Latest update: July 19, 2022
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Most recent updates to Canada’s travel restrictions & immigration policies during the COVID-19 pandemic

July 19: Canada is re-establishing randomized PCR testing offsite of airports for fully vaccinated air travellers

As of July 19, Canada will resume randomized PCR testing of fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air. Travellers who are randomly selected for testing will complete testing outside of airports, either via an in-person appointment at select testing provider locations and pharmacies, or a virtual appointment for a self-swab test.

The Canadian government remains committed to randomized testing of air passengers in order to detect new COVID-19 variants.

June 30: Canada extends COVID-19 border measures until at least September 30, 2022

The Government of Canada has officially extended border measures until at least September 30, 2022. Note that the current measures allow entry by fully vaccinated individuals who follow proper protocols and procedures (details below).

June 20: Vaccination is no longer required to board a plane or train inside Canada (different rules apply for those entering Canada from another country)

On June 20, Canada removed the requirement for travellers who are already inside Canada to be fully vaccinated in order to board a plane or train. Face masks are still required for travellers throughout their journey.

Please note that this does not apply to travellers entering Canada from another country. Those entering Canada internationally must follow their own set of vaccination, testing, and masking guidelines — outlined below.

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Who can enter Canada during COVID-19?

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19: You are eligible to enter Canada as long as you follow the special travel requirements for vaccinated travellers. In order to be considered “fully vaccinated,” you must have received the full series of one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for entry to Canada (or a combination of accepted vaccines). You must have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to travelling. Canada currently accepts seven vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Covaxin. If you have been vaccinated using a different vaccine, Canada does not consider you fully vaccinated at this time.

Children under the age of 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians can enter Canada and are exempt from quarantine requirements. Refer here for details about requirements for children under the age of 12.

If you are unvaccinated/partially vaccinated against COVID-19: You can only enter Canada if you meet one of the exemptions to Canada’s travel restrictions and follow Canada’s special travel requirements (including COVID-19 testing and mandatory 14-day quarantine). The following groups can cross the border into Canada, even if they are unvaccinated:

  • Children under the age of 18 who wish to visit family or attend post-secondary institutions;
  • Temporary foreign workers working in farming or food processing (other occupations require vaccination);
  • Approved permanent residents (COPR-holders) who have not yet arrived in Canada;
  • Those transiting through Canada to another country; and
  • Those entering for compassionate reasons, those receiving essential medical services, those living in certain border communities, members of marine crews, and certain types of diplomats.

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What do you need when travelling to Canada during COVID-19?

If you travel to Canada at this time, there are strict requirements for entry. The entry requirements are different for travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are not fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated travellers to Canada: Special travel requirements

Since April 1, 2022, pre-entry testing is no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada by land, air or water. Certain special requirements are still in place.

In order to be considered “fully vaccinated,” you must have received the full series of one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for entry to Canada (or a combination of accepted vaccines). You must have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to travelling. Canada currently accepts seven vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Covaxin. If you have been vaccinated using a different vaccine, Canada does not consider you fully vaccinated at this time.

  1. Pre-Entry COVID-19 test: This requirement ended as of April 1, 2022.
  2. Proof of vaccination submitted via ArriveCAN app: Fully vaccinated individuals travelling to Canada are strongly encouraged to use the ArriveCAN app before arriving in Canada to submit information regarding their proof of vaccination and other details. If you are unable to access the ArriveCAN app, or forget to complete it in advance, it may be possible to submit your information at the Canadian port of entry.
  3. Randomized on-arrival COVID-19 testing & isolation: Certain air travellers coming from outside Canada will be randomly selected to complete a COVID-19 test upon arrival. This includes fully vaccinated travellers. If a fully vaccinated traveller is randomly selected for an on-arrival COVID-19 test, they do not have to isolate until they receive the results of their COVID-19 test.
  4. Children under the age of 12: Children under the age of 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians can enter Canada and are exempt from travel requirements, even if the child is not fully vaccinated. This means that children can immediately return to school, daycare, and other activities.

Unvaccinated / partially vaccinated travellers to Canada: Special travel requirements

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, please refer here for the instructions that apply to you.

