Travel and COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada
If you choose to travel despite these advisories, be aware that commercial airspace closures and movement restrictions can occur without warning and could prevent your return to Canada. The Government of Canada is not planning additional facilitated flights to bring Canadians home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On this page
- If you must travel or are already outside Canada
- Your health and travel during the pandemic
- Your mental health
- Help for Canadians outside Canada
- Returning to Canada
The Government of Canada continues to advise all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada and to avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice. We strongly advise you to follow the Government of Canada's official travel advice to ensure your personal safety and security.
If you are outside Canada:
- You may have difficulty obtaining essential products and services.
- You may face strict movement restrictions and quarantines.
- Your insurance may not cover your travel or medical expenses.
- We may only be able to provide limited consular services.
Check the quarantine requirements at your destination, and be aware that you will have to self-isolate for 14 days when you return to Canada.
- Find out what commercial options, if any, remain available and return to Canada as soon as possible.
- Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service. Make sure your contact information is complete and up to date. This will allow consular officials to contact you, provide updates and confirm your situation.
- Regularly check your destination’s Travel Advice and Advisories.
- Monitor local media to stay informed of the situation.
- Follow the advice of local authorities, including public health advice, such as wearing a face covering in public, and lockdown or shelter-in-place guidance.
- Keep important documents in a safe, but easy to access, place.
- Make sure you have enough money, medication, food and water in case you can't leave your home or accommodations due to movement restrictions.
- Make sure you have a local SIM card and charger for your mobile phone.
- Make sure your passport is valid for at least another six months. If you need to renew it, call the closest Government of Canada office serving your location. If the office is closed, your call will be transferred to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa. The centre operates 24/7 and may be reached directly at +1 613 996 8885 (call collect where available) or email@example.com.
- Check with your travel insurance provider to find out if you are covered for medical treatment if you become infected with COVID-19 and for extended stays outside Canada.
- Contact your family and friends as soon as you can, even if you have not been affected, and continue to update them on your situation until you return to Canada.
Before you travel
- Read the pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice and know the health risks for your destination.
- Check the Health tab for your destination in the Travel Advice and Advisories for information on COVID-19 and advice on health issues.
- Visit the Government of Canada's Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice page and follow the recommended health precautions.
- Check the World Health Organization’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for the public.
During your travel
- Avoid large crowds or crowded areas.
- Avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing.
- Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Always keep some with you when you travel.
- Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette.
- Take precautions against respiratory illnesses and seek medical attention if you become sick.
If you are abroad and you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19:
If you are not able to return to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. You may be uncomfortable or distressed because you are in an unfamiliar environment away from home. You may have concerns about risks associated with the pandemic or about the challenges of managing day to day while under lockdown in a foreign country.
If you need psychological support while abroad, contact the local emergency services and go to the nearest hospital. The nearest Government of Canada office or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre can help you find them.
Risks to your mental health abroad
Be aware of the mental health risks arising from the current situation. Many factors can affect your mental well-being, including:
- disrupted routines
- isolation or lack of social support
- unfamiliar surroundings
- use of drugs and alcohol
- decrease in physical activity
Recognize the symptoms
It is important to pay attention to changes in your mental health. For more information see Taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you believe your mental health is deteriorating, seek help and advice as soon as possible. Canada’s newly created Wellness Together Canada: Mental health and substance use support portal may help connect you with options for online support.
Keep in touch
Stay in contact with your family and friends in Canada through emails, letters, phone calls, video chats or social media. Tell them about your experiences and keep them up to date on your whereabouts and any changes to your travel plans.
Find out about local mental health services and how to find local medical facilities. The health care system and the attitude toward mental health in other countries can be very different than those in Canada.
If you have a mental health condition
- Contact your health care provider in Canada to discuss how to manage your condition while you are abroad.
- Discuss your treatment plan, and any changes to your treatment plan, with your health care provider.
- Be aware that some medication that is easy to find in Canada may not be available everywhere and that there may be issues with supply in some locations. If you are unable to refill your prescription where you are, contact your health care provider to discuss your options.
- Ask your health care provider to send you a note detailing your condition and any medication that you are taking. The note may be useful if you need to consult a health care provider or refill your prescription while you are abroad.
- Take steps to maintain positive mental health to the best of your ability (see above).
If you need help
- give you contact information for medical services in the area
- help you find professionals who can help you in case of a medical emergency
- help you communicate with your relatives and friends
In case of emergency, call the closest Government of Canada office serving your location. If the office is closed, your call will be transferred to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa. The centre operates 24/7 and may be reached directly at +1 613 996 8885 (call collect where available) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadians outside the country who are directly impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to apply for the Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad to help them return to Canada and to cover their short-term needs while they work toward returning.
Each application will be assessed according to the individual’s specific situation and needs.
If you plan to return to Canada, make sure you check the federal and provincial public health authorities' travel requirements. They may include, but are not limited to, quarantining (self-isolating) for 14 days in a place where you will have no contact with vulnerable people, and wearing a non-medical mask or face covering while travelling to the place where you will quarantine (self-isolate).
There are also specific requirements for anyone who returns to Canada by plane. You must demonstrate that you have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process, or you will not be allowed to continue on your journey, and you must wear it while you travel.
Check Travel and COVID-19: Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice for complete information on all requirements for returning travellers.
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