How to Cross the US/Canada Border During COVID-19 Closure

By Ella Bergquist August 16, 2020 (Updated October 14, 2021) 6 min. read
Cross the US Canada Border

October 12, 2021 Update: US officials announced that fully vaccinated Canadians will be permitted to enter the United States through land and ferry border crossings beginning in early November.

September 27, 2021 Update: The US announced its plans to start allowing foreign tourists to travel to the United States if they are fully vaccinated. Learn more about this US travel restriction update!

September 20, 2021 Update: The United States has prolonged its land border shutdown with Canada and Mexico for non-essential travel until at least Oct. 21.

August 19, 2021 Update: US border opening for Canadians gets pushed back to September 21st.

July 21 2021 Update: US border crossing for Canadians won’t open until August 21st.

July 15, 2021 Update: Canada’s Prime Minister stated that if the country’s current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue, Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.

The Prime Minister has also stated that Canada is expected to start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.

July 5, 2021 Update: Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated are now permitted to cross the border without having to quarantine or take the day eight COVID-19 test.

Eligible air travelers are also exempt from the requirement that they spend their first three days in Canada in a government-approved hotel as long as they have received a full vaccination with one of the following approved Health Canada shots: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. They must also submit a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before coming to the border.

May 25, 2021 Update: Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the ban on nonessential travel between the United States and Canada through June 21, 2021. However, U.S. and Canadian officials have started discussing how to move forward with reopening the US/Canada border due to the rise in people getting the COVID vaccines and the fall of COVID cases in both the US and Canada.

April 20, 2021 Update: The US adds Canada to it’s “Do Not Travel” list. This is due to the increasingly high levels of COVID-19 amongst these countries.

Canada and the US shut down their border beginning March 21st, 2020 only allowing trade, business, and temporary residents with valid visas to enter. The restriction to the border has since been extended many times. The latest border closure has extended until May 21, 2021. The border closure has definitely impacted both countries extensively but especially those who live near border towns or have family members in the counter country.

There are some differences in arriving to Canada by plane versus driving, so make sure to pay close attention to which requirements you must meet for each.

Driving to Canada from the US Border During COVID-19 Closure

Before Traveling to Canada by Land

If you are attempting to enter Canada from the US by land, you must prove to the Canada Border Service Agency that you follow these requirements beforehand:

Arriving in Canada at the Border

Make sure you follow these steps while crossing the border into Canada:

Complete Your Mandatory Quarantine

Flying to Canada from the US Border During COVID-19 Closure

Before Traveling to Canada by Plane

If you are attempting to enter Canada from the US by air, you must prove to the Canada Border Service Agency that you have/will follow these requirements beforehand:

Boarding Your Flight to Canada

Arriving to Canada by Air

Completing Your Hotel Stay

You must await your test results at your hotel. The timing of your departure from the hotel to the place you will complete the rest of your quarantine period depends on whether you get a positive or negative result on your arrival test.

Completing Your Quarantine

Who Can Travel to Canada from the US During COVID-19 Border Closure

Keep in mind, you can only travel to Canada at this time if you are traveling for non-discretionary (essential) purposes or are only transiting or are an immediate family member. If you are not an essential worker, passing through Canada, or an immediate family member then you should hire a Canadian Immigration Professional who will provide you with a Border Crossing Package.

If you are an immediate family member of a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident then you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You do not have COVID-19
  2. You do not have reason to believe you have COVID-19
  3. You do not have signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  4. You are entering to be with your immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days.
  5. You have a plan to quarantine for 14 days, unless exempt.

If you are a Student or Temporary Worker you may enter Canada if you prove that you meet one of the following:

Entering the US from Canada During COVID-19 Closure

The US is working closely with Canada to ensure that North America can combat the COVID-19 pandemic by closing the border temporarily. But what does this mean? This means that the US, Mexico, and Canada has temporarily restricted non-essential travel across borders.

United States citizens and lawful permanent residents may continue to enter the U.S. from Canada. Canadian nationals may continue to enter the U.S. from Canada provided they have not been physically present in China, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the Schengen Area in the 14 days preceding their attempted entry to the United States.

How We Can Help You Cross the Canadian US Border

VisaPlace offers two packages that allow legal help to get you across the Canadian US border and through customs with the help of an immigration lawyer.

Canada Entry Package: Enter Canada When the Borders are Closed

United States Entry Package: Enter the US When the Borders are Closed

If you are concerned about entering the US from Canada you should speak with a US immigration professional to help you cross the border successfully.