First, ensure that you are allowed to enter Canada. If you are eligible to enter Canada at this time, you will need to follow these special measures:

  1. Pre-Entry COVID-19 test: All travellers over 12 years of age arriving in Canada must show negative test results from an accepted COVID-19 molecular or antigen test obtained no more than 72 hours prior their flight departure or scheduled arrival at a land border. Travellers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may instead show a positive COVID-19 test result from 11 to 180 days prior to arrival.
  2. Mandatory 14-day quarantine: Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated travellers entering Canada will be forced to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine. You must prepare an isolation plan in advance of arrival in Canada detailing where and how you will complete your quarantine. Certain exemptions will be made for essential workers and in certain compassionate situations.
  3. On-arrival and Day 8 COVID-19 tests: All unvaccinated/partially vaccinated air passengers arriving in Canada are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival and an additional test after Day 8 of their quarantine. Details on these tests can be found here. Regardless of the test results, unvaccinated travellers must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.
  4. All travellers — ArriveCAN app: All those travelling to Canada are strongly encouraged to use the ArriveCAN app to submit information regarding their travel/contact info, quarantine plan, and COVID-19 self-assessment. If you are unable to access the ArriveCAN app, or forget to complete it in advance, it may be possible to submit your information at the Canadian port of entry.

Common questions for travellers arriving in Canada:

  • Is it possible to quarantine at a household that I share with a family member, partner, or friend? Yes, but only if certain conditions are met. Refer to our guide to see if your quarantine plan meets the criteria.

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Most common questions about Canadian immigration during COVID-19

Is Canada still processing immigration applications?

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Canada’s immigration system is fully operational at this time, although some processing delays are ongoing from an application backlog that accumulated during the pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has updated the tool for checking application processing times. Immigration applicants can now use this tool to check average processing times. Even with the updated tool, processing times are not available for some immigration programs.

Are invitations still being issued through Express Entry?

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Yes. Express Entry draws have continued throughout the pandemic.

Are invitations still being issued through International Experience Canada?

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Yes. The 2022 IEC season opened on January 13. Full details in our Working Holiday Newshub.

Are invitations still being issued through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)?

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Yes. PNP draws were never fully paused at any point in the pandemic. You can track the latest PNP draw results in our PNP Live Tracker.

I have my COPR. Can I still enter Canada despite the travel ban?

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Yes. Since June 2021, those with valid COPRs have been able to enter Canada. COPR-holders have to follow all COVID-19 special travel measures (refer above for the up-to-date measures). Those with expired COPRs will be contacted by IRCC to have their documents reissued. Full details here.

I am inside Canada and have been approved for PR. How do I confirm my status?

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Canada has introduced a new online portal enabling successful applicants for permanent resident status who are residing in Canada to confirm their PR status. This new online portal enables new permanent residents who are in Canada to confirm their PR status without the need for an in-person interview. Full details here.

My travel document (LOI, visitor visa, etc.) is going to expire and I can’t travel to Canada. What do I do?

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If your travel document is going to expire within the next 30 days, please complete the IRCC online web form to advise them of your issue. Include as many details as possible. Please wait until 30 days before your document’s expiry date before submitting your extension request.

IRCC has indicated that they will offer extensions to some users who are significantly impacted by COVID-19.

My application deadline is approaching and I cannot gather all the required documents. What do I do?

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If you cannot gather required documents due to COVID-19, you may be able to request an extension on the document requirements. Your request will be approved or denied at the discretion of the immigration officer handling your file.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Canadian government brought in a new policy where immigration applicants who were unable to supply certain types of information or documents were automatically granted 90-day extensions to provide these documents. Many applicants were issued multiple automatic extensions as the pandemic continued. This policy ended on April 12, 2021.

As of April 12, 2021, when an immigration officer issues a request letter for additional information or documents, the applicant will be given only 30 days to respond. Applicants must respond within the 30-day timeframe either by submitting the missing information/documents or by submitting a request for an additional extension with a “reasonable explanation and proof of the explanation that would allow the application to remain open.” Full details here.

Essentially, extensions for missing documents and/or information will no longer be granted automatically, and it is now the responsibility of the applicant to prove a further extension is necessary.

I have a Canadian study permit or work permit, but I am temporarily outside Canada. Will I be able to come back?

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If you follow the necessary special travel measures related to your vaccination status, yes, you will be able to re-enter. As of January 15, 2022, all study permit holders (except those under the age of 18) and work permit holders must be fully vaccinated in order to enter Canada.

