The Canadian government has introduced additional travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel to Canada is restricted except for the following:

  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
  • Persons registered under Canada’s Indian Act.
  • Protected persons.
  • United States citizens and foreign nationals traveling from the U.S. for an essential reason who have been in the U.S. or Canada for at least 14 days before entering Canada (unless exempt).
  • Certain foreign nationals (see the full list here).
  • Temporary foreign workers who hold a valid work permit or written work permit approval (issued at any time).
  • Certain international students:
    • Holders of a valid study permit.
    • Holders of a written study permit approval issued before noon EST on March 18, 2020.
  • Permanent residents whose application for permanent residence was approved before noon EST on March 18, 2020.
  • Immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident.
  • Immediate family members with written authorization from the Government of Canada to reunite with a non-Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada.

Additional information: All those traveling by air must pass a health check conducted by the airlines before being permitted to board. Travelers with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to fly, regardless of citizenship.

With few exceptions, all persons must undergo a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days on arrival and must have a credible isolation plan (i.e., how they will get to their residence/accommodation from the airport without using public transport, as well as how they will obtain groceries), regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. This does not apply to non-symptomatic travelers who are transiting through Canada to their final destination, or to those delivering essential services. As of April 15, service hours at low-traffic border crossings are reduced.

The government has also issued guidance on travel to Canada to provide essential services, implemented temporary processing changes for visa and work permit applications and updated its policy to clarify the eligibility of family members accompanying temporary residents to Canada.

Analysis & Comments: Travelers are advised to seek advice before traveling to Canada.

This alert was prepared by de Lint LLP, an independent immigration law firm, allied with Deloitte LLP in Canada.