The Canada U.S. land border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 21st and this week we learned that this is likely to be extended to the end of July to help stop the spread of COVID-19. A decision about the extension of restrictions must be made by June 22.
Unbeknownst to many Canadians, the border restrictions are different between land and air crossings. Many Canadians are unaware that, even though they are currently banned from driving to the U.S. for leisure travel, they can still fly into the United States for business or pleasure.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says travel restrictions apply only to Canadians trying to enter the U.S. at land border crossings, which includes travel by car, train, ferry, and pleasure boats. Canadian’s can still enter the US by air as long as they have not visited high risk counties including Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K. or 26 European countries in the Schengen Area 14 days prior.
Are there Isolation Requirements?
Canadian travelers will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival into the US. The CDC recommends that international travelers self isolate but it is not a requirement unless specified by a particular region or state. Hawaii is currently the only state who requires all air passengers to self-isolate for 14 days. However, when Canadians return to Canada, they must self-isolate for 14 days as per federal laws.
Is Air Travel Available?
Airlines have reduced or cancelled many routes but there are still some U.S. airlines offering service between Canada and the U.S., and Air Canada also resumed service to the U.S. on May 22. There are incredible discounts on travel to the US currently as states start to reopen. Las Vegas recently reopened and is offering the lowest hotel rates ever seen. The Canada to USA Discount Travel Membership offers its members the lowest rates on flights and hotels worldwide including within Canada.
Can Americans Visit Canada?
Canada does not allow U.S. citizens to visit Canada for leisure by ground or air unless they are an immediate family member of a Canadian. On June 8th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents will be allowed to enter the country as of June 9th. Many families have been separated on opposite sides of the Canada U.S. border since the March border closure on March 21st. This limited exemption will allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada.
Government Travel Advisory
The Canadian government currently advises its citizens to avoid traveling abroad but it won’t prevent them from visiting the U.S. or any other countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada will always allow Canadian citizens to return to Canada as long as they self-isolate for 14 days.
Can You Buy Travel Insurance?
Travel health insurance is a major concern for Canadians traveling abroad. Because of the government travel advisory, many insurance companies are not covering illnesses connected to COVID-19. We are currently in talks with numerous travel insurance providers to offer full health coverage including COVID-19 related illnesses to Canadian travelers and we hope to make an announcement this week.
What is next?
Canada and the U.S. have agreed to keep the shared land border closed to non-essential traffic until June 21st and it is expected to be extended this week to the end of July. In the meantime, Canadians will still be able to fly to the U.S. for business or pleasure unless guidelines and restrictions are changed. We will continue to monitor the guidelines and restrictions while keeping Canadians up to date on the ever-changing environment.