Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Who can travel to Canada – Citizens, permanent residents, foreign nationals and refugees

Author: EmPo Immigration Corp.  | | Categories: Alberta Nomination , Canada Visa , Express Entry , Family Sponsorship , Immigration Canada , Immigration Consultant , Permanent Residence , PNP Canada , Study Permit Canada , Visit Canada , Work in Canada

Blog by EmPo Immigration Corp.

To protect Canadians from the outbreak of COVID-19, the Prime Minister announced travel restrictions that limit travel to Canada. Until further notice, most foreign nationals cannot travel to Canada, even if they have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA).

These restrictions stop most non-essential (discretionary) travel to Canada.

Who can enter Canada

You can travel to and enter Canada if you’re a

Foreign nationals, including United States (US) citizens, can travel to Canada only if they’re eligible.

Foreign nationals who are eligible to travel to Canada

To be eligible to travel to Canada as a foreign national, you must meet the requirements for either

You must also have a  quarantine plan  that shows how you’ll quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This plan is mandatory.

Immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

To be eligible, you must provide evidence that you’re both

If you’re staying for less than 15 days, you must meet the same requirements as all other foreign nationals.

All other foreign nationals

To be eligible, you must meet 2 requirements:

Travellers coming from outside the US who are exempt from the travel restrictions

  • temporary foreign workers
  • some international students
  • some people who have been  approved to become a permanent resident of Canada , but who are not yet permanent residents
  • immediate family members  with written authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to reunite with a temporary resident of Canada (see  Uniting with immediate family members  for more information)
  • transiting passengers (must remain in the secure transit area of a Canadian airport to complete their connection)
  • members of the Canadian forces, visiting forces, Department of National Defence and their  immediate family members
  • accredited diplomats and their  immediate family members  (includes North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], those under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, other organizations)
  • air and marine crew members
  • French citizens who live in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and have been in only Canada, the US or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon during the 14 days before the day they seek to enter Canada
  • any person who does not pose a significant harm to public health, in the opinion of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and who will provide an essential service while in Canada
  • any person whose presence in Canada is in the national interest, in the opinion of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; or Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • any person who is coming at the invitation of the Minister of Health for the purpose of COVID-19 assistance
  • any person whose purpose is to make medical deliveries

You must also have a  quarantine plan  that shows how you will quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This plan is mandatory.

Who is an immediate family member

An immediate family member is defined as a

How to unite with your immediate family

Public health measures for travellers to Canada

If you’re travelling by air, you need to

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 (available for  iOS  or  Android )
    • an accessible web-based form
    • a paper form
  • be screened by a border services officer or quarantine officer to assess symptoms

Get the ArriveCAN app for  iOS  or  Android .

arrive can

Use this mobile app at Canadian ports of entry (POEs). Make sure you have the official version by installing it from this page.

Quarantine requirement

When you arrive in Canada by air, land or sea, we’ll assess your health before you leave the POE. If you’re a foreign national, and you have symptoms of COVID-19, you won’t be allowed to enter Canada.

You must have a plan to  quarantine for 14 days  when you arrive in Canada, including

  • a place to stay
  • how you’ll
    • get to your destination
    • get your groceries
    • access essential services and medical care

This plan is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada. Otherwise, you may not be allowed to enter the country. A border services officer will determine if you can enter the country.

The penalties for not following your quarantine plan once you’re in the country can include

  • a fine of up to $750,000
  • 6 months of jail time
  • being found  inadmissible , removed from Canada and banned from entering for 1 year

Only people who provide essential services, for example truck drivers who regularly cross the border to maintain the flow of goods, are exempt from the quarantine requirements.

Updates and related links


Essential refers to travel for reasons that are non-discretionary and non-optional. The emergency orders under the Quarantine Act do not allow people to travel to Canada for optional or discretionary reasons, such as for tourism, recreation or entertainment.

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