Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice
On this page
- Travellers returning to Canada
- Non-medical masks or face coverings while travelling on public transportation
- Travellers within Canada
- Travellers departing Canada
- Canada-U.S border restrictions
Travellers returning to Canada
The Government of Canada has put in place emergency orders under the Quarantine Act. It applies to all travellers arriving in Canada. Its purpose is to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Failure to comply with this order is an offence under the Quarantine Act.
If you have recently arrived in Canada, Government of Canada officials will call you to monitor compliance with your mandatory quarantine. We ask that you please answer calls from 1-888-336-7735.
Upon 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, or
- a paper form
- undergo a screening by a border services officer or quarantine officer to assess symptoms
Travellers: Download the ArriveCAN app (iOS, Android, or web format)
Use this mobile app to speed up your arrival process in Canada and spend less time with border and public health officers. Submit your information easily and securely via the app within 48 hours before arriving in Canada. The app helps you to:
- provide mandatory information that is required for entry into Canada
- avoid lineups and reduce points of contact at the border
- provide updates on your quarantine compliance and the development of any symptoms during the 14 days after arriving in Canada
Make sure you have the official version by downloading it here.
Travellers without symptoms: mandatory quarantine
If you've recently returned to Canada and you have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19, you must quarantine for 14 days (starting from the date you arrived in Canada). This is mandatory. You're still at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.
- You must quarantine in a place where you won't have contact with people who:
- are 65 years or older
- have underlying medical conditions
- have a compromised immune system
- You'll need to confirm you have a suitable place to quarantine, with access to water, food and medication.
- You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while travelling to the place you'll quarantine unless you're in a private vehicle.
If you don't have a suitable place to quarantine, you may be transferred to a designated facility where you must quarantine for 14 days.
In addition to the above, mandatory quarantine means you must:
- go directly to your place of quarantine, without stopping anywhere, and stay there for 14 days
- not leave your place of quarantine unless it's to seek medical assistance
- not have guests even if you're outside and stay 2 metres apart from them
- only use private outdoor spaces if you have one at your place of quarantine
- minimize contact with anyone who didn't travel with you
- monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 within your 14-day quarantine period:
- isolate yourself from others immediately
- contact your local public health authority and follow their instructions
- extend your quarantine to 14 days from the day your symptoms developed
Travellers with symptoms: mandatory isolation
Although Canadians or permanent residents with symptoms of COVID-19 aren't prohibited from entering Canada, you shouldn't travel if you're sick. Existing measures may restrict you from boarding any commercial mode of transport to, and within, Canada.
If you need it, immediate medical attention will be provided to you when you arrive in Canada.
If you're allowed to enter Canada and have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, you must isolate for 14 days without delay (starting from the date you arrive in Canada). This is mandatory.
- You must isolate in a place where you won't have contact with people who:
- are 65 years or older
- have underlying medical conditions
- have compromised immune systems
- You'll need to confirm you have a suitable place to isolate where you have access to water, food and medication.
- You must use private transportation (such as your own vehicle) to get to your place of isolation.
- You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while travelling to your place of isolation.
If upon arrival you don't have private transportation or a suitable place to isolate, you may be transferred to a federally designated facility.
In addition to the above, mandatory isolation means you must:
- go directly to your place of isolation without stopping anywhere and stay there for 14 days
- not leave your place of isolation unless it's to seek medical attention
- not go outside, including a private outdoor space if you have one at your place of isolation (such as a backyard or balcony)
- not have any guests
- avoid contact with anyone who didn't travel with you
- regularly clean any common areas after use
- monitor your health
If your symptoms get worse during your isolation period:
- contact your local public health authority
- follow their instructions
Compliance and enforcement of the Quarantine Act
The Government of Canada is working with federal and provincial partners to promote awareness of the emergency order and how to comply with its requirements.
When entering Canada, you'll be:
- asked if you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing
- required to acknowledge that you must:
- quarantine for 14 days if you don't have symptoms or
- isolate for 14 days if you have symptoms of COVID-19
- asked if you have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine, where:
- you'll have access to water, food and medication
- you won't have contact with people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- given instructions about what you must do under the emergency order
Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to:
- 6 months in prison and/or
- $750,000 in fines
If you choose to break your mandatory quarantine or isolation, resulting in the death or serious bodily harm of another person, you could face:
- a fine of up to $1,000,000 or
- imprisonment of up to 3 years or
The Contraventions Act has been changed to give police (including the RCMP, provincial and local police) more power to enforce the Quarantine Act. They can now issue tickets to people who don't comply with the act. Fines range from $275 to $1,000.
