Travel restrictions in Canada

Flying to and within Canada

COVID-19 testing required for people flying into Canada

Starting January 7, 2021, air travellers 5 years of age or older are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada.

Mandatory 14-day quarantine or isolation

Everyone entering Canada must follow mandatory isolation or quarantine requirements. Not respecting the mandatory requirements is a serious offence and you could face consequences and penalties.

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Flight requirements

Pre-board COVID-19 test for air travellers coming to Canada

All air travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 to the airline before boarding international flights to Canada. You don’t require a test to fly within Canada.

Airlines will refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

You must take the test within 72 hours of your scheduled departure time.

You must retain evidence of your test results for the 14-day period that begins on the day you enter Canada.

Types of accepted molecular tests

These test methods are considered acceptable molecular tests:

  • PCR - Polymerase chain reaction
  • RT-PCR – reverse transcription real time PCR
  • Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
  • Nucleic acid test (NAT) or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs)
  • Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
  • Isothermal amplification
  • Droplet digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
  • RNA (Ribonucleic acid)
  • Ct (cycle threshold)
  • CRISPR
  • Sequencing
  • Next generational sequencing (NGS) or whole genome sequencing (WGS)
  • Oxford Nanopore sequencing (LamPORE)
  • Detection of the N gene
  • Detection of Orf1a/b
  • Detection of the S gene
  • Detection of the E gene
  • Detection of the RdRp gene

These tests use methods such as a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, nose swab, or saliva sample. At this time, proof of having a vaccine will not replace a negative test result.

Learn more about COVID-19 diagnostic tests

The government will notify travellers should it become mandatory to obtain COVID tests from specific accredited laboratories or facilities.

What you need to show at the airport

You must present a negative laboratory test (paper or electronic proof of result) to the airline or private operator before coming to Canada. The negative laboratory test result must include:

  • Traveller name and date of birth
  • Name and civic address of the laboratory/clinic/facility that administered the test
  • The date on which the test was conducted
  • The method of test conducted (PCR or LAMP)
  • The test result

Travellers must ensure that the COVID-19 test includes all the above-noted elements.

At this time, we encourage travellers to make best efforts to have their test performed at a reputable laboratory or testing facility (i.e., one recognized by the local government or accredited by a third party, such as a professional organization or international standards organization).

Testing facilities and expenses

Select the country you’re coming from. Not all countries have testing facilities information available yet.

Canadian government offices abroad do not provide medical attention (including administering COVID-19 testing) or cover medical expenses for Canadian citizens abroad. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Who is exempt from a pre-board COVID-19 test

There are only a limited number of exceptions where an individual is not required to show proof of a negative test. Travellers arriving in Canada without a negative test may be subject to additional measures from federal Quarantine Officers.

  • Children - children who are four years of age or younger (children who are five on the day of their travel must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test)
  • Transit through Canada - transiting passengers who are only passing through Canada to reach another country
  • Temporary exemptions for certain countries:
    • Haiti until January 21, 2021
  • Crew members - a person who:
    • is a crew member as defined in subsection 101.01(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations or a person who enters Canada only to become such a crew member
    • is a member of a crew as defined in subsection 3(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations who is re-entering Canada after having left to participate in mandatory training in relation to the operation of a conveyance, and who is required by their employer to return to work as a member of a crew on a conveyance within the 14-day period that begins on the day on which they return to Canada
  • Essential services - a person or any person in a class of persons who, as determined by the Chief Public Health Officer, will provide an essential service, if the person complies with any conditions imposed on them by the Chief Public Health Officer to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19. (Please note: this does not include groups identified under the mandatory quarantine exemption)
  • Emergency services - a person who:
    • is permitted to work in Canada as a provider of emergency services under paragraph 186(t) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and who enters Canada for the purpose of providing those services
    • is an emergency service provider, including a firefighter, peace officer, or paramedic, who returns to Canada after providing emergency services in a foreign country and who is required to provide their services within the 14-day period that begins on the day on which they return to Canada
  • Escorting individuals for legal reasons - an official of the Government of Canada or a foreign government, including a border services officer, immigration enforcement officer, law enforcement officer, or correctional officer, who is escorting individuals travelling to Canada or from Canada pursuant to a legal process such as the deportation, extradition or international transfer of an offender
  • National security - an official of the Government of Canada, the government of a province or a foreign government, including a border services officer, immigration enforcement officer, law enforcement officer or correctional officer, who:
    • enters Canada for the purposes of border, immigration or law enforcement, or national security activities, that support active investigations, ensure the continuity of enforcement operations or activities, or enable the transfer of information or evidence pursuant to or in support of a legal process, and
    • is required to provide their services within the 14-day period that begins on the day on which they enter Canada
  • National interest - a person or any person in a class of persons whose presence in Canada, as determined by the Minister of Health, is in the national interest, if the person complies with any conditions imposed on them by that Minister to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19
  • Special exemptions - individuals or a group of individuals that have been granted an extraordinary exemption from Transport Canada

Boarding your flight

All passengers flying within Canada will be subject to a health check prior to boarding. This also applies to travellers arriving from outside Canada.

Travellers won’t be allowed to board if they:

In addition, foreign nationals won’t be allowed to board a flight to Canada if:

All air travellers must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while travelling, except:

Requirements for public transportation to and from your flight

Operators of public transportation services may require travellers to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

Before you travel, check for updates to see how transportation measures affect your plans and what you need to pack.

Transportation measures for travellers

Travellers with signs or symptoms

If you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 you will be required to isolate. You will not be allowed to use public transportation to travel to the place where you must isolate.

You will not be allowed to board any public flight until:

Arriving in Canada

Foreign nationals should determine whether or not they can come to Canada, and what documents they required for entry into Canada.

Find out if you can travel to Canada

You will be allowed to go directly to your final destination, unless there are provincial or territorial restrictions which require you to isolate at a designated location first. You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering and practice physical distancing at all times.

Before boarding a flight to Canada

If you’ve determined you can travel to Canada at this time, you must use ArriveCAN to submit your information before you board your flight.

Transiting passengers who are only passing through Canada to reach another country don’t need to use ArriveCAN.

Use ArriveCAN before boarding your flight

Flying within Canada

Check for any restrictions that apply at your final destination.

Transiting and connecting flights

If you have a layover in Canada, see connecting flights within Canada.

If you are transiting to another country, see transit to another country by air.

Departing Canada

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada advises that you avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada and all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice.

Foreign nationals leaving Canada should consult with the country of their destination.

Travelling outside of Canada

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