The Canadian government has announced that it will soon open its borders to fully vaccinated tourists. Americans will be able to enter the country as early as 9 August for non-essential trips, vaccinated travellers from other countries from 7 September. Applying for a visa or eTA Canada remains mandatory for European travellers.
Canada eases border restrictions
Canada has a very strict quarantine policy. Whereas countries such as Egypt had already begun opening their borders to travellers in 2020, Canada had until recently closed itself off from the outside world in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. With just over 26,000 deaths out of a population of 37.5 million, Canada came through the pandemic relatively well, especially compared to neighbouring America.
Now that vaccinations are being administered at a rapid pace, the Canadian government has decided that it is time to open the borders again for non-essential travel from abroad. The Canadian tourism industry has been asking for this for months, and it seems that the government is now finally fulfilling this wish.
Only vaccinated travellers welcome
In order to enter Canada from 7 September onwards, you must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine that has also been approved for use in Canada. This means two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca, or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Proof of vaccination must be provided in English or French, and the second vaccination must be taken at least 14 days before arrival. Children under 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccination in Canada, are exempt from the mandatory quarantine for non-vaccinated persons. They must, however, like all other travellers, comply with Canadaʼs health regulations in public places.
The Canadian government has also announced that from 9 August, checks on fully vaccinated travellers will be relaxed somewhat. Currently, vaccinated travellers who are allowed to travel to Canada with an exception must also have a coronavirus test taken upon arrival. Soon, this will no longer be necessary. Fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter Canada without a coronavirus test, unless they are selected for a sample.
Unvaccinated travellers, or travellers who have had only one dose of vaccination from Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca, must undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Other changes in regulations
In addition to allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter the country, there are also a number of other planned changes to the regulations for travellers to Canada. For example, from 9 August, travellers are no longer required to spend three days in a special quarantine hotel after arrival. One of the Canadian coronavirus measures was to restrict incoming international flights to only four airports. As of August 9, five airports have been added to the list of permitted arrival locations.
For more information on the coronavirus measures within Canada itself, please visit the regularly updated page on coronavirus in Canada.
eTA Canada remains mandatory
With all the coronavirus rules, you would almost forget that a flight to Canada is not possible without an eTA or visa. Although Canada is planning to open its borders again to international travellers who have been fully vaccinated, this does not mean that these travellers can enter the country without a valid travel authorisation.
For UK and EU travellers, the easiest way to obtain such a travel authorisation is to apply for an eTA Canada. The eTA is cheaper than a visa and is also granted much faster, on average within 5 days. Urgent applications are even approved after 18 minutes on average.
To apply for a visa, you usually have to go to the embassy or a Visa Application Center for an interview and to have biometric data taken. However, an eTA can be applied for entirely online.