Government of Canada expands restrictions to international travel by land and air

17 February 2021

Canada has some of the strictest travel and border measures in the world, including a mandatory 14- day quarantine for everyone returning to the country. With new COVID-19 variant detections increasing in the country, the Government of Canada is announcing today further testing and quarantine requirements for international travelers arriving at Canada’s air and land ports of entry. These new measures will help prevent variants of concern from reaccelerating the pandemic and making it more difficult to contain.

For travelers arriving to Canada by land, as of February 15, 2021, all travelers, with some exceptions, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival. In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travelers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

All travelers arriving to Canada by air, as of February 22, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. With limited exceptions, air travelers will also be required to reserve, prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travelers will be able to book their government-authorized stay starting February 18, 2021.

These new measures are in addition to existing mandatory pre-boarding and health requirements for air travelers.

Finally, at the same time on February 22, 2021, all travelers, whether arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.

The Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel, including vacation plans, outside Canada. Foreign nationals should likewise postpone or cancel travel plans to Canada. Now is not the time to travel.


“I want to thank Canadians who continue to make sacrifices to protect each other from COVID-19. We continue to detect variants of concerns, and this is why we are putting these additional measures in place. Now is not the time to travel, so please cancel any plans you might have.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu Minister of Health

“With these additional COVID testing requirements and safety measures at the land border, we are taking extra steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. As we do for air travel, we are now also requiring travelers by land to provide information using ArriveCAN to facilitate processing and limit points of contact between border services officers and travelers. We’ll always prioritize the health and safety of Canadians as we make decisions.”

The Honourable Bill Blair

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“We’re moving forward with these critical measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the introduction of new variants of the virus into Canada. At the same time, we recognize the importance of the continued movement of goods and the ongoing delivery of essential services in Canada. Our government’s response to this pandemic includes necessary measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians while keeping our economy going.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra Minister of Transport

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Quick Facts

  • Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, and permanent residents arriving by land to Canada, who do not present a valid COVID-19 molecular test, will be allowed entry, but may be subject to a fine of up to $3,000 per day or face criminal prosecution. Travelers may also be required to go to a designated quarantine facility if they are symptomatic on arrival at the border, or do not have a suitable quarantine plan.
  • Foreign nationals who have obtained an exemption to enter Canada will be refused entry, with limited exceptions, if they do not have a valid COVID-19 molecular test result.
  • Failure to provide accurate information is an offense under the Quarantine Act. In addition, violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travelers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is an offense under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
  • Exemptions continue to be in place to ensure that economic supply chains continue between Canada and the U.S. The Government of Canada is closely engaging the Biden Administration on our respective border measures and we continue to keep the lines of communication open.

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