COVID-19 and International Travel

Level 1 - Practise health precautions (more details)

Original publication date: March 14, 2020

Updated: March 13, 2024

Current Situation

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will continue to spread across Canada, and internationally. Outbreaks will still occur and new variants of concern may also emerge. 

Before your trip

All eligible travellers should ideally complete a COVID-19 vaccine series in Canada, along with any additional recommended doses (boosters), 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.

It is recommended that you delay travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19 until you are feeling better. If you choose to travel while you have symptoms, you should use several personal protective measures to help reduce the risk of spreading illness to others. It is strongly recommended that you wear a well-fitted respirator or mask if you need to be around other people. 

If 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
  • While not required on planes and trains in Canada, it's still strongly recommended that you properly wear a well-fitted respirator or mask  while you travel, as these settings are higher risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Learn more about:

Vaccines for COVID-19
People who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19
Travel insurance
COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders
COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings 

During your trip

The types of activities and actions you take while travelling will influence your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. 

  • Settings where the risk of transmission is increased include those that are small, crowded, poorly ventilated and have people visiting for longer periods of time. Examples include:
    • large indoor events like concerts, conferences, and sporting events
    • indoor bars 
    • travel in crowded and enclosed and/or poorly ventilated forms of transportation (e.g., a local bus/minibus)
  • The risk is higher if activities that make people breathe heavily, like singing or shouting, are occurring.

How to reduce your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19

Consider your personal risks and make informed decisions on using personal protective measures to help keep yourself and others safe. These measures include:

  • Limiting contact with others when you’re sick
  • Wearing a well-fitted respirator or mask. It’s especially important to wear a mask:
    • If you’re sick
    • Seasonally: respiratory infectious diseases, like COVID-19, usually increase in fall and winter
    • If you’re in a small, crowded or poorly ventilated setting
    • If you’re at risk of more severe disease or outcomes or you spend a lot of time with others who are at greater risk
  • Practising hand hygiene
    • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 
    • If your hands are visibly dirty, you should wash them with soap and water instead of using hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands.
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes 
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, not your hand.
    • If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces and objects. This can remove and kill infectious particles.

Learn more about:

Respiratory infectious diseases: How to reduce the spread with personal protective measures
Hand washing and staying healthy
COVID-19: Cleaning and disinfecting
If you become sick or injured while travelling outside Canada or after your return
Mass gatherings
COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings 

Returning to Canada

If you feel sick or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 during your travel to Canada or upon arrival, you should:

  • wear a well-fitted respirator or mask 
  • inform the flight attendant, cruise staff and/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 recommendations for what you should do if you’re symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19.

Learn more about:

COVID-19: Provincial and territorial resources

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.

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.

Registration of Canadians Abroad

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