Crossing the border or transiting through Canada

Upcoming border changes

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals may be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary travel on the following dates if they meet specific criteria:

  • Effective August 9: American citizens and permanent residents of the United States, who currently reside in the United States, who meet specific criteria to qualify as fully vaccinated
  • September 7 (intended start date): All other foreign nationals who qualify as fully vaccinated

The 3-night hotel stopover requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air after 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9.

On this page

Crossing the border

All travellers must meet strict requirements to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 and its variants into Canada.

Prepare for your arrival

Work your way through the checklist to understand all the requirements.

In addition to following the checklists, you must:

Penalties and fines for not following the requirements

Entry screening

You will be assessed, regardless of citizenship, upon arrival to Canada. Entry screening is part of a multi-layered government response strategy.

When you arrive in Canada, a border services officer will ask you:

Officers will look for signs of illness, regardless of how you respond to screening questions. They will refer any traveller they suspect is ill for a further medical assessment by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

After you arrive

You will be given a handout with instructions to follow after you enter Canada.

Handouts are available in different languages

Arriving by air
Arriving by land

Transit to another country by air

You may be permitted to transit through Canada to reach another country.

Prepare for your arrival

You must:

While travelling

You must follow all flight requirements and comply with any guidelines provided by the Airport Authority.

Boarding flights to and within Canada

During your connection at the Canadian airport

You must remain in the secure transit area to complete your connection. This means that you will not be allowed to collect your baggage, or check-in for your next flight anywhere but at your scheduled gate of departure.

You are exempt from the arrival and Day-8 testing requirements and the mandatory hotel stopover, as long as you remain in the secure transit area to complete your connection within 24 hours.

If you need to leave the airport or the secure transit area due to a flight cancellation or delay, you become subject to mandatory quarantine until your flight departs.

Driving to or from Alaska through Canada

You can’t transit through Canada by land for an optional reason, such as a vacation or leisure. When seeking entry to Canada, you will be subject to strict entry conditions and public health requirements. You will need to have proof that your entry into Canada is not optional, such as:

You must provide proof of a valid test result to enter Canada.

Habitual residents of Alaska who drive through Yukon to get to another part of Alaska or return to their place of residence are exempt from pre-entry and arrival testing. You must remain in your vehicle while passing through Canada.

Arrival testing at the border

When entering Canada at a land border crossing, you will be provided with two COVID-19 Specimen Collection Kits: one to use on the day you arrive in Canada and another to use on day 8 of your 14-day quarantine.

The kits contain instructions on how to collect a nasal swab and send the sample for testing.

Driving to Canada: COVID-19 testing for travellers

Going south: You may use any land border crossing

Entry into Canada from Alaska on the northern border is not limited to a specific border crossing.

Going north: Specific land border crossings you must use

When travelling from the lower 48 states en route to Alaska, you must enter Canada at one of the 5 identified land border crossings.

  1. Abbotsford-Huntingdon, British Columbia
  2. Kingsgate, British Columbia
  3. Osoyoos, British Columbia
  4. Coutts, Alberta
  5. North Portal, Saskatchewan

When you arrive at one of the 5 land border crossings, you must prove to a border services officer that you meet the requirements for entry into Canada.

Your vehicle tag

You will be issued a vehicle hang tag that you must attach to your rear view mirror for the duration of your trip to or from Alaska.

The front of the tag will make it clear that you are transiting through Canada, and it will include the date that you must depart.

The back of the tag will remind you to comply with all conditions of entry, and list public health and safety measures you must follow.

Follow a designated route from the land border crossing.

While in transit to your destination

You must follow the advice given to you by the border services officer to:

You are encouraged to use only those services that are open to travellers along the direct route that you are travelling.

Reporting requirement when you leave Canada

Before re-entering the U.S., you must report to the nearest Canada Border Services Agency land border crossing to confirm that you are leaving Canada. If you have unused test kits, you may return them to the border services officer at that time.

Transit through Canadian waters

You currently cannot enter Canadian waters for optional reasons, such as:

You may still navigate through international or Canadian waters while in transit directly from one place outside Canada to another place outside Canada, if the transit is:

Transiting through a canal or lock system that requires mooring or anchoring is not an uninterrupted route.

While in transit to your destination

You may only make essential stops along the way, including to use facilities, refuel or for essential supplies.

If you must stop to re-fuel or re-stock essential items, your first stop must be at a marine site designated for Canada Border Services Agency reporting.

You must:

Anchoring and quarantine requirements

You may stop and anchor out of your planned navigation, particularly if it becomes dangerous to navigate at night or if the crew must rest before safely continuing your trip.

If you anchor to spend the night, you must quarantine on your vessel or boat.

If this is not possible, you may quarantine at a hotel until you are ready to resume your trip.

If your first stop in Canada is at place that is not a Canada Border Services Agency designated marine site (in case of bad weather conditions), you must report immediately to the CBSA Telephone Reporting Centre.

For more information on reporting and border clearance, consult the fact sheet.

Fact sheet: Reporting requirements for private boaters

Mandatory quarantine

Reporting requirement if you land on Canadian soil

The operator of the transiting vessel must report to the Canada Border Services Agency if:

For more information on reporting and border clearance, consult the fact sheet.

Fact sheet: Reporting requirements for private boaters

You may not land for an optional reason, such as:

The Canada Border Services Agency and its law enforcement partners are actively monitoring Canadian waterways. If you fail to report, even if your purpose is non-discretionary (non-optional) such as to refuel, you may face severe penalties.

Failure to report may also affect your immigration admissibility and ability to re-enter Canada in the future.

Penalties and fines for not following the Emergency Order

Service hours for border crossings

Consult the service hours for:

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