UPDATES: Travel to Canada and COVID-19

Canada extends the emergency order banning the entry of most foreign nationals (international travel) until at least July 31, 2020. The same restrictions and exemptions will continue to apply as before.

Canada-U.S. border closure extended to July 21, 2020: The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21st.

Generally speaking, the majority of foreign nationals are not allowed to enter Canada, but there are exemptions to the travel ban as follows:

  1. Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents;
  2. Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who are traveling to Canada for non-discretionary reasons;
  3. Temporary workers who hold a valid work permit or who are approved for a work permit but have not yet been issued the work permit;
  4. International Experience Canada (IEC) participants who have not yet activated their work permits must have a valid job offer in order to enter, this job offer does not need to be in an essential sector;
  5. IEC participants who have already activated their work permits and were outside the country temporarily do not require a valid job offer in order to re-enter;
  6. International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020;
  7. Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before 12pm EDT on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet traveled to Canada

To know more about the exemptions, kindly visit this page.

Note that, even people who are eligible for exemptions to travel restrictions are being denied boarding on flights or turned away at the border, especially if they cannot provide a plan for self-isolation upon arrival or provide evidence that their travel to Canada is necessary at this time.

Mandatory Quarantine (self-isolation): As of March 26, 2020, anyone entering Canada will be required to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Canada’s Health Minister has announced that this quarantine will be enforced and that those breaking quarantine may be subject to fines and jail time.

Isolation Plan: If you are planning to enter Canada, you should prepare an isolation plan, detailing how to intend to quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival. If you do not have an isolation plan in place you may be denied entry, or made to isolate at a government-designated hotel for the isolation period. You also must wear a mask during your travel from the Port of Entry to your isolation location.

Asylum seekers: Canada is considering a new immigration program that would allow asylum seekers working in critical healthcare roles during COVID-19 to apply for permanent resident status. Full details here. On Friday, March 20, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that asylum seekers who irregularly cross the U.S. border into Canada will be returned to the United States.

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