COVID-19 and International Travel
Level 1 - Practise health precautions (more details)
Original publication date: March 14, 2020
Updated: August 31, 2023
COVID-19 continues to circulate at different levels in Canada and internationally.
The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to change over time and new variants will appear. Uncertainty remains about the seasonal patterns for COVID-19. Take measures to protect yourself and limit the spread to others.
All eligible travellers should complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada, at least 14 days before travelling.
- The COVID-19 vaccines used in Canada are effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. They can also provide some protection against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Should you become infected with COVID-19 while abroad, you may be subject to your destination’s infection-management procedures.
Before you travel
You shouldn’t travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
If you are well and decide to travel:
- Verify that you can meet any COVID-19 testing and/or vaccination requirements in place at your destination.
- Monitor the COVID-19 situation at your destination in the days before travelling.
- Consider, particularly if you are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes, the availability and potentially high cost of adequate medical services in your destination, should you become ill. Check with your travel insurance provider and make sure you're covered for:
- COVID-19-related medical expenses
- other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses
- trip interruption
During your travel
- Follow local COVID-19 public health advice and regulations.
- Consider your personal risks and make informed decisions on using individual public health measures to help keep yourself and others safe.
- It is recommended that you wear a mask in public indoor settings.
- Wearing masks on planes and trains in Canada is no longer required, however; it's strongly recommended that you wear the best quality and best fitting respirator or mask available to you while you travel.
- It is especially important to wear a mask if you’re:
- at risk of more severe disease or outcomes
- around others who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes
- in a crowded or poorly ventilated setting
- You should feel free to wear a mask even if it's not required where you are travelling, especially if you are at high risk.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available. It's a good idea to always keep some with you when you travel.
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your arm, if you are not wearing a mask, to reduce the spread of germs.
- If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- When possible, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g., remotes, light switches, electronics, door handles, faucets, etc.)
- Know where to access medical care, including a COVID-19 test should you need one.
The types of activities and actions you take while travelling will influence the likelihood of your exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
- High-risk settings, such as crowded and poorly ventilated public spaces can increase your risk of infection. Examples include:
- large live performances
- busy bars or sports events
- travel in crowded and enclosed and/or poorly ventilated forms of transportation (e.g., a local bus/minibus)
- The risk is higher if activities like singing or shouting, or ones that make people breathe heavily, are occurring.
Returning to Canada
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you shouldn't travel to Canada.
If you feel sick or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 during your travel to Canada or upon arrival, you should:
- inform the flight attendant, cruise staff or a border services officer upon arrival. You may be referred to a Quarantine Officer for a health assessment and further direction.
- avoid taking public transportation.
- check provincial or territorial requirements for what you need to do if you’re symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19.
Information for Health Care Professionals
The Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT) has developed a statement on COVID-19 and International Travel.
Registration of Canadians Abroad
Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.
If you need assistance with a special circumstance
Contact the Public Health Agency of Canada
COVID-19 information line: 1-833-784-4397
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