The ArriveCAN mobile application (iOS, Android or web format) may be used by travellers to:
- validate their 14-day quarantine or isolation plan
- support their compliance with the Quarantine Act
Exemptions to travel restrictions
The continued global movement of goods and people and the ongoing delivery of essential services will be important for Canada's response to COVID-19.
Several categories of people are exempted from this order because they provide critical services, if they have no symptoms. These include people who:
- are making necessary medical deliveries required for patient care, such as:
- blood and blood products
- other similar lifesaving human body parts
- work in the trade and transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods and people, including:
- truck drivers
- crew on any plane, train or marine vessel
- cross the border regularly to go to work, including in the health care sector or critical infrastructure workers
- have to cross the border to provide or receive essential services, including emergency responders and personnel providing essential services to Canadians related to the COVID-19 outbreak
Workers in these sectors should:
- practise physical (social) distancing (maintain a distance of 2 metres from others)
- closely self-monitor
Should they exhibit any symptoms, they must isolate and contact their local public health authority.
Employers in these sectors should:
- conduct active daily monitoring of their staff for COVID-19 symptoms (checking for cough, fever or shortness of breath)
- use the risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic
Check if you have been exposed
Have you been on a recent flight, cruise, train, or at a public gathering? Check the listed exposure locations to see if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Non-medical masks or face coverings while travelling on public transportation
All air travellers, with some exceptions, are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering while travelling.
The following people should not wear a mask:
- children under 2 years old
- people who have trouble breathing
- people who are unable to remove the mask without assistance
In all other modes of federally regulated transportation, operators may require travellers to wear a non-medical mask or face covering whenever possible. This may be the case when interacting with others, and when they cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres.
Before you travel, check for updates to see how transportation measures affect your plans and what you need to pack.
Travellers within Canada
As of March 30, 2020, all passengers flying in Canada will be subject to a health check prior to boarding.
You will not be permitted to board if you:
- show any symptoms of COVID-19 or
- have been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19 or
- are subject to a provincial or local public health order
This also applies to travellers arriving from outside Canada.
If you are arriving from outside Canada and are deemed safe to fly, you may board a connecting flight to your destination. However, upon arrival at your final destination, you must go directly to the place where you will isolate, and remain there for 14 days. This is because you are still at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.
You may be subject to additional provincial or territorial public health measures at your final destination.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board any flight until:
- 14 days have passed or
- you present a medical certificate confirming that your symptoms are not related to COVID-19
If you have signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you will not be allowed to use public transportation to travel to the place where you will isolate.
Travellers departing Canada
Avoid all non-essential travel
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada advises that you avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
Many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions, such as movement restrictions and quarantines.
Many airlines are suspending flights. Many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving. Exit bans are becoming more frequent.
New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. Canadian travellers should return to Canada as soon as possible.
Making the choice to stay at home and not travel outside of Canada is the best way to protect yourself, your family and the most vulnerable groups in our communities from COVID-19. Contact your airline or tour operator to determine options for cancelling or postponing your trip.
If you are still considering travel outside of Canada, you should do the following:
- check the pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice before travelling and know the health risks for your destination
- understand the risks of your safety and security abroad
- ensure that you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted
It is important to remember that if you travel abroad, you could be subject to the measures of other countries. Your 1-week trip may become much longer. You may also have reduced access to quality health care.
If you must travel during the pandemic
Take precautions against respiratory illnesses, and seek medical attention if you become sick.
During your trip:
- avoid large crowds or crowded areas
- avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing
- be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice
- wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds
- use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available and always keep some with you when you travel
- practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette
Monitor your health
If you become sick, avoid contact with others except to see a health care professional.
If you feel sick during your flight to Canada or upon arrival, inform the flight attendant or a Canadian border services officer.
If you do not have symptoms but believe you were exposed to someone who was sick with COVID-19, report this information to a Canada border services agent on arrival in Canada. This is required under the Quarantine Act. The Canada border services agent will provide instructions for you to follow.
You will see messaging on arrivals screens at international airports to help guide you if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Arriving travellers will also be provided with information on what symptoms to identify and how to contact local health authorities.
Avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada
The Government of Canada is advising that you avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, until further notice.
Cruise passengers include travellers from around the world who may be arriving from areas with known or unknown spread of COVID-19. The virus can spread quickly on board cruises due to the close contact between passengers. Older people and people with a weakened immune system or underlying medical condition are at a higher risk of developing severe disease.
