COVID-19 IMMIGRATION UPDATES
Due to the exceptional and fluid circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, information will be updated as soon as possible. We direct you to government resources for a fulsome and up-to-date account of the current situation.
As of February 22, 2021, all air travelers are required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport and another toward the end of the 14-day quarantine period. Moreover, with very limited exceptions (such as members of integrated trans-border communities and individuals who regularly cross the border to work), individuals will also be required to reserve prior to their departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travelers will be required to stay at their reserved hotel for up to 3 nights, at their own cost, while awaiting the results of the arrival test.
Obtaining a negative COVID-19 test result does not impact the quarantine requirements. Unless exempt, all travelers must still quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. Travelers to Canada must continue to use the ArriveCAN app and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry.
As of February 22, 2021, you are required to stay at an approved hotel, at your own expense, near one of the 4 Canadian airports currently accepting international flights (i.e. Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, or Montreal) for 3 nights while you await the results of the COVID-19 molecular test taken on arrival in Canada. You can reserve your hotel by calling 1800-294-8253 (toll free within North America) or 1613-830-2992 (outside North America).
Hotel booking information will be available online starting February 18, 2021. The hotel must be booked and the reservation confirmed via the ArriveCAN app before boarding the flight.
If the COVID-19 test taken on arrival in Canada comes back negative, travelers can complete the remainder of the 14-day quarantine period in their home (or other suitable place of quarantine), but must continue to submit COVID-related information daily electronically until the end of the quarantine period. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, travelers will be required to complete the quarantine period at a designated government facility. Learn more about what travellers to Canada need to know here.
Note: As the rules and restrictions regarding travel are constantly changing, please check the above links and government travel information prior to your return to Canada.
If you are currently in Canada, we advise against all non-essential travel outside of the country. Please note that all foreign nationals in Canada must maintain valid temporary status. The period of 90 days for foreign nationals to apply for restoration has been extended for foreign nationals who had valid temporary resident status on or after January 30, 2020 but whose status expired on or before May 31, 2021. They will have until August 31, 2021 to apply to restore their status.
A travel ban is in effect and applies to all foreign nationals, unless eligible for an exemption. The following foreign nationals are exempt from the travel ban:
- Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. “Immediate family member” means the spouse, common law partner, parent/grandparent, dependent child, the dependent child of the dependent child, guardian or tutor of the Canadian citizen/permanent resident of Canada.
- Extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. “Extended family member” means the non-dependent child, grandchild, sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling or grandparent of the Canadian citizen/permanent resident of Canada. It also includes individuals, over 18 years of age, that have been in an exclusive dating relationship for over 1 year in the physical presence of each other.
- Foreign nationals travelling from the United States if the purpose of travel is not “optional or discretionary” such as “tourism, recreation, or entertainment.”
- Foreign nationals travelling from all other countries outside the U.S. who fall into an enumerated exemption. Among others, enumerated exemptions include foreign nationals who hold a valid work permit, hold a written work permit approval, hold a valid study permit, hold a written study permit approval issued from a designated learning institution, or a person whose application for permanent residence was approved before noon EST on March 18, 2020. Some foreign nationals who have an immediate family member residing in Canada who is on a work permit or study permit holder may be authorized by a designated official to enter Canada for the purposes of family reunification.
The travel ban does not apply to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada.
All individuals who are granted entry to Canada must self-quarantine for 14 days.
All individuals entering Canada 5 years of age or older must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of boarding.
All individuals entering Canada must wear a face covering and practice social distancing wherever possible.
Note that any individual who exhibits symptoms of illness may be refused boarding by air carriers or entry to Canada at the border.
INTEGRITY. EXCELLENCE. DEDICATION.
Green and Spiegel is Canada’s largest and oldest immigration law practice with over 50 years of experience assisting a diverse global clientele. Our reputation has been earned by providing extraordinary immigration legal services time and time again. Our talented team of immigration lawyers has not only the depth but the breadth of knowledge in this specific area of law. Regardless of the complexity of the case, we know how to proceed.
On Saturday, February 13th, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced an unprecedented Express Entry draw in which 27,332 candidates who met the Canadian Experience Class requirements were invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. This draw was designed for candidates who have been working in Canada for at least one year out of the past three, and who met minimum English or French language requirements.
As a result of the large number of invitations issued, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score that was required to receive an invitation in this historic Express Entry draw dropped down to 75 points (from an average of 450 over the last 12 months).
Permanent Residence may now therefore be a realistic option for many who are interested in this unprecedented opportunity. If you would like to assess your eligibility, we have limited slots available for paid consultations. Please contact us today to reserve your consultation.
Today’s Updates: Cancelled flights, increased testing and quarantine hotels
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 4 significant changes regarding international travel:
1. Cancelled flights from Mexico and the Caribbean
Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing and WestJet have all agreed to cancel flights to Mexico and the Caribbean starting on Sunday, January 31. The airlines will make arrangements for travellers abroad to return to Canada. This flight suspension will remain in place until April 30.
2. Limited Arrival Airports
All international flights, including those coming from the United States of America, will land in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary or Montreal .
It remains unclear what the procedure will be for travellers destined to a different province, and whether it will be possible to take a domestic flight to the final destination before quarantining. For example, travellers with destinations of Manitoba or the Atlantic Provinces currently have 14-day quarantine requirements of their own, which would lead to double the quarantine time.
3. Mandatory testing and hotel quarantine on arrival
According to Prime Minister Trudeau, within the coming weeks, PCR testing will be implemented at the four airports and travellers will be mandated to quarantine in hotels, at their expense, until the test results come back. This could take up to 3 days at the expense of $2000.00 per person under quarantine. Those with negative results will be able to complete the remainder of their quarantine at home, with another test on day 10. In addition, there will be stricter enforcement and surveillance of those in-home quarantine situations. Those who test positive will be transferred to another government facility.
The Government also recently clarified that the requirement for those who have tested positive in the previous 14-90 days is to show your positive results from a COVID-19 test conducted 14-90 days before your departure. Those who previously tested positive for COVID-19 may continue to test positive even after recovery. This clarification allows these people to board a flight even though they may not be able to show a negative COVID-19 test result.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford announced that international travelers arriving at Pearson International Airport will have to undergo mandatory testing as of Monday, February 1.
4. Test results required at land-border points of entry
Up until now, the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test result was only in place for travellers arriving via air. It is likely that this pre-travel testing requirement will extend to those entering Canada at a land border. What is unclear with whether hotel quarantining will apply to those entering Canada at a land border.
Please note that the information released today by Prime Minister Trudeau requires more details to flush out precisely how entry to Canada will be affected. We have been advised that any changes may be made without notice and so it is critical to make sure that are apprised of the most up-to-date information before you travel in and out of Canada. Please contact us if you have a specific travel related question.