Canada Reopens Borders to American Travelers

There’s good news for American vacationers who have missed traveling due to the pandemic: Effective August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents (who currently reside in the US) can enter Canada for leisure travel. If they meet the entry criteria, travelers with proof of full coronavirus vaccination will not be required to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.

Jetty at Limberlost Lodge in Ontario’s Algonquin Park (Almaguin Highlands, Muskoka and Parry Sound) © Destination Ontario

This means that the welcome mat is out for Canada’s awe-inspiring destinations—from Newfoundland in the east to the Yukon Territory to the west. In between are thousands of miles of cities and wilderness to enjoy, including historic Québec City, the lakes of Ontario, the Canadian Rockies, and Vancouver Island on the western coast.

Entry Information and Exemptions for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

To qualify for the fully-vaccinated traveler exemption, you must:

  1. have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  2. have received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson).
  3. have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to the day you enter Canada. (For example: If your last vaccine dose was received anytime on Thursday July 1st, then Friday July 16th would be the first day that you meet the 14-day condition.) Visit the government of Canada’s “COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders” webpage for more info.

Old Town Québec and the five-star Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel: © Andy Vathis, Office du tourisme de Québec

If you qualify for the fully-vaccinated traveler exemption, you are exempt from:

  • quarantine
  • hotel stopover (for air travelers)
  • the Day-8 testing requirement

To make it easier to prove your vaccination status and qualify for the traveler exemption for quarantine, use an app called ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information before and after your entry into Canada. You can upload proof of full vaccination on ArriveCAN so that your travel experience goes smoothly. (ArriveCAN is available for iOS, Android, and online.)

Enjoying Your Visit to Canada

Once you’ve arrived at your destination in a beautiful Canadian province, here are some guidelines for traveling healthily and courteously in our neighboring country. The following tips are suggested by Destination BC (British Columbia), but they apply to travel throughout the country.

The Canadian Rockies, Alberta ©James Wheeler/Pixabay

What Health & Safety Measures Can Americans Expect in Canada?

  1. Masks are recommended in all public indoor settings for people age 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated. Many people who are fully vaccinated may still choose to wear a mask.
  2. Some businesses have additional individual health and safety measures in place, such as use of sanitizing stations, physical distancing requirements, and mask requirements.
  3. Steer clear of natural disasters. Summer wildfires or a tsunami could impact your travel plans. To prepare, check conditions in advance at your planned destination. For instance, the Canadian province of British Columbia has a website that offers fire and tsunami warnings and evacuations so that you can plan accordingly.

    Canada is a famous destination for viewing the aurora borealis, also called the Northern Lights © Leonard Laub/unsplash

 Be Respectful When You Travel

All visitors should respect the policies that are in place nationally, locally, and at individual businesses or communities, including Indigenous/First Nations communities. Although some communities are eager to welcome visitors to support their local economy, some rural and Indigenous communities may be hesitant.

Anyone who seeks recreation, hunting, or fishing in Canada should do their research before leaving home so they can respect and abide by local wishes, advisories, and guidance of these communities.

Whale watching for orcas in the waters around Vancouver Island is a popular activity. Photo Destination BC ©Reuben Krabbe

Amid all the changing rules about travel in the era of the coronavirus and the delta variant, remember that Canadians are eager to share the marvels and glories of their country with you. Show your appreciation of their hospitality.

Happy, healthy travels!

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance editor and writer

Read about some of my travels in Canada:

Surfing in Cox Bay, Tofino, BC, on Vancouver Island. Photo courtesy Destination Canada ©Brian Caissie

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