I am inside Canada and have my POE letter of introduction. How can I activate my work permit or study permit?

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A temporary process had been introduced during the pandemic allowing permits to be activated from inside Canada — this is in place until at least February 28, 2023. This process may be further extended — refer to this page for the latest details.

I am inside Canada with visitor status. Can I apply for a work permit?

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Visitors who are currently in Canada and have a valid job offer will be able to apply for an employer-specific work permit and, if approved, receive the permit without having to leave Canada. Eligible job offers must be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or exempt from needing one. Full details here.
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I am inside Canada with an employer-specific work permit, but I lost my job. Am I allowed to get a new job?

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Temporary workers inside Canada may start a job with a new employer more quickly through a new streamlined process. As many temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Canada lost their jobs early in the pandemic, the government created a temporary policy allowing these TFWs, who are already in Canada with an employer-specific work permit, to more quickly change employers.

Normally, TFWs who lost their job in Canada would have to apply for a new work permit and wait until a decision is made on this application—a process that usually takes 10+ weeks. Under the new process, TFWs can start a position with a new employer before their new work permit application is processed.

Important: TFWs with employer-specific work permit still have to apply for their new work permit. After applying, they must follow the instructions on this IRCC webpage, and must wait until receiving email confirmation from IRCC that they can start working in their new position.

TFWs with open work permits are always able to switch employers, so this policy does not impact them.

How can I submit biometrics with my application during COVID-19?

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In most cases where biometrics were required before COVID-19, they are still required. Instructions for completing your biometrics depend on where you’re living. Take note, however, that due to COVID-19, certain applicants who would normally require biometrics are now exempt from needing them (refer below for more details).

Biometrics exemptions due to COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, Canada announced that certain temporary resident applicants who are inside Canada will be exempt from the requirement to provide biometrics. This is a temporary measure. The exemption includes those who are applying from within Canada:

  • to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
  • to restore your status as a student, worker or visitor
  • for a work or study permit
  • for a visitor visa
  • for a temporary resident permit

As well, this temporary measure does not apply if you are outside Canada. Those applying for permanent residence from within Canada are still required to provide biometrics (note that Service Canada locations in Canada are not yet processing biometrics and biometrics deadlines for PR applicants have been extended due to COVID-19).

Additional biometrics exemptions for PR applicants: IRCC is introducing a new special measure for PR applicants who have already completed biometrics for a different immigration application within the past 10 years. These applicants will now be exempt from providing new biometrics with their PR application (Source: IRCC).

I am applying for a study permit. Will I be able to begin my studies in the summer/fall term?

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Read full updates on how COVID-19 is impacting international students in our dedicated COVID Student Newshub.

Which airports in Canada are accepting international flights during COVID-19?

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As of February 15, 2022, all airports in Canada are once again authorized to receive international flights.

Has Canada banned flights to or from any countries?

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Throughout the pandemic, Canada has put in place temporary bans on flights from certain countries in order limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants:

Lifted — Restriction on travel from ten African countries: In November 2021, Canada announced that foreign nationals from ten countries in Africa will be banned from entering Canada. This includes foreign nationals travelling directly from these countries, as well as anyone who has visited these countries in the past 14 days. Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be able to return to Canada from these countries, but will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine and extensive COVID-19 testing. The 10 countries were: Nigeria, Egypt, Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Eswatini.

Lifted — Ban on flights from Morocco: Canada introduced a ban on commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from Morocco from August 29, 2021, to October 29, 2021. The ban has since been lifted.

Lifted — Bans on flights from India and Pakistan: In the spring and summer of 2021, Canada banned flights from India and Pakistan to help slow the spread of the Delta variant. The ban on flights from Pakistan ended on June 21 and the ban on flights from India ended on September 27.

Lifted — Ban on flights to Mexico and the Caribbean: In January, 2021, Canada’s major airlines suspended flights to Mexico and the Caribbean — favourite sun destinations for Canadians looking to escape the winter. This measure was in place until April 30.

Lifted — Ban on flights from the United Kingdom: In late 2020, Canada briefly banned all flights from the United Kingdom, as the country assessed how to address the new UK variant of the coronavirus. This ban was lifted in early January 2021.

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