COVID-19 testing for travellers

On this page

  • Getting tested to enter Canada
  • Arrival testing
  • Complete your test kit
  • Test results
  • Getting tested to enter Canada

    Who can come to Canada

    Foreign nationals who don't qualify as fully vaccinated will only be allowed to enter in specific circumstances:

    Find out if you can enter Canada

    Pre-entry test result requirements

    All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result to enter Canada or proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days.

    Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.

    Accepted types of molecular tests

    These tests are considered acceptable molecular tests:

    • PCR - Polymerase chain reaction
    • Nucleic acid test (NAT) or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs)
    • Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)

    These tests use methods such as a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, nose swab, or saliva sample.

    Other acceptable types of tests
    • RT-PCR – reverse transcription real time PCR
    • Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
    • Isothermal amplification
    • Droplet digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
    • Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
    • 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
    If you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered

    If you’ve already had COVID-19 you may continue to test positive after you’ve recovered and are no longer infectious.

    If you are now symptom-free, you can provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test when crossing the border, instead of a negative one.

    • The test must have been conducted at least 14 and no more than 180 days before:
      • the initial scheduled departure time of your aircraft
      • your scheduled entry into Canada by water or land
    • The proof of the positive result must be from an accepted type of molecular test

    When and where to get a negative pre-entry test result

    If you're flying to Canada, you must take a molecular test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your flight to Canada.

    Flying from India or Morocco

    Direct flights

    India

    If you’re taking a direct flight from India to Canada, you’ll need proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport. The test must be taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of your direct flight to Canada.

    Morocco

    Direct flights from Morocco are suspended until 23:59 EDT on October 28, 2021.

    Indirect flights from India or Morocco

    If you’re taking an indirect flight from India or Morocco to Canada, you’ll still need proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test, within 72 hours of your final flight to Canada. The test must be taken in the country from which your flight to Canada will depart.

    Airlines will refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a valid negative molecular test result or proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days that includes:

    If you're arriving by car, bus, boat, ferry or train from the United States, you must take a molecular test in the United States within 72 hours of your planned entry into Canada.

    For short trips that are less than 72 hours, Canadian citizens, people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents and protected persons travelling to the United States are allowed to do their pre-entry molecular test before they leave Canada.

    Providing proof of your result

    When you arrive at the border, you must present an accepted negative molecular test result (paper or electronic proof) or proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days that includes:

    You must show proof of your test results even if you:

    Keep proof of your test results with you for the 14-day period that begins on the day you enter Canada.

    Travellers should 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).

    All travellers must:

    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 services (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.

    If you don't provide proof of a valid COVID-19 test
    Fraudulent test results

    All travellers arriving in Canada are required by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions. Providing false information to a Government of Canada official upon entry to Canada is a serious offence and may result in penalties and/or criminal charges. Foreign nationals who provide false information could also be denied entry to the country and/or be barred from returning to Canada.

    Making a false declaration when boarding a flight to Canada, including the presentation of a fraudulent test result, carries the potential for up to $5,000 in administrative monetary penalties under the Aeronautics Act, in addition to a fine of $5,000 plus additional surcharges under the Quarantine Act, if the same false document is also presented upon entry into Canada.

    Violating any instructions provided when you enter Canada or putting others at risk of a serious communicable disease are offences under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to three years in prison and/or up to $1 million in fines.

    Who doesn’t need a pre-entry test

    Most travellers, including those who qualify as fully vaccinated, still have to provide pre-entry test results.

    Some types of travel into Canada may be exempt from pre-entry testing.

    Find out if your travel is exempt from the pre-entry test requirement

    Arrival testing for vaccinated travellers

    If you qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, you may be exempt from arrival testing. However, you may be selected for mandatory randomized arrival testing.

    Mandatory randomized arrival testing for fully vaccinated travellers

    Arrival testing for unvaccinated travellers

    Create an account for arrival testing

    Depending on where you enter, there are different testing providers.

    You can create an account in advance to save time at the border.

    Use the same email address you used for your ArriveCAN account.

    Airport test providers

    You may be required to get tested before exiting the airport. To speed you through testing at the airport, we encourage you to register in advance with the testing provider:

    Land border test providers

    Some border crossings offer on-site testing stations to help you with your self-swab kit. At these locations, you’ll be guided through how to take a nasal swab yourself and how to package it for testing.

    If your border crossing has a testing station, to save time, create an account in advance with the testing provider for your border crossing.

