Canada to Drop COVID Testing Requirement for Travelers

Starting April 1, fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to provide a prearrival COVID test.

Canada to Drop COVID Testing Requirement for Travelers

British Columbia’s beautiful mountains and lakes are now easier to get to.

Photo by karamysh/Shutterstock

After reopening its doors to vaccinated U.S. travelers on August 9, 2021 (and to all vaccinated international travelers on September 7, 2021), Canada is now making it much easier for fully vaxxed international arrivals to cross its borders.

Since the fall, international travelers over the age of 18 could enter Canada as long as they showed proof of being fully vaccinated and (for all travelers age 5 and older) also provided the results of a pre-entry COVID molecular (aka a polymerase chain reaction or PCR) test taken within 72 hours of departure. On February 28, Canada began accepting negative COVID antigen tests in addition to PCR tests.

But starting April 1, no prearrival COVID test will be needed for vaccinated travelers entering Canada by air, land, or water.

“Adjustments to Canada’s border measures are made possible by a number of factors, including Canada’s high vaccination rate, the increasing availability and use of rapid tests to detect infection, decreasing hospitalizations and growing domestic availability of treatments for COVID-19. As vaccination levels and healthcare system capacity improve, we will continue to consider further easing of measures at the borders,” Canada’s health minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement.

After April 1, fully vaccinated travelers arriving in Canada could still be randomly selected to take a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival, but they will not be required to quarantine while awaiting their results.

Until April 1, fully vaccinated travelers will still need to provide either a PCR test from within 72 hours of departure to Canada or a rapid antigen COVID test from within one day of travel that has been administered or observed by a pharmacy, laboratory, or healthcare or telehealth service, such as the rapid COVID tests that are approved for international travel in the U.S.

In lieu of a prearrival PCR or antigen test, travelers who have recently had COVID can present proof of a positive molecular or PCR test taken at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before entering Canada.

All travelers over the age of 18 must submit their travel information, COVID vaccination status, and testing results through the ArriveCAN app—a receipt from which is required to board any flight to Canada.

All children under 5 are exempt from testing, and children under the age of 12 traveling with vaccinated adults are exempt from quarantine. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children age 12 to 17, however, will still be subject to a 14-day quarantine and must test prior to arrival, immediately following their arrival, and again on the eighth day after their arrival (regardless of whether they are accompanied by fully vaccinated adults).

Unvaccinated international travelers are not allowed to enter Canada unless they have an approved or essential reason for doing so.

>> Next: A First-Timer’s Guide to Banff National Park

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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