Canada open to fully vaccinated travelers effective July 5

| Photo by Phoebe via Flickr/Creative Commons

NEW YORK – Fully vaccinated travelers will be exempt from the requirement to quarantine upon arrival to Canada effective July 5, 2021, the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced. This represents the first phase of a gradual plan to lift border restrictions currently applicable to international travelers.

The IRCC’s announcement is welcome news to both Canadian and non-Canadian travelers, especially for those reluctant to travel due to the mandatory quarantine requirement at a government-approved hotel for the first three nights after arrival in Canada by air. However, non-essential travel to Canada remains prohibited; non-Canadian citizens and permanent resident travelers must continue to prove they have an essential purpose of travel to be allowed entry following Canada’s Quarantine Act.

In seeking exemption from the quarantining requirement, travelers must prove that they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before traveling to Canada. They will still be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of arrival and take a further COVID-19 test. Finally, travelers must still present a quarantine plan if border officials ultimately determine that they do not meet the eligibility requirements to be exempted from quarantining.

In addition, the IRCC also announced that effective immediately, foreign nationals who have a valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document can now book their travel to Canada. Foreign nationals with expired COPRs should not travel until they have received new instructions to obtain a valid COPR.

Previously, foreign nationals approved for permanent residence and issued a COPR after March 18, 2020, were asked to remain in their home country until it became safe for them to settle into their new lives as Canadian permanent residents permanently.

As travel restrictions continue to ease over the next few months, it is expected that further announcements will be made to facilitate international travel and to re-open immigration activities that have been suspended this past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include traveling to Canada as a business visitor and immigration through the Federal Skilled Worker Class, suspended since December 2020. In addition, the full re-opening of the International Experience Class, Canada’s youth exchange program, has been operating at a limited capacity for countries such as Australia and Ireland. It remains closed to citizens of many other countries.

With the latest announcement on the easing of travel restrictions, a gradual return to IRCC’s standard business operations is likely to happen; however, it remains important for everyone to travel to Canada to prepare all the necessary documentation in anticipation of the borders reopening, including obtaining proof of full vaccination.

For additional travel advisories to Canada, visit the IRCC Website at this link.

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