    Land border crossings offering testing stations
    Testing stations
    Province/Territory Testing provider Border crossings swab stations
    Yukon Territory (YT) LifeLabs
    • n/a
    British Columbia (BC) LifeLabs
    • Abbotsford-Huntingdon, BC
    • Douglas, BC
    • Pacific Highway, BC
    Alberta (AB) SwitchHealth
    • Coutts, AB
    Saskatchewan (SK) LifeLabs
    • n/a
    Manitoba (MB) Dynacare
    • Emerson, MB
    Ontario (ON) SwitchHealth
    • Ambassador Bridge, ON
    • Fort Erie (Peace Bridge), ON
    • Lansdowne (Thousand Islands Bridge), ON
    • Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, ON
    • Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, ON
    • Sarnia (Blue Water Bridge), ON
    • Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, ON
    Quebec (QC) Dynacare
    • St-Armand/Philipsburg, QC
    • St. Bernard de Lacolle (Highway 15), QC
    • Stanstead, QC
    New Brunswick (NB) SwitchHealth
    • St Stephen 3rd Bridge, NB

    Taking your arrival test

    When you enter Canada, you'll be instructed to either take an arrival test at the border, or receive a home test kit.

    You will also get a kit to use on Day-8 of your mandatory quarantine (except for travellers who are only passing through on their way to or from Alaska).

    There is no fee for the arrival test.

    Flying: You may be required to take a COVID-19 test before exiting the airport unless directed to use a home test kit.

    Driving: If your border crossing doesn't offer on-site testing, or you decide not to use the on-site testing station, you’ll need to follow the instructions in your home test kit to complete the test at your destination.

    Complete your home test kit

    Who doesn’t need an arrival test

    Fully vaccinated travellers only need to do an arrival test if they are selected for randomized arrival testing.

    Randomized arrival testing for fully vaccinated travellers

    Travellers who provide a positive COVID-19 test result taken within 14 to 180 days of arrival into Canada may be exempt from arrival testing.

    Find out if your travel is exempt from the arrival test requirement

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete the testing requirements

    All travellers will receive calls from a live agent or automated system and you may also be visited at your place of quarantine by a Screening Officer to verify your compliance.

    You are under a legal obligation to take the arrival and Day-8 tests. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Quarantine Act and emergency orders made under this Act is an offence and could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment. If you do not take the tests, you may also be transferred to a designated quarantine facility.

    Complete your test kit

    Your kit contains all of the instructions.

    Do not open your swab or tube until you are instructed to do so. This can cause contamination, or result in a delay in receiving your test result.

    Your test kit service provider is based on where you entered the country. For additional instructions, or contact information for your service provider, select the province you entered Canada or select if you are driving between Alaska and the continental United States:

    Travellers driving between Alaska and the continental United States

    If you’re driving between Alaska and the continental United States and you come through a border crossing without a testing station, you must:

    Follow the instructions provided to find a drop-off location along your route.

    British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon

    LifeLabs manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers.

    If you haven't already done so, you must create an account to perform your home test and access your results. You must use the same email address you used for ArriveCAN.

    If you usually use Internet Explorer as your web browser, use a different browser, or contact LifeLabs.

    You must have internet access to:

    Wait to connect to a LifeLabs technician before you open the test tube.

    If you don’t have internet access

    Contact LifeLabs and a customer service representative will be able to advise you.

    Collection can be done over the phone, if needed.

    In British Columbia, staff are available at select locations to perform the test for you.

    You may bring your test kit and:

    Contact LifeLabs to receive your test results.

    Tests must be completed with LifeLabs

    Your test must be completed using the LifeLabs kit provided. If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, you must stay in quarantine until you have received a negative test result, AND your 14-day quarantine period is complete.

    If you don’t have a test kit

    Contact LifeLabs if you didn’t receive a kit, or you lost or damaged your kit.

    Invalid or indeterminate test results

    If you receive an indeterminate result on your test, you must complete another test. LifeLabs should automatically courier another test kit to you.

    Contact LifeLabs right away to ensure a kit has been sent.

    If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, you must stay in quarantine until you receive a negative result from your repeat test and you have completed your mandatory 14 day quarantine.

    If you don’t receive the results

    Contact LifeLabs directly if you haven't received your test result.

    If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, you can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result from your test and you have completed your full 14-day quarantine.

    Drop off location information for travellers in Saskatchewan

    In Saskatchewan, you can arrange to drop off your sample the same day or within the next day at any one of the participating Shoppers Drug Mart locations. Before your visit to Shoppers Drug Mart, please ensure you call to confirm the store hours. If you arrive at a participating Shoppers Drug Mart location with a pre-packaged sample to drop off, please go directly to the pharmacy department and speak to a team member there to ensure your sample is shipped for testing. Visit LifeLabs for more information.

    OR

    You can book an appointment for a curbside pickup at any one of the participating patient service centres by calling the LifeLabs Saskatchewan customer support centre at 1-888-333-0222. Upon arrival, call the patient service centre and a Lifelabs team member will come outside to collect your pre-packaged sample.

    No FedEx pick-up in your area?

