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.
The information below details the Canadian border and entry requirements as of September 7, 2021. This may change.
As of August 9th 2021, the previously required 3-day stay at a government approved hotel upon entry to Canada has completely ended. In addition, fully vaccinated travellers qualify for an exemption to enter Canada for discretionary travel. This includes all international travellers.
FULLY VACCINATED TRAVELLERS
Fully vaccinated travellers will be exempt from the quarantine requirement upon entry into Canada. Unvaccinated travellers, including children aged 12 to 17, must quarantine and follow strict testing requirements, when permitted entry into Canada.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated when they have received the full series of a vaccine — or combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. These vaccines can be received from any country, but documentation must be provided in English, French, or with a certified translation. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
Fully vaccinated travellers will still need to complete pre-arrival testing. However, they will not be subject to a day-8 COVID-19 test or be required to stay at a government-approved hotel upon arrival in Canada.
Fully vaccinated travellers must upload their vaccination documentation to the ArriveCAN app prior to their arrival at the Canadian border and answer all health and security related screening questions at the border.
Unvaccinated children under 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians are exempt from quarantine but are required to take a COVID-19 test on day-1 and day-8 of their arrival into Canada. The mandatory testing requirement does not apply to children under five years old.
All travellers entering Canada must take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of their arrival at the border or their scheduled flight time.
The Canadian testing requirement is strict. Ensure your test is one of the following, as an antigen or rapid test may not be sufficient:
- PCR - Polymerase chain reaction
- RT-PCR – reverse transcription real time PCR
- Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
- Nucleic acid test (NAT) or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs)
- Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
- Isothermal amplification
- Droplet digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
- Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
- RNA (Ribonucleic acid)
- Ct (cycle threshold)
- Next generational sequencing (NGS) or whole genome sequencing (WGS)
- Oxford Nanopore sequencing (LamPORE)
- Detection of the N gene
- Detection of Orf1a/b
- Detection of the S gene
- Detection of the E gene
- Detection of the RdRp gene
The test result must include the traveller’s name, date of birth, name and civic address of the facility that administered the test, the date on which the test was conducted, the type of test conducted, and the test result. Ensure the testing facility you attend lists all these details.
Although a PCR test is sufficient, travellers entering the United States only require a rapid antigen test, which is significantly less expensive and less invasive.
Testing is not required for individuals who have had COVID-19 in the past 14-90 days and have a positive test result from that period of time.
Individuals entering Canada must download the ArriveCAN app prior to their travel. All travellers, with limited exceptions, will need to submit the following information in the app before entering Canada:
- Travel and contact information;
- Quarantine plan (necessary in case one develops symptoms of COVID-19 in Canada);
- Proof of Vaccination
- COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
Once you submit your information, a receipt will be displayed and emailed to you. Travellers will need to show this receipt to Canadian border services officers and airlines to confirm entry into Canada.
The following are examples of travel for a non-optional or non-discretionary purpose:
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.
Immediate family members of temporary residents of Canada
Required to provide evidence that their travel is non-optional or non-discretionary and an authorization letter issued by IRCC.
Foreign nationals travelling from the United States
If the purpose of travel isnot“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
This includes foreign nationals who hold a valid work permit and normally live in Canada, as well as workers who have a letter of introduction for a work permit, have a valid immigration medical exam, and have a valid job over. International students are also able to enter Canada with a valid study permit or hold a written study permit approval issued from a designated learning institution.
- supporting Indigenous communities
- transiting through Canada for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes
- any other activities that are deemed non-optional or non-discretionary by the Government of Canada or based on an officer’s assessment
- foreign national coming to assist with the birth of their own child to another foreign national with temporary resident status
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 requirement to travel for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose does not apply to compassionate grounds.
Please note that there are certain travel restrictions and exemptions when traveling between provinces and territories.
The travel ban of direct flights from India remains in place until at least September 21, 2021.
The travel ban from Morocco remains in place until at least September 29, 2021.
Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
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.
Changes to the Canadian Border: Omicron Variant
The following travel restrictions have been introduced in Canada pursuant to the Quarantine Act, following the outbreak that was declared by the World Health Organization on November 24, 2021 of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) COVID-19 variant.
Until January 31, 2022, the Government of Canada is implementing enhanced border measures for all travellers who have been in the Southern Africa region — including South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, and Egypt — within the last 14 days before arriving in Canada.
All air travelers coming into the country, apart from those from United States, are required to be tested at the airport even if vaccinated.
A foreign national is prohibited from entering Canada if they are travelling from a country where there is an outbreak of the Omicron variant or there is a risk of an outbreak of the variant. This includes foreign nationals who were in one of the affected countries within 14 days of their arrival in Canada.
Canadians, permanent residents, and people with status under the Indian Act are still able to enter Canada irrespective of their travel history to these countries. These individuals will have to obtain a negative COVID-19 molecular test result within 72 hours of departure and complete an immediate arrival test. These travellers will be required to complete a test on day 8 after arrival and quarantine for 14 days.
Those arriving by air will be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility while they await their arrival test result. They will not be permitted to proceed to their home quarantine until they have received a negative arrival test result.
Those arriving by land may be allowed to proceed directly to their suitable isolation location. If they do not have a suitable plan — where they will not have contact with anyone they haven’t travelled with — or do not have private transportation to their place of quarantine, they will be directed to stay at a designated quarantine facility.
We expect this list of countries to expand and change over the coming weeks. Should you have any questions about your travel arrangements, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office.