Canada Eliminates Pre-arrival Testing for Vaccinated Visitors
Canada will lift all pre-arrival testing requirements for vaccinated travelers next month, government officials announced on Thursday, the latest country to ease pandemic-era border protocols.
Starting April 1, fully vaccinated international visitors will be able to travel to Canada without the need to get tested beforehand, government officials announced in a news conference. Travelers will still be subject to random testing on arrival, but will not be required to quarantine while waiting for the results.
All travelers will still have to fill out a form on the country's ArriveCAN app or website.
"Today is a day that many of us have been waiting for," Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said during the news conference. "We've said all along that we would adjust our border measures based on public health recommendations and that is exactly what we're doing today."
The relaxed rules come weeks after Canada started allowing travelers to opt for a pre-arrival rapid antigen test taken within a day of their departure instead of the PCR test the country previously required. At the same time, Canada started allowing international flights to land at any international airport in the country.
While Canada is relaxing rules for vaccinated travelers, unvaccinated travelers who are allowed to enter the country will still have to get tested upon arrival, get tested again on day 8 of their trip, and quarantine for 14 days.
Canada will continue to require proof of vaccination to board a plane or ride a train, Alghabra said, as well as require masks be worn on board and in airports.
Additionally, travelers who board a cruise ship will also be required to get tested before their scheduled departure, as the government announced last week, but Alghabra said they will not have to get tested again before getting off the ship.
Canada first reopened its borders to vaccinated American tourists in August 2021, while the United States opened its land border with Canada on Nov. 8. The U.S. still requires all international travelers arriving by air to be vaccinated and, along with U.S. citizens returning from a trip abroad, to get tested for COVID-19 within one day of their flight.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies Canada as a "Level 4" destination, indicating a "very high" level of COVID-19 transmission in the country and warning Americans to "avoid" traveling there.
Several other countries have eased or completely eliminated pandemic-related border restrictions in recent weeks, including Ireland and Iceland. In the U.S., both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands eased COVID-19-related protocols for domestic travelers, and Hawaii plans to end its Safe Travels program later this month.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.