Note: This article may be out of date and travel restrictions may have changed. Click here to explore the most recent updates and travel restrictions in the United States or Canada!
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 been 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:
- make sure you have a quarantine plan before traveling
- take a COVID-19 test before you leave the United States within 72 hours of your entry into Canada (your test must be performed in the United States), and be able to show proof of this test
- set up your account for arrival testing in Canada
- download and use ArriveCAN app to submit your information
Arriving in Canada at the Border
Make sure you follow these steps while crossing the border into Canada:
- show proof of ArriveCAN receipt, test results, and quarantine plan to a Border Services Officer
- obtain your arrival and Day-10 test kits
- complete your arrival test at the border (or at your quarantine location if not available at the border)
- obey all COVID-19 requirements while driving to your place of quarantine
Complete Your Mandatory Quarantine
- follow all quarantine requirements
- use the ArriveCAN app to check-in and update daily
- use your Day-10 test kit and wait for your results
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:
- make sure you have a quarantine plan before traveling
- obtain your pre-entry COVID-19 test
- book your mandatory 3-night hotel stay in advance
- register for your arrival test
- download and use the ArriveCAN app to submit your travel and quarantine plans
Boarding Your Flight to Canada
- have your ArriveCAN receipt and pre-entry test results ready to provide to the airline
- follow all requirements to board a flight to Canada
Arriving to Canada by Air
- show proof of ArriveCAN receipt, test results, hotel confirmation, and quarantine plan to a Border Services Officer
- take a COVID-19 test upon your arrival
- immediately go to your pre-booked hotel for up to 3 nights to await results from your arrival test
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
- follow requirements to travel to your place of quarantine during COVID-19
- follow requirements during quarantine
- use your Day-10 test and wait for your results
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:
- You do not have COVID-19
- You do not have reason to believe you have COVID-19
- You do not have signs or symptoms of COVID-19
- You are entering to be with your immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days.
- 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:
- you currently live in Canada and have a valid work permit
- you are coming to Canada for the first time to begin work (employment) and
- you have a valid work permit or a work permit approval letter and
- you have proof of employment at an operating Canadian business
- you are eligible to apply for a work permit at a port of entry and have proof of employment at an operating Canadian business
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.