After more than one and a half years, the Canadian government has withdrawn its negative travel advisory for travelling abroad. The Canadian government no longer advises against non-essential travel abroad.
Negative travel advisory for Canadian citizens
Following the global corona outbreak in 2020, the Canadian government was quick to adopt a negative travel recommendation for all non-essential travel to foreign countries. There was however no travel ban in place and Canadians could in theory travel abroad as normal. But due to the rules of other countries and the strict quarantine regulations for returning Canadians, there was almost no international travel. Canada also closed its border with its neighbour America, where corona was striking particularly hard. Today, Canada is doing much better with regard to corona. At least 73.9% of the population is fully vaccinated, one of the highest percentages in the world. This is one of the main reasons why President Trudeauʼs government has decided to withdraw its negative travel advisory.
New travel advisory
Whereas Canada previously advised against all non-essential travel, the government is now only recommending its citizens to be fully vaccinated before travelling. For unvaccinated citizens, the old travel advisory still applies. Besides the usual health measures (such as wearing a face mask), the Canadian government advises travellers not to go on cruises outside Canada. Although the United States is still struggling with a high number of corona infections and deaths, the Canadian government does not believe that Canadian travellers need to take any special measures when they go to the US. Fully vaccinated Canadians have been allowed to travel to the United States for a few weeks now. This (and the approaching holiday season) has probably also influenced the Canadian governmentʼs decision to relax its travel advice.
In addition to easing the foreign travel advice, the Canadian government has also announced the availability of a standardized vaccination certificate. This will make it a lot easier for Canadians to obtain this certificate if they wish to travel abroad. Most countries require proof of full vaccination from incoming travellers.
Travelling to Canada
The high rate of vaccination has not only allowed Canadians to travel abroad again. Since September 7th, Canada has been welcoming back foreigners travelling to the country for holidays, business trips or to visit family and friends. These travellers must meet a number of conditions in order to travel to Canada. The most important requirement is that they have to be fully vaccinated. Without a full vaccination, they will not be allowed to enter Canada. A PCR test (taken up to 72 hours before departure) is also mandatory. Antigen tests are not accepted. Both the vaccination certificate and the test result must be uploaded in the Canadian governmentʼs special app, the ArriveCAN app.
Canada eTA also required
In addition to the vaccination certificate and the negative test result, one must also apply for an eTA Canada before departure to be able to check in. The eTA is an electronic travel authorisation. Unlike the visa, the eTA is not a paper document. It is digitally linked to the applicantʼs passport. Once the eTA has been approved, all you need to do is to have your passport scanned at the airport.
However, the eTA for Canada is subject to certain conditions. Applying for an eTA is only possible if you do not need a visa for Canada because of your nationality. The Netherlands and Belgium are both among the countries whose citizens may travel visa-free to Canada. Travellers with a criminal record cannot apply for an eTA.