COVID-19 testing if not qualified as fully vaccinated

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

    Travellers who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated must provide a valid pre-entry test to enter Canada. Pre-entry tests are no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada by land, air or water. Everyone must still use ArriveCAN within 72 hours before your arrival 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

    Providing proof of a valid pre-entry test

    At this time, travellers who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated must provide proof of one of the following accepted types of test results:

    1. Proof of a professionally administered or observed negative antigen test taken outside of Canada no more than 1 day before your scheduled flight or entry to Canada by land or water
      • the one day window does not depend on the time of day the test was taken or the time of your flight or entry
      • for example, if your flight is scheduled to leave or you enter by land any time on Friday, you could provide proof of a negative result from an antigen test taken any time on Thursday, or on Friday
      • it must be administered or observed by a pharmacy, laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service
      • the test must be authorized for sale or distribution in Canada or in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained
      • the test must be performed outside of Canada
    2. Proof of a valid negative molecular test taken outside of Canada within 72 hours of your scheduled flight’s departure time to Canada or your entry to Canada by land or water
      • for example, if your flight is scheduled to leave at 11:00 am on Friday, your test must have been taken any time after 10:59 am on Tuesday
    3. Previous positive molecular test result: you no longer have symptoms and provide proof of a positive molecular test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada. Counting starts the day after your test.
      • for example, if your positive COVID-19 molecular test was taken on January 1, then January 11 would be the earliest scheduled departure date of your flight to Canada, or the first day you could use it to enter Canada by land or water
      • if your positive proof is accepted you won’t have to take arrival or Day-8 tests
      • this test can be taken in or outside of Canada
      • a positive antigen test result is never a valid test result for boarding a flight or entry to Canada and can’t be used as proof of a previous infection

    End of short trip exemption: the pre-entry testing exemption for trips 72 hours or less ended on December 21, 2021.

    Who doesn't need a pre-entry test:
    Flying to Canada - when to take your test

    If you have a connecting flight:

    Your proof of a valid negative test result is timed from the initial scheduled departure time of your flight to Canada:

    Cancelled flights: if your flight is cancelled by the airline, there are no extensions to the time limit for your pre-entry test. If your new scheduled flight is not within the time limit for your test, you’ll need to be retested.

    Airlines may refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a valid negative test result or proof of a previous positive molecular test result taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada.

    Special testing requirements for India and Morocco ended on January 28, 2022. Travellers arriving from these countries must follow the same requirements as all travellers, if eligible to enter Canada.

    Arriving by car, bus, boat, ferry or train

    You must take your pre-entry test outside of Canada based on the time you arrive at the land border or marine port of entry:

    Positive results on your pre-entry test

    A positive molecular pre-entry test result taken less than 10 calendar days before your planned entry or flight to Canada is not a valid test result for entry to Canada.

    A positive antigen pre-entry test result is never a valid test result for boarding a flight or entry to Canada, not even if it is from within 10 to 180 calendar days before your date of entry.

    Foreign nationals with symptoms or with a positive result from less than 10 calendar days before arriving will be denied entry.

    Canadians: To avoid being fined $5,000 per traveller (plus surcharges), wait to enter Canada at least 10 calendar days after your positive molecular test result. If travelling by air, you’ll be denied boarding. Counting starts the day following the day of testing.

    Accepted types of tests

    Molecular tests

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

    Other acceptable types of molecular tests:

    Antigen tests

    Your antigen test must be administered or observed by a laboratory or testing provider.

    Phrases indicating a test is an antigen test could include, but is not limited to:

    Providing proof of your result

    When you arrive at the border, you must present a valid negative test result (paper or electronic proof) or proof of a previous positive molecular test result taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada. Counting starts the day after your test.

    The proof must include:

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

    Arriving without an accepted COVID-19 test

    If a Canadian citizen, person registered under the Indian Act, or permanent resident does not provide proof of a valid test result they:

    How to isolate upon returning to Canada

    Foreign nationals without a valid negative pre-entry COVID-19 test result, proof of a previous positive molecular test result, or who have symptoms of COVID-19, will be denied entry into Canada.

    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.

    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.

    Arrival testing

    If you don’t qualify as fully vaccinated you must take an arrival test, a Day-8 test and quarantine. There are limited exceptions to these requirements.

    Fully vaccinated travellers may be randomly selected for arrival testing

    Taking your arrival test

    When you enter Canada, you'll be instructed to take an arrival test at the airport, or receive a self-swab kit.

    You’ll 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’s no fee for the arrival test.

    Air travellers: register in advance for arrival testing

    You may be required to get tested before exiting the airport. To speed you through the process, register in advance with the testing provider for the airport you’ll arrive at.

    If your airport doesn’t provide on-site testing, you’ll be given a self-swab kit to complete. You’ll need to follow the instructions in your self-swab kit to complete the test at your destination.

    Register with on-site airport test providers

    When you register, use the same email address you used for your ArriveCAN account.

    Arrival testing at land borders

    When you arrive at a land border crossing, you’ll be given a self-swab kit to complete. You’ll need to follow the instructions in your self-swab kit to complete the test at your destination.

    Who doesn’t need an arrival test

    Travellers who provide a positive COVID-19 molecular test result taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering 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

    Use only the test kits that you received at the border. Don’t use any other test kits that you may have. The instructions, web links and telephone numbers are all provided in the kit. Use the instructions in the kit to complete it within 24 hours of entering Canada.

    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.

    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.

    Your test kit service provider is based on where you entered the country. Contact your testing provider if you:

    How to contact your test provider

    British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon

    LifeLabs manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers.

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

    Contact LifeLabs

    Phone

    Website

    Email

    Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador

    Switch Health manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers.

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

    Contact Switch Health

    Phone

    Website

    Email

    Manitoba

    Dynacare manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers in Manitoba.

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

    Contact Dynacare

    Phone

    Website

    Quebec

    Biron manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers in Quebec.

    Contact Biron

    Phone

    Website

    Email

    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.

    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.

    Getting your test results while you’re in quarantine

    Arrival test results

    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.

    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 and remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.

    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. You won’t need to complete a Day-8 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 test provider, and ask them to send you a replacement kit, to use on Day-8 of your quarantine.

    Day-8 test results and leaving quarantine

    Negative results for your test

    If you receive a negative result from your Day-8 test before the end of your 14-day quarantine, you must still complete your mandatory 14-day quarantine. You may leave your place of quarantine once your 14-day quarantine is completed.

    Positive results on your 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 you additional details and instructions.

    Test result not yet available

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