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Canada Now Requires Both a COVID Test and Quarantine for Entry

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Canada still remains mostly off limits for U.S. travelers.

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Canada still remains mostly off limits for U.S. travelers.

Travelers who can legally enter Canada must now provide a negative COVID test result in addition to submitting to a 14-day quarantine.

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For those who are still legally allowed to travel to Canada, crossing the border just got more complicated. Effective January 7, anyone age five or older traveling to Canada must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test in addition to submitting to a 14-day quarantine following arrival.

The new rule requires airlines to verify that passengers have a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test result received no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Passengers will be denied boarding without the result. But the test alone won’t be enough, as is the case in other destinations where testing often allows travelers to bypass or at least shorten the quarantine requirement.

“Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine,” Transport Canada, the Canadian government’s transportation department, told travelers in a statement announcing the new testing order.

Travelers entering Canada are required to use the ArriveCAN app or website to provide their contact information and quarantine plan prior to or as they enter the country. Upon arrival, travelers’ quarantine plans will be reviewed by border officials and if they are not deemed “suitable,” the Canadian government will ask them to quarantine in a federal facility. By suitable, the Canadian government means that travelers must have advance plans for somewhere they can stay for at least 14 days, where they won’t have contact with those deemed higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 unless those at higher risk consent to the quarantine. Violating the quarantine requirement is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or CAD $750,000 (US$589,000) in fines.

The Canadian government said it will be “increasing surveillance efforts” to ensure that travelers are complying with the mandatory quarantine. 

Those who can enter Canada from the United States include Canadian nationals, permanent residents, and those registered under Canada’s Indian Act, as well as their family members. You can also cross the Canadian border for a family emergency. There are additional exceptions for temporary foreign workers, students, and essential workers.

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