Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Who can travel to Canada – citizens, permanent residents, foreign nationals and refugees
To protect Canadians from the outbreak of COVID-19, the Prime Minister announced travel restrictions that limit travel to Canada. Until further notice, most foreign nationals cannot travel to Canada, even if they have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA).
These restrictions stop most non-essential (discretionary) travel to Canada.
On this page
- Who can enter Canada
- Who is an immediate family member
- Public health measures for travellers entering Canada
Who can enter Canada
You can travel to and enter Canada if you’re a
- Canadian citizen
- permanent resident of Canada
- person registered under Canada’s Indian Act
- protected person
Foreign nationals who are eligible to travel to Canada
Foreign nationals, including United States (US) citizens, can travel to Canada only if they’re eligible.
Immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
To be eligible, you must provide evidence that
- you’re an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and
- you’ll be staying in Canada for at least 15 days.
You must also have a quarantine plan that shows how you’ll quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This plan is mandatory.
If you’re staying for less than 15 days, you must meet the same requirements as all other foreign nationals.
All other foreign nationals
To be eligible, you must meet 2 requirements:
- You must be travelling for an essentialFootnote 1 (non-discretionary) purpose
- You must be either
- travelling directly from the US
- exempt from the travel restrictions
These measures are in effect until at least
- July 21, 2020, for travellers coming directly from the US
- July 31, 2020, for all other foreign nationals
Travellers coming from outside the US who are exempt from the travel restrictions
- temporary foreign workers
- some international students
- some approved permanent residents
- immediate family members with written authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to reunite with a temporary resident of Canada (see below for more information)
- transiting passengers (must remain in the secure transit area of 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 only been in Canada, the US 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; Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; or Minister of 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
You must also have a quarantine plan that shows how you will quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This plan is mandatory.
Who is an immediate family member
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
How to unite with immediate family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents
To board your flight to Canada, you must
- follow all airline requirements and pass a health check conducted 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 a flight to Canada.
- tell the airline that you’re exempt from the travel restrictions
- show that you’re eligible to travel at this time
If you’re outside the US
You must be able to provide evidence that either
- 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 come to Canada
You do not need a written authorization from IRCC 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:
- one that shows your immediate family member’s status as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- one 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
Documents that show your relationship to that family member include
- a marriage certificate or proof of common-law status (documents showing a shared address)
- 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. Please note that the documents above are examples only. An officer may request or accept other documents as needed.
How to reunite with an immediate family member who is in Canada temporarily
To travel to Canada from the US to reunite with an immediate family member who is in Canada temporarily, you must provide evidence that your travel is essentialFootnote 1 (non-discretionary).
To board your flight to Canada from a country other than the US, you must have written authorization from IRCC to fly to Canada.
How to request an authorization
Email us at IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca only if you’re reuniting with an immediate family member who is living in Canada temporarily. We won’t respond to any other inquiries.
We’ll contact you within 5 business days of getting your email and tell you what to do next.
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 (copy of their study permit or work permit)
- proof of temporary resident visa or eTA
For all other questions
Find out how COVID-19 is affecting immigration programs and services. If you can’t find the answer to your question, contact us using our Web form.
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 an immigration officer that you’re coming for an essentialFootnote 1 (non discretionary) 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-essentialFootnote 1 (discretionary) 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 a flight to Canada.
Public health measures for travellers to Canada
If you’re travelling by air, you need to
- pass a health check conducted by airlines before you’ll be allowed to board your flight
- wear a non-medical mask or face covering during travel (including to the place you’ll quarantine)
Arrival in Canada
Travellers entering Canada by air or by land must
- provide basic information using the traveller contact information form, available through
- the ArriveCAN mobile app
- an accessible web-based form
- a paper form
- be screened by a border services officer or quarantine officer to assess symptoms
Use this mobile app at Canadian ports of entry (POEs). Make sure you have the official version by installing it from this page.
When you arrive in Canada by air, land or sea, we’ll assess your health before you leave the POE. If you’re a foreign national, and you have symptoms of COVID-19, you won’t be allowed to enter Canada.
You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada, including
- a place to stay
- how you’ll
- get to your destination
- get your groceries
- access essential services and medical care
This plan is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada. Otherwise, you may not be allowed to enter the country. A border services officer will determine if you can enter the country.
The penalties for not following your quarantine plan once you’re in the country 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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