    If you didn’t qualify for a FedEx pick-up, you can contact LifeLabs to make alternative courier arrangements or arrange to drop off your sample at a participating location.

    LifeLabs: Pick-up or drop off of collection

    Contact LifeLabs

    Phone

    Email

    Website

    Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia

    Switch Health manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers.

    If you haven't already done so, you must create an account to perform your home test and access your results. Use the same email address you used for ArriveCAN.

    If you usually use Internet Explorer as your web browser, use a different browser, or contact Switch Health.

    You must have internet access to:

    Wait to connect to a Switch Health nurse before you open the test tube.

    Watch a video on how to use your home test kit

    Log in or create a Switch Health account to use your home test kit

    If you don’t have internet access

    Contact Switch Health and a customer service representative will be able to create an account for you and add you to a call-back time slot.

    During your call-back, a nurse will guide you through the home test process over the phone. This includes:

    • taking a nasal swab
    • packaging the sample
    • arranging a courier to pick up the sample for delivery to the laboratory

    Contact Switch Health to receive your test results.

    You must stay in your place of quarantine until you receive a negative test result from the test and you have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    Tests must be completed with Switch Health

    Your test must be completed using the Switch Health kit provided. If you didn’t get the vaccinated traveller exemption, you must stay in quarantine until you have received a negative test result, AND your 14-day quarantine period is complete.

    If you don’t have a test kit

    Contact Switch Health if you didn’t receive a kit, or you lost or damaged your kit.

    Invalid or indeterminate test results on your test

    If you receive an indeterminate result on your test, you must complete another test. Switch Health should automatically courier another test kit to you.

    Contact Switch Health right away to ensure a kit has been sent.

    You must stay in quarantine until you receive a negative result from your repeat test and you have completed your mandatory 14 day quarantine.

    If you don’t receive the results from your test

    Contact Switch Health directly if you haven't received your test result.

    You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result from your test and you have completed your full 14-day quarantine.

    Contact Switch Health

    Phone

    Website

    If you haven’t received your test results, phone or email results@switchhealth.ca

    Manitoba, Quebec

    Dynacare manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers in Manitoba and Quebec with the exception of those arriving at the Montreal airport.

    Contact Dynacare

    Phone

    Website

    If you arrived at the Montreal airport

    Contact Biron at 1-866-382-0287

    Who doesn’t need a Day-8 test

    Fully vaccinated travellers arriving to Canada, who meet all the criteria, no longer need to take a Day-8 test.

    Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated

    Alaska: If you are driving between Alaska and continental United States, you won't receive a Day-8 test kit, as you don't need to submit one.

    Find out if your travel is exempt from Day-8 test requirements

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete your Day-8 test

    All travellers will receive calls from a live agent or automated system and you may also be visited at your place of quarantine by a screening officer to verify your compliance.

    You are under a legal obligation to take the arrival and Day-8 tests. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Quarantine Act and emergency orders made under this Act is an offence and could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment. If you do not take the tests, you may also be transferred to a designated quarantine facility.

    Test results

    Arrival test results

    Travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption

    If you qualified for the fully vaccinated exemption, you’re not required to quarantine while you wait for your results.

    Negative results on your arrival test
    • follow local public health measures
    • maintain a list of all close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada
    • keep copies of your proof of vaccination for 14 days
    Positive results on your arrival test
    • isolate yourself from others right away
    • you will be contacted by your local public health authority
    • follow their instructions
    • keep copies of your proof of vaccination for 14 days
    Getting your arrival test results at your place of quarantine
    Negative results for your arrival test

    You must remain in your place of quarantine and complete your Day-8 test. You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result on your Day-8 test AND have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    A negative test result usually means you don’t have COVID-19, but it is possible to receive a negative test result when you have already been infected with COVID-19, for example, prior to the development of symptoms.

    You are still required to complete a test on Day-8 of your quarantine.

    Positive results on your arrival test

    You must isolate yourself from others immediately for a period of 10 days beginning on the day you tested positive for COVID-19, which is the day you took the test. A government representative will call you to provide additional details and instructions.

    Invalid or indeterminate results from your arrival test

    You must take another test. Collect another specimen using your Day-8 kit with the instructions provided. Contact your service provider, and ask them to send you a replacement kit, to use on Day-8 of your quarantine.

    Day-8 test results

    You can only leave your place of quarantine once your mandatory 14-day quarantine is completed. You may leave quarantine at the end of your mandatory 14-day quarantine, even if you have not received your Day-8 test result.

    Negative results for your test

    You can only leave your place of quarantine if you receive a negative result from your Day-8 test AND you have completed your mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    Positive results on your test

    You must isolate yourself from others immediately for a period of 10 days that begins from the time you took the test with positive results (i.e. date/time of specimen collection). A government representative will call you to provide you with additional instructions.

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