at least one more month, until the current restriction expires on September 21, 2021.
Canadians should likely expect to continue waiting for the land border to open for non-essential travel to the U.S., given yesterday’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control. The organization, which rates the safety of travel to various locations, has urged American travellers to ‘reconsider’ non-essential travel to Canada due to the increase in the risk of infection. The CDC has placed Canada under a Level 3 (High Risk) travel notice and is asking Americans to either put off travel to the country or to take additional precautions, including getting fully vaccinated, before doing so. Americans who cross into Canada for non-essential purposes at land borders already require full vaccination, however, those travelling by air do not, so long as they present a negative Covid test prior to travelling.
The warnings to Americans do not appear to be impacting Canadian travel to the United Kingdom. Canadians have been able to travel to the European Union since July, however, each country is able to set its own quarantine requirements upon arrival. The United Kingdom, no longer part of the European Union, has had different travel restrictions than the rest of the continent since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.
However, there is some good news for those who want to travel to the United Kingdom, as Canada will be added as a Green List country for travel as of August 30. Until August 30, Canada will remain on the Amber List, which means that travellers from Canada to the United Kingdom before August 30 will still have to adhere to the Amber List rules which involve testing for all travellers, and mandatory quarantine for those who are not fully vaccinated. The Green List rules dictate that travellers do not have to quarantine upon arrival to the U.K., regardless of their vaccination status. Still, travellers to the U.K. have to take a COVID-19 test within three days of departure, and then take another test two days after arrival within the country. Only if one of the test results comes back positive the traveller will be subject to quarantine.
It is important to remember that the Public Health Agency of Canada still advises against non-essential travel outside of the country and it recommends that if you are planning to travel, to use extra caution. If you do travel outside of Canada, make sure to follow the required directions when returning to Canada in order to avoid quarantine.
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.
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