Recent cruise ship outbreaks of COVID-19 indicate that a large number of individuals onboard can become infected. While the majority of affected passengers may experience mild symptoms, there have been a significant number of cases requiring hospitalization and critical care, and some deaths have been reported.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many countries outside of Canada are implementing policies and restrictions in order to contain the global outbreak. These restrictions may impact a cruise traveller's:
- ability to disembark
- access to health care
While abroad, if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs on your cruise ship:
- you could be subject to quarantine procedures, onboard ship or in a foreign country
- the range of consular services available to those on cruise ships, in particular in situations of quarantine, may be significantly restricted by local authorities
- upon return to Canada, you will be required to remain in mandatory isolation for 14 days at a location determined by the Chief Public Health Officer as per the terms of any applicable emergency orders
Although it is not advised, Canadians who choose to voyage on a cruise ship should also be aware that they:
- may not be offered the opportunity to return to Canada on a government-organized repatriation flight or
- could be responsible for the costs of repatriation travel
See COVID-19 measures, updates, and guidance for marine transportation issued by Transport Canada for information on domestic cruises and passenger vessels.
Safety and support for Canadians abroad
While the Government of Canada advises that you avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, there may be times when travel is essential.
If you must travel despite the advisory or are already outside Canada, get the latest advice and information for your safety and security.
If you do travel outside Canada, you should expect increased health screening measures at points of entry for international destinations, including airports and land borders. Local authorities may impose control measures suddenly, including movement restrictions such as quarantines.
Canada-U.S. border restrictions
As of July 21, 2020, the restriction on all discretionary travel at the Canada-U.S. border that was initially implemented on March 21, 2020, was extended until August 21, 2020. This applies to all foreign nationals with some exceptions for immediate family members (see section below). Potential travellers should consult the Border Information Service for information.
Examples of discretionary/optional travel include:
If you do not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and must cross the border for work or other non-discretionary purposes, you may continue to do so. Some examples of non-discretionary travel purposes are:
- work and study
- critical infrastructure support
- economic services and supply chains
- health, immediate medical care, safety and security
Some persons working in the health care field are considered exempt from the border prohibition. This is the case as long as they do not provide direct care for people over 65 years of age within the first 14 days of their entry into Canada.
Even if you are permitted to cross the border, mandatory quarantine measures may still apply upon your return to Canada.
If you are a foreign national arriving from the U.S. with symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to enter Canada.
Foreign nationals arriving from the U.S. without symptoms of COVID-19, will be allowed to enter Canada only for non-discretionary travel.
Foreign nationals, excluding those arriving from the U.S., will not be allowed into Canada. However, there are exemptions to these restrictions for foreign nationals arriving from other countries.
As of June 8, 2020, 23:59 EDT, foreign nationals who are immediate family members (definition below) of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and who do not have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and who have no reason to believe they have COVID-19, will be exempt from the prohibition on entry to Canada if entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days. While this exemption may apply to certain individuals entering Canada, some provinces and territories may have different requirements that could affect entry.
Foreign nationals who are admitted into Canada pursuant to this exemption must quarantine for 14 days.
An immediate family member refers to a person's:
- spouse or common-law partner
- dependent child, as defined in Section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or a dependent child of the person's spouse or common-law partner
- dependent child, as defined in Section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b)
- parent or step-parent or the parent or step-parent of the person's spouse or common-law partner
- guardian or tutor
For more information, consult the Canada Border Services Agency website.
As of March 31, 2020, anyone arriving in Canada by any mode (air, land or marine) must provide their contact information to a border services officer when seeking entry. This information is collected on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada to support their compliance and enforcement of the 14-day quarantine or isolation requirement outlined in the mandatory isolation order.
Travellers are encouraged to download the mobile ArriveCAN app prior to arrival to reduce wait times and limit contact at the border.
If you are not Canadian or a permanent resident and you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you will not be allowed to enter Canada.
If you show signs of an infectious disease, officials will contact a quarantine officer.
The quarantine officer will perform a more detailed assessment. If necessary, the quarantine officer may:
- order you to be transported to hospital to undergo a medical examination
- inform the local public health authority
- Orders in Council under the Quarantine Act
- COVID-19: Legislation and regulations for protecting Canadians
- Advice for cruise travellers
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- Digital government response to COVID-19
- COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada
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- Travellers arriving in Canada
- Avoid all non-essential travel
- Avoid all travel on cruise ships
- Registration of Canadians Abroad service
- Check if you have been exposed during recent travel
- I have to travel for essential reasons. How can I reduce my risk of infection?
- I am a Canadian travelling abroad and I need support. Who can I contact?
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