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

An official global travel advisory and pandemic travel health notice are in effect: Canadian citizens and permanent residents are advised to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.

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Travellers entering Canada

To limit the spread of COVID-19, travellers entering Canada must follow the rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act.

No one should travel when sick. Commercial airline restrictions may also prevent you from boarding your plane if you're sick. However, Canadians, persons with status under the Indian Act and permanent residents who have COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to return to Canada.

When entering Canada, you'll be:

Travellers entering Canada must:

Government of Canada representatives at Canadian ports of entry will:

The information border officials collect helps the Public Health Agency of Canada with its compliance and enforcement efforts. Providing false or misleading information is an offence under the Quarantine Act and can result in fines and potentially even prison time.

Border restrictions

If you're a foreign national (not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada), you won't be able to enter Canada if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

There are currently border restrictions for discretionary (optional) travel to Canada:

Discretionary travel includes, but is not limited to, tourism, recreation and entertainment.

If a traveller's entry is permitted, they'll be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

Exemptions to border restrictions

There are no exemptions to border restrictions for compassionate reasons, such as visiting a critically ill loved one or attending a funeral.

You'll only be considered for an exemption to border restrictions at Canada's ports of entry if:

You don't require an interpretive letter from the Public Health Agency of Canada in order to be exempted from an emergency order.

If you've requested an interpretative letter for a future travel exemption, this letter would be taken into account. However, it wouldn't be considered a final decision for entry or for quarantine requirements.

Foreign nationals arriving from the U.S. may be able to enter Canada for non-discretionary (non-optional) travel purposes.

Foreign nationals arriving from countries other than the U.S. may also be allowed to enter Canada. However, their travel must be non-discretionary (non-optional) and fall under exemptions set out in the emergency order. For example:

Being exempt from border restrictions does not mean you're exempt from other requirements, including:

In some cases, your reason for travelling may be considered essential by a province, territory or under Canada's National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure. However, you'll only be given an exemption by the Government of Canada if your reason for travel is considered essential under the Quarantine Act's emergency orders.

Foreign nationals who meet an exemption to the border restrictions must still present the appropriate travel documents at the border. This includes citizenship documents or work permits. Government representatives will make the final decision on your entry to Canada at the port of entry.

For more information on the restrictions to enter Canada and the exemptions, consult the Canada Border Services Agency.

ArriveCAN app

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 using the app within 48 hours before arriving in Canada. The app helps you to:

Download the ArriveCAN app (iOS, Android or web format). Make sure you have the official version by downloading it here.

Mandatory quarantine or mandatory isolation

Before considering travelling, all travellers arriving in Canada must plan for their mandatory 14-day quarantine period, which starts on the date they arrive. Government of Canada representatives will conduct health screenings at the time of entry to Canada and let you know if you need to quarantine or isolate.

If you don't have COVID-19 symptoms, you must quarantine for 14 days while you're still at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you must isolate for 14 days.

All travellers entering Canada, whether in mandatory quarantine or isolation, must:

If it's determined that you don't have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine, you may be transferred to a designated quarantine facility for 14 days.

After you arrive in Canada, a representative of the Government of Canada will call you to monitor compliance with your mandatory quarantine or isolation. We ask that you please answer calls from 1-888-336-7735.

Travellers who need medical testing or treatment while in quarantine or isolation

If you need to seek testing or medical treatment, you must:

We also recommended that you contact your local public health authority and follow any additional instructions they provide.

Travellers with symptoms (mandatory isolation)

No one should travel when sick. Commercial airline restrictions may also prevent you from boarding your plane if you're sick. However, Canadians, persons with status under the Indian Act and permanent residents who have COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to return to Canada.

If you arrive in Canada with symptoms of COVID-19, let a border official know. A Government of Canada representative will then be contacted to assess your situation. If you need it, they'll help you get medical care.

In addition to the steps described above for mandatory quarantine or isolation, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you must also:

If your symptoms get worse during your isolation period, contact your local public health authority and follow their instructions.

Isolation instructions for travellers with COVID-19 symptoms returning to Canada

Travellers without symptoms (mandatory quarantine)

If you're in mandatory quarantine and have no COVID-19 symptoms, you may use a private outdoor space if your place of quarantine has one.

Avoid contact with those who:

You may only quarantine with somebody from the above group if:

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms within your 14-day quarantine period:

Quarantine instructions for travellers without symptoms of COVID-19 returning to Canada

Exemptions to mandatory quarantine

There are no exemptions from mandatory quarantine for:

You may be exempt from the requirement of mandatory quarantine if you perform an essential job or function and don't have symptoms of COVID-19.

A government representative at the border will determine if your reason for travelling to Canada can be considered for exemption under the emergency orders.

If you're exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement, you must still:

Isolate yourself from others right away if you develop COVID-19 symptoms and contact your local public health authority for further instruction.

Employers of exempt workers should conduct active daily monitoring of their staff for COVID-19 symptoms, checking for cough, fever or shortness of breath. Use the risk assessment tool for workplaces and businesses for more guidance.

Compliance and enforcement

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

If you choose to break your mandatory quarantine or isolation, resulting in the death or serious bodily harm to another person, you could face:

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 or the emergency orders. Fines range from $275 to $1,000.

Travellers within Canada

As of March 30, 2020, all airline passengers in Canada will be subject to a health check prior to boarding. You won't be able to board if you:

If you weren't allowed on a flight because you had COVID-19 symptoms, you can't board any other flight until:

Travellers within Canada may be subject to additional provincial, territorial and local public health measures at your final destination. In addition, they may be exempted from provincial or territorial border restrictions within Canada if their reason for travelling within Canada is to provide support to a business that's considered essential:

Travellers departing Canada

Canadian citizens and permanent residents are advised to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The best way to protect yourself, your family and those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in our communities is to choose to stay in Canada. Contact your airline or tour operator to determine options for cancelling or postponing your trip.

Many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions, such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Many airlines have reduced or suspended flights and many airports have closed.

These restrictions are changing quickly and may be imposed by countries with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted. Should you choose to take non-essential travel outside Canada, you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected.

It's important to remember that if you choose to travel abroad:

If you're still considering travel outside of Canada, you should:

Protect yourself and others

If you must travel or are already outside Canada, get the latest advice and information for your safety and security.

During your trip:

If you feel sick during your flight or upon arrival:

When travelling outside Canada, 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.

Leaving Canada while in mandatory quarantine or isolation

No one should travel when sick. Commercial airline restrictions may also prevent you from boarding your plane if you're sick.

If you arrive in Canada and have started your 14-day mandatory quarantine or isolation period but then have to leave the country before this period ends, you must:

Avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada

Canada is advising Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada 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 conditions are at a higher risk of developing severe disease.

Cruise ship outbreaks of COVID-19 indicate that a large number of individuals onboard can become infected.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many countries outside of Canada have put policies and restrictions in place to contain the global outbreak. These restrictions may impact a cruise traveller's:

If an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs on your cruise ship while you are outside of Canada:

If you choose to voyage on a cruise ship, you:

For information on domestic cruises and passenger vessels, refer to the following:

Non-medical masks or face coverings while travelling

All air travellers, with some exceptions, are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering while travelling.

You may also need to wear a non-medical mask or face covering on other modes of transportation that are federally regulated. Before you travel, check to see how transportation measures affect your plans and what you need to pack.

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