Our neighbors to the north are easing out of an Omicron surge, and, as a result, so are their travel restrictions, opening the doors to American vacationers. Travel from the States to Canada reached an all-time high in 2019, with 15 million travelers. In 2020, that number dropped significantly when Canada closed its border to U.S. citizens. But as COVID cases begin to wane in both countries, tourism is reigniting. Canada saw 3.3 million U.S. arrivals in 2021, with that number expected to grow exponentially in 2022 as Canada continues to drop restrictions.
If you’ve been dreaming of heading north, here’s everything you need to know before planning your Canadian vacation.
Requirements to enter Canada
There’s still some planning involved in visiting Canada, but restrictions have been significantly reduced over the last few months. In summer 2021, Canada removed its two-week quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travelers. To be considered fully vaccinated, you need to have received at least two doses of vaccine from the World health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and COVAXIN.
Previously, the country required a negative PCR test to enter, but as of February 28, you can just submit a rapid antigen test—although the test has to be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service.
Unvaccinated travelers have to test upon arrival, quarantine for 14 days at their accommodations, and test again on day eight. But unvaccinated children 12 years and under traveling with fully vaccinated parents don’t have to quarantine.
Everyone entering Canada has to submit to a health screening by a border officer who will assess for symptoms. If they believe you have COVID, you could either be barred entry or forced to quarantine. In case this does happen, you want to make sure you have the right travel insurance, so you’re not left paying for a missed hotel or stuck with the bill for your quarantine.
Finally, make sure to download the ArriveCAN app and enter your travel and contact information, plus a quarantine plan in case you do catch the virus.
Traveling around Canada
You’re free to travel between provinces in Canada, but each province will have slightly different restrictions. For instance, Ontario still requires vaccine passports to be shown before entering non-essential establishments, like restaurants and bars. You can find a full list of each province and territory’s guidelines here.
Returning to the U.S.
Since December 6, all air travelers aged 2 and over entering the U.S. have to provide proof of a negative COVID test taken within one calendar day of their flight’s departure. This is regardless of vaccination status.
If you’ve had COVID in the last 90 days and can provide written proof from a medical professional, you don’t need to provide a negative test.
COVID numbers in Canada
Canada experienced a major surge in Omicron during January, but case numbers have since dropped. As of the end of February, the country is reporting just over 4,000 cases per day, with 80% of the eligible population fully vaccinated.