Latest update: May 10, 2021
Most recent updates to Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions & immigration policies
Vaccine passports may be used to facilitate international travel: Many of Canada’s top politicians and policymakers have suggested that proof of vaccination is likely to be a factor in facilitating international travel in and out of Canada. Find out all the latest in our regularly updated guide to vaccine passports in Canada.
Canada bans flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days: Effective April 22 at 11:30pm, Canada is suspending all commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from India and Pakistan for 30 days. This measure was announced by Canada’s Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra.
The flight ban comes as India reports record-high numbers of COVID-19 infections, surpassing 300,000 new infections in a single day. A new COVID-19 variant of concern, B.1.617, is thought to be driving some of India’s new surge — and questions about vaccine efficacy against this variant have prompted other countries to impose flight bans on Indian travellers as well.
Canada extends travel restrictions with all countries until at least May 21, 2021: In two tweets issued on April 20, 2020, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced the extension of Canada’s travel restrictions with the United States and with all other countries (the U.S. restrictions are managed through a separate order). Restrictions are now in place until at least May 21, 2021. As COVID-19 variants of concern continue to spread, Blair stated that the government will “continue to do what it takes-for as long as it takes-to keep Canadians safe.”
Please refer below for details on who is exempt from travel restrictions and what is required of individuals entering Canada.
At this time, Canada has not made any special measures or exemptions for individuals who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. All other travel restrictions and requirements remain in effect.
Who can enter Canada during COVID-19?
The majority of foreign nationals are barred from entering Canada at this time, but there are a number of exemptions to the travel ban. Even if a person is exempt from the travel restrictions, they still must follow the special measures in place for travellers entering the country.
The following groups can cross the border into Canada whether by air or by land:
- Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents;
- immediate family members* of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who are travelling to Canada for non-discretionary reasons;
- extended family members** and long-term partners** of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (or their partners) who apply for written authorization from IRCC;
- immediate family members* of temporary residents in Canada who receive written authorization from IRCC;
- 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 (please note that flagpoling is not permitted at this time, refer below for more details);
- 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 (Source: IRCC);
- 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 (Source: IRCC; note that anecdotal reports suggest airline staff and border officers may still deny entry without proof of a connection to Canada like employment, housing, or family);
- international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is on the approved list (schools which have a COVID-19 readiness plan) and have either a valid study permit or a letter of introduction showing that they’ve been approved for a study permit (Source: IRCC);
- COPR-holders with a valid COPR who are residing in any country other than the United States and were approved for their COPR before 12pm EDT on March 18, 2020, and who are travelling to Canada to settle permanently (Source: IRCC);
- COPR-holders with a valid COPR who are residing in the United States and were approved on any date (even after March 18, 2020) and who are travelling to Canada to settle permanently (Source: IRCC);
- those granted special permission to enter for compassionate reasons.
There are a handful of other exceptional exemptions listed here.
*The following types of family members are considered ‘immediate’:
The following types of family members are considered “immediate”:
- the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
- a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
- a dependent child of a dependent child;
- the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
- the guardian or tutor of the person.
**The following types of family members are considered to be “extended” or “long-term couples”:
The following types of family members are considered to be ‘extended’ or ‘long-term couples’:
- an individual who is in an exclusive dating relationship with the person, has been in such a relationship for at least 1 year and has spent time in the physical presence of the person during the course of the relationship;
- a dependent child of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
- a child of the person, of their spouse or common-law partner or of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
- a dependent child of a child (that is, a grandchild);
- a sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
- a grandparent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner.