As vaccination rates increase, both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Joe Biden are under intense pressure to provide a reopening plan. The pushback has come from all over, including lawmakers, business leaders and families who have been separated from their loved ones.
While many people are waiting for the borders to be fully open, this isn’t happening just yet. Until August 9th or September 7th, depending on your country of residence, Trudeau has made the decision to keep the border closed to most foreign travelers (unless they meet the current exception requirements), mainly because there is concern that fully vaccinated individuals can still spread COVID-19.
Furthermore, individuals who have a criminal record, such as a DUI for example in the US or abroad will also need to ensure that they have the proper authorization, such as a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) prior to traveling to Canada.
If you have family members living in Canada, property in Canada or business to attend, or even if you simply wish to take a vacation to Canada, it’s important to know when you can finally enter the country. Let’s learn more about the current border situation and when you can expect restrictions to loosen.
How Long Has the Canadian Border Been Shut Down?
The Canada-US borders have been shut down since March 2020 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Both the US and Canada have been renewing a bilateral, month-to-month agreement ever since. The last such agreement ended on July 21, 2021, and Canada laid out details of what to expect going forward.
While COVID cases are declining in Canada, and more people are getting vaccinated, the pandemic isn’t over yet. Trudeau acknowledges people’s impatience, but he also wants to see the majority of Canadians fully vaccinated before loosening restrictions. Currently, more than 50 percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated.
In addition to vaccination rates, Canadian officials are also watching case counts and hospitalizations. There is a growing concern over different variants of the virus, particularly the Delta variant and other ones that are not covered under the vaccine. When taking all of these metrics into consideration, it’s clear that the borders still need a careful watch.
When Will We See the Borders in Canada Reopen?
The first phase of Canada’s approach to easing border restrictions started July 5, 2021 at 11:59pm. This phase has allowed fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents to forgo some of the measures in place intended for foreign nationals and non-vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Individuals who meet these requirements do not have to take a COVID-19 test eight days after their arrival or stay at a government authorized hotel for up to three days if traveling by air. However, there are still certain conditions individuals will have to meet, even when fully vaccinated.
- Both vaccines must be Health Canada-approved and given at least 14 days prior to arrival;
- A paper or digital copy of the vaccination document must be provided;
- A suitable quarantine plan must be in place in case needed;
- All pre- and on-arrival test requirements must be met; and
- No symptoms can be present – an individual must be asymptomatic.
Starting August 9th, Canada Border Will Open to Fully Vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents
On August 9, 2021, at 12:01 am, Canada will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents. (We’re certain this is the news you’ve been waiting for!) A COVID-19 vaccination must be completed at least 14 days prior to entry.
Children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine will be allowed to enter the country with a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, tutor or guardian who is eligible to enter Canada. However, entry will continue to be denied to those who are not yet fully vaccinated, as well as all other foreign nationals.
After this date, the next one we’ll be looking toward is September 7, 2021. On this date, Canada intends to allow fully vaccinated travelers from any country to visit Canada as long as the epidemiology remains favorable.
Planning to Travel to Canada During COVID-19? Speak with an Immigration Attorney from KLM Immigration
Canada plans to reopen slowly and carefully – it won’t happen in a single phase. While these restrictions can be frustrating, we must remember that they are put into place to keep Canadians safe and prevent a fourth wave from occurring.