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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

August 17, 2021

Traveling to Canada Under the Vaccinated Traveler Exemption

As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated US citizens and lawful permanent residents can travel to Canada for nonessential purposes. Vaccinated travelers are also exempt from the quarantine and day-8 testing requirements previously implemented by the Canadian government.

How to Qualify for the Vaccinated Traveler Exemption

To qualify for the vaccinated traveler exemption, an individual must provide proof that they received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca) at least 14 days prior to seeking entry to Canada. In addition, a traveler’s proof of vaccination must be in English or French. Proof of vaccination that is not in French or English must be accompanied by a certified translation.

Steps to Follow When Crossing the Border

To qualify for the vaccinated traveler exemption, individuals must complete each of the steps outlined below.

1) Obtain a pre-entry test within 72 hours of crossing.

All travelers over the age of five must get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their trip to Canada. This includes vaccinated Americans. Please note that molecular COVID-19 tests, such as a PCR or NAT test, the only acceptable types of tests. The antigen test is not an acceptable type of test for entry into Canada. Travelers must bring proof of their negative test, which must show the person’s name and date of birth, the name and address of the facility that administered the test, the date on which the test was conducted, the type of test conducted, and the test’s result.

2) Use ArriveCAN to submit proof of vaccination and quarantine plan.

All travelers must use ArriveCAN up to 72 hours before entry to Canada. Travelers must use the ArriveCAN app to enter proof of vaccination, a suitable quarantine plan, and travel information. If you don't provide the required information in ArriveCAN before arriving at the border, you won’t be considered for the vaccinated traveler exemption, even if you meet all the other requirements.

3) Travel with the appropriate documents.

When crossing the border, all travelers must provide the ArriveCAN receipt, original proof of vaccination, proof of a negative COVID-19 test, and other necessary travel documents (e.g., passport, Nexus card, etc.).

Please note that a final determination of a traveler’s vaccination status is made at the border. If any of the above steps are not followed, you risk being denied entry to the country.

Planned Expansion of the Vaccinated Traveler Exemption in September

Currently, the vaccinated traveler exemption only applies to citizens and permanent residents of Canada and the United States and French citizens who currently reside in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. The Canadian government did, however, announce that all foreign nationals can travel to Canada under the vaccinated traveler exemption beginning on September 7, 2021. This announcement is tentative and something Barclay Damon’s Canada-US Cross Border Team will be following closely over the next few weeks.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Rich Day or Gust Pullman, Canada-US Cross-Border co-team leaders, at rday@barclaydamon.com and gpullman@barclaydamon.com, respectively; Rosanna Berardi, immigration counsel, at rberardi@barclaydamon.com; or another member of the firm’s Canada-US Cross Border Team.

We also have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. Please contact Yvonne Hennessey, COVID-19 Response Team leader, at yhennessey@barclaydamon.com, or any member of the COVID-19 Response Team at COVID-19ResponseTeam@barclaydamon.com.

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