Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice

An official global travel advisory and pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice are in effect: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.

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Travellers returning to Canada

The Government of Canada has put in place an emergency order 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 1-855-906-5585 or 613-221-3100.

Upon arrival in Canada

Travellers entering Canada by air or by land must:

Get the ArriveCAN app (iOS or Android)
Use this mobile app at Canadian ports of entry. Ensure you have the official version by installing it here.

Please be aware that on Monday July 6, ArriveCAN will not be available from 5 to 6 a.m EST for planned maintenance.

Travellers with symptoms: mandatory isolation

If you are Canadian or a permanent resident, and you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you may still enter Canada by land, rail or sea. You may not enter Canada by air, to protect the health of all travellers.

If you need it, we will provide you with immediate medical attention when you arrive in Canada.

If you have symptoms, you must isolate for 14 days. This is mandatory.

If you do not have private transportation or an adequate place to isolate, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a facility where you must isolate for 14 days.

In addition to the above, mandatory isolation means you must:

  • go directly to your place of isolation without stopping anywhere
  • stay inside and do not leave for 14 days unless it is to seek medical attention
    • do not go to school, work or any other public areas
  • stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others, if possible
  • do not allow visitors
  • limit contact with others in the place of isolation, including children
  • contact your health care provider or public health authority immediately if your symptoms get worse, and follow their instructions
Airport handout with red text describing what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms when entering Canada.

Travellers without symptoms: mandatory quarantine

If you have recently returned to Canada and you have no symptoms, you must quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days. This is mandatory. You are at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.

If you do not have an adequate place to quarantine (self-isolate), the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a facility where you must remain for 14 days.

In addition to the above, mandatory quarantine (self-isolate) means you must:

  • go directly to your place of quarantine, without stopping anywhere, and stay there for 14 days
    • do not go to school, work or other public areas and community settings
  • monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19
  • arrange to have someone pick up essentials like groceries or medication for you
  • do not have visitors
  • stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air
  • keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others
Airport handout with green text describing what to do if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms when entering Canada.

If you develop symptoms within 14 days:

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.

Compliance and enforcement of the Quarantine Act

The Government of Canada is working with federal and provincial partners to promote and verify compliance of the emergency order with active communication and spot checks.

If you are permitted to enter Canada, you will be:

Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to:

Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this act or the regulations could be liable for:

The Contraventions Act has been changed to give police (including RCMP, provincial and local police) more power to enforce the Quarantine Act. They can now issue tickets to people who do not comply with the act. Fines range from $275 to $1000.

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:

Workers in these sectors should:

Should they exhibit any symptoms, they must isolate and contact their local public health authority.

Employers in these sectors should:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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

The Government of Canada is advising that you avoid all travel on cruise ships 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:

While abroad, if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs on your cruise ship:

Although it is not advised, Canadians who choose to voyage on a cruise ship should also be aware that they:

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 June 19, 2020, the restriction on all discretionary travel at the Canada-U.S. border that was initially implemented on March 21, 2020, was extended for an additional 30 days until July 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:

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.

Foreign nationals

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:

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 Order in Council 2020-0260.

Travellers are encouraged to download the mobile ArriveCAN app prior to arrival to reduce wait times and limit contact at the border.

Non-residents

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:

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