O Canada! A checklist?

Americans need to preregister before arriving at border

A sign welcomes motorists to the Canadian province of Quebec just north of the U.S. border from Vermont. (Provided photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — With the border opening Aug. 9 for discretionary travel, Americans will find that it’s not so easy getting into Canada anymore.

Gone are the days of simply showing a passport or enhanced New York state driver’s license and answering a few questions before being waved through a checkpoint. With the coronavirus pandemic still a threat to national health, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens going to Canada for non-essential activities must take some extra steps.

Now travelers have to preregister, make “just-in-case” quarantine plans and show more documentation to make sure they’re not potentially sharing the novel coronavirus with their neighbors to the north.

But at least Americans, after 17 months, will be able to cross the border starting Aug. 9, as long as they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The U.S. government, on the other hand, decided last week to extend the ban on non-essential travel for Canadians who want to visit the U.S., at least until Aug. 21.

With its July 19 decision, the Canadian government decided to set up special requirements for fully vaccinated Americans before they are allowed in the country.

ArriveCAN logo


Americans must use the new ArriveCAN app on their cellphones — or register on the ArriveCAN website — before they can be accepted into Canada, according to the Canadian government. Using the app or website, they will answer a series of questions and upload essential documents, and that process must be complete within 72 hours of arriving at the border.

If American travelers don’t provide the required information in ArriveCAN before arriving at the border, they won’t be considered for the exemption, even if they meet all the requirements.

Poutine from a restaurant in Ormstown, Quebec (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

After submitting the information through ArriveCAN, a receipt will be displayed and emailed to travelers, who must show the receipt to a Canadian border services officer when they arrive. They can show the receipt from the app, a screenshot, their email or a printout.

People who don’t travel with a smartphone can submit their information within 72 hours before arriving at Canada by creating an account and signing in online. They can print or take a screenshot of their receipt and take it with them when they travel.

People with no computer or smartphone can sign in online on a computer at a library or internet cafe.

Learn more about ArriveCAN at www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/arrivecan.html.

The app is available at the Apple’s App Store and at Google Play.

The Parliament building in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, is seen here in 2018. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

ArriveCAN questions

ArriveCAN will ask travelers a series of questions, including the following:

-required contact information for the traveler and others traveling with them, as long as they’re staying at the same quarantine location

-the purpose of their travel (such as exempt travel, work, study, family reunification or compassionate reasons)

-travel details, such as their date of arrival, port of entry if they’re entering by land or marine vessel or flight number, airport and airline if they’re entering by air

-their vaccination information (upload proof of vaccination)

-the trip reference code for their three-night reservation at a government-authorized hotel (for air travelers only, unless exempt)

-information about the countries travelers stayed in or visited in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Canada (not including countries where they had a connection stop along the journey from one destination to another)

-their quarantine plan if their travel isn’t exempt from quarantine requirements

Proof of vaccination

To be considered fully vaccinated, Americans must have received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines, with the last dose at least 14 days prior to arrival. Travelers need to upload their proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN.

Accepted vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2), Moderna (mRNA-1273), AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222) and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S).

Entry requirements

When arriving at the Canadian border, Americans must not be showing any COVID-19 symptoms, which include a new or worsening cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever or chills, fatigue or weakness, muscle or body aches, new loss of smell or taste, headache, gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting) and “feeling very unwell.”

If asymptomatic, the following are requirements for fully vaccinated travelers:

1. Pre-entry test

2. Quarantine plan in case they don’t get the exemption

3. Arrival test

4. Requirements checklist


The changes on Aug. 9 for children will be to “allow entry of unvaccinated children under 12 years of age, or unvaccinated dependent children (due to a mental or physical condition), who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently residing in the U.S. and who are accompanying a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor who either has a right to enter Canada (e.g. Canadian citizens and permanent residents), is a U.S. citizen and permanent resident currently residing in the U.S. or is otherwise is permitted entry under the U.S. Prohibition on Entry Order made under the Quarantine Act. They must meet all other required criteria, including submitting information electronically through ArriveCAN and all testing requirements.”

1. Pre-entry test

All travelers 5 years of age or older must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.

Americans arriving at a land border crossing need to take their COVID-19 test in the U.S. within 72 hours of their arrival. Those flying to Canada must take a test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of their flight to Canada.

All travelers must provide one of the accepted types of tests (not an antigen test) and keep proof of their test results for the 14-day period that begins on the day of arrival.

At the border, travelers must present an accepted test result — paper or electronic proof. It needs to have the traveler’s name and date of birth, name and address of the facility that administered the test, date of the test, type of test and test result.

2. Quarantine plan

Travelers must have a 14-day quarantine plan in case they don’t get the exemption, meaning they are symptomatic or don’t meet the requirements. A government representative at the border will determine whether travelers get the exemption.

Travelers need to confirm they have a suitable place to quarantine for at least 14 days. The location must have access to the necessities of life (water, food, medication, etc.) without leaving quarantine, and it must be a place where the traveler can avoid contact with others who didn’t travel with them.

3. Arrival test

Upon arrival, Americans — whether fully vaccinated or not — will be instructed to either take an arrival test for COVID-19 at the border or receive a home test kit. The test is free.

Travelers who qualify for the fully vaccinated exemption are not required to quarantine until they get their results.

Fully vaccinated travelers meeting all the criteria no longer have to take a Day-8 test.

4. Fully vaccinated traveler exemption list

Before traveling to Canada,

-Find out if you can enter Canada;

-Check if you qualify for the fully vaccinated traveler exemption;

-Get your pre-entry COVID-19 test;

-Register in advance for your arrival test;

-Have a quarantine plan in case you don’t receive the exemption; and

-Use ArriveCAN to submit your proof of vaccination;

Arriving in Canada, have the following items for assessment by a government official at the border:

-ArriveCAN receipt

-Proof of vaccination

-Pre-entry test results

-Other travel documents

After arriving in Canada, take a test on arrival or get a home test kit.

Welcome to Canada!

Those American travelers who meet the requirements and are exempt from quarantine may travel on by air or land to their destination, but they must:

-Follow local public health measures;

-Wear a mask while in public for 14 days;

-Maintain a list of all close contacts for their first 14 days in Canada; and

-Keep copies of their proof of vaccination for 14 days.


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