Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Who can travel to Canada – citizens, permanent residents, foreign nationals and refugees
- How COVID-19 is affecting IRCC
- Travel restrictions and exemptions
- Workers, students and visitors
- Immigration applicants
- Refugees and PRRA applicants
- Canadians and citizenship applicants
- Passports and travel documents
- IRCC offices and VACs
- Permanent residents
- Temporary processing changes
- Settlement and resettlement service providers
To protect Canadians from the outbreak of COVID 19, the Prime Minister announced travel restrictions that will limit travel to Canada. Until further notice, most people cannot travel to Canada, even if they have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA).
These restrictions stop all non-essential (discretionary) travel to Canada.
On this page
- Who can enter Canada
- Exemptions to the travel restrictions
- Mandatory quarantine for travellers entering Canada
Who can enter Canada
You can travel to and may be permitted to enter Canada if you’re a
- Canadian citizen
- Canadian permanent resident
- person registered under Canada’s Indian Act
- protected person
- foreign national who is coming for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose from the United States (U.S.)
- foreign national who is coming for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose from a country other than the U.S. and are exempt from the travel restrictions (see Exemptions to the travel restrictions for more information)
Exemptions to the travel restrictions
The following people may travel to Canada for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose from a country other than the U.S.:
- temporary foreign workers
- some international students
- some approved permanent residents
- immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident (see below for more information)
- immediate family members with written authorization from the Government of Canada to reunite with a family member living temporarily in Canada (see below for more information)
- transiting passengers (must remain in a Canadian airport to complete their connection)
- members of the Canadian forces, visiting forces, Department of National Defence and their immediate family members
- accredited diplomats and immediate family members (includes North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], those under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, other organizations)
- air and marine crew members
- French citizens who live in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and have been in only Canada, the U.S. or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon during the 14 days before the day they seek to enter Canada
- any person who does not pose a significant harm to public health, in the opinion of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and who will provide an essential service while in Canada
- any person whose presence in Canada is in the national interest, in the opinion of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; or Foreign Affairs
- any person who is coming at the invitation of the Minister of Health for the purpose of COVID-19 assistance
- any person whose purpose is to make medical deliveries
An immediate family member is defined as a
- spouse or common-law partner
- dependent child
- dependent child of a dependent child
- parent or step-parent
- guardian or tutor
Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents
To board your flight to Canada, you must
- have your health checked by airline officials to confirm that you don’t have symptoms of COVID‑19, including a fever, a cough and difficulty breathing
- Anyone showing symptoms will not be allowed to board.
- tell the airline that you’re exempt from the travel restrictions
- show that you’re travelling to Canada for an essential (non-discretionary) reason and not for reasons that are optional or non-essential, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment
- present proof to show that you’re an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident
- make sure you have a valid travel document (visitor visa or eTA) and a passport that is valid to fly to Canada
You do not need a written authorization from the Government of Canada confirming that you are exempt from the travel restrictions
Documents to use as proof that you’re an immediate family member
You must have 2 types of documents
- 1 that shows your immediate family member’s status as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- 1 that shows your relationship to that family member
Documents that show your immediate family member’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status include
- a Canadian passport
- proof of Canadian citizenship, such as a citizenship certificate, citizenship card, or provincial or territorial birth certificate
- a Canadian permanent resident card
- a Canadian permanent resident travel document
- a visa-exempt foreign passport with an IRCC Special Authorization for Canadian Citizens
Documents that show your relationship to that family member include
- a marriage or common-law status certificate
- a birth certificate
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) for the family class (the COPR category under Application Details will be FC) or under the One‑Year Window of Opportunity Program (coded OYW under Special Program)
- other documents that show an immediate family connection (for example, correspondence from us showing a spousal sponsorship application in progress or documents that show a shared home address)
Note: Paper and electronic copies of the documents above are accepted.
Reuniting with an immediate family member who is in Canada temporarily
To board your flight to Canada, you must have written authorization from the Government of Canada to fly to Canada.
There are 2 ways to contact us to request an authorization:
- Email IRCC at IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca. We’ll contact you within 48 hours of getting your email and tell you what to do next.
- Contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad.
When you contact us, you must provide your
- full name
- date of birth
- unique client identifier (UCI)
- passport number
- detailed reason for travel
- proof of relationship with an immediate family member in Canada
- proof of immigration status of your immediate family member in Canada
- proof of temporary resident visa or eTA
If you don’t have written authorization, you won’t be allowed to board your flight to Canada, even if you have a valid visitor visa or eTA.
To be eligible to travel to Canada, you need
- a written authorization from IRCC confirming that you are exempt from the travel restrictions
- a valid visitor visa (if you’re from a country whose nationals require a visa) or an eTA (if you’re from a country whose nationals are visa-exempt)
- a valid passport
- to tell the airline that you’re exempt from the travel restrictions
- to show a consular or immigration officer that you’re coming for an essential purpose, such as to live with your spouse, partner or parent
- You’ll be refused an authorization if an officer finds that you’re travelling for an optional or non-essential purpose, such as for tourism, entertainment or recreation.
- to have your health checked by airline officials to confirm that you don’t have symptoms of COVID‑19, including a fever, a cough and difficulty breathing
- Anyone showing symptoms will not be allowed to board.
Mandatory quarantine for travellers entering Canada
When you arrive in Canada by air or land, we assess your health before you leave the port of entry.
If you’re exempt from the travel restrictions, you must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada.
The penalties for not following your quarantine plan can include
- a fine of up to $750,000
- 6 months of jail time
- being found inadmissible, removed from Canada and banned from entering for 1 year
Only people who provide essential services, for example truck drivers who regularly cross the border to maintain the flow of goods, are exempt from the quarantine requirements.
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