The Government of Canada has announced the first phase of its plan to ease border restrictions for travelers entering Canada. Under the new policy, travelers whose vaccination status meets the criteria of “fully vaccinated” will be exempt from quarantine restrictions, mandatory hotel stays pending test results, and day-eight testing, provided all conditions are met.
Effective July 5, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. EDT, fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on the eighth day of their quarantine period. In addition, fully vaccinated travelers arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel. A fully vaccinated traveler must provide documentation verifying that he or she has received, “at least 14 days prior to entering Canada,” the full series of a vaccine or a combination of vaccines that are accepted by the government of Canada. It is important to note that fully vaccinated travelers are not automatically exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions, as a representative of the Canadian government will make the final determination “at the border based on the information presented at the time of entry.”
Regardless of one’s vaccination status, the following entry requirements remain in effect for all travelers entering Canada:
- Pre- and on-arrival testing will apply for all travelers, whether arriving by air or land, to ensure that all travelers are asymptomatic.
- Each traveler “must have a suitable quarantine plan” in case a border officer determines that the traveler does not meet all conditions necessary to qualify for an exemption.
- Travelers must electronically submit documentation of their vaccination status or COVID-19 test results through ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada.
Travelers who are not fully vaccinated must continue to adhere to current requirements for testing and quarantine. Unvaccinated travelers arriving in Canada by air must also have a reservation for a three-night stay at a hotel authorized by the government to await their arrival test results.
The Canada-U.S. border currently remains closed to nonessential travel. Canada’s Quarantine Act likewise remains in effect, and local provinces and territories may continue to impose additional travel restrictions.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will monitor developments with respect to travel restrictions and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog and in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.