Travel To Canada From The US: Canada Entry Requirements And Covid Restrictions For US Citizens

Nov 15, 2022

13 min read

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These two neighboring countries have much in common yet are so different. If you thought about US and Canada, then you are correct. Each year more and more US citizens travel to Canada for education, business, tourism, and even visiting friends and family. This trend seems to be increasing steadily over the past few years.

Now that non-essential travel is no longer restricted by the Canadian Government; US citizens can enