Travelers from the United States who are used to taking quick jaunts abroad to their closest neighbors are facing severe difficulties this year. The country’s borders with both Mexico and Canada have been closed to most people since March 18, 2020, and every month the restrictions are extended with no end in sight.

While it’s currently possible for US travelers to vacation in Mexico, traveling north of the border to Canada to ski in British Columbia or to check out the amazing fauna of Newfoundland and Labrador is much more complicated. Here’s the low-down for Americans wanting to travel to Canada for leisure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can US citizens enter Canada?

US citizens can enter Canada if:

    • They have dual US-Canada citizenship and own a valid passport or are in possession of a special authorization.
    • They are a permanent resident of Canada or an approved permanent resident who has not yet landed in Canada.
    • They are registered under Canada’s Indian Act.
    • They are an immediate or extended family member of a Canadian citizen and are staying for 15 days or more.
    • They are an international student with a valid study permit.
    • They are a foreign worker with a valid work permit.

    Requirements for travel to Canada

    • Starting February 15, everyone flying or driving into Canada must take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding their flights/arriving at the border crossing and show evidence of a negative result to airline staff/border agents.
    • Prior to traveling to Canada, all travelers must provide their detailed quarantine plan to authorities via the ArriveCAN mobile app or on the paper form provided by the airline during their flight. The ArriveCan virtual receipt or paper form will need to be submitted for inspection to the border officers upon arrival.
    • In addition to a pre-arrival test, all travelers entering Canada will soon be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival and undergo a mandatory three-night stay at an approved hotel at their own expense while awaiting results. Approved hotels located near the only four major airports currently open to international flights (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal) will provide transportation between the airport and hotel, as well as contactless meals. Once your hotel quarantine is over, you will be required to quarantine for 14 additional days.

    A version of this article was previously published on November 5, 2020, and was updated on February 10, 2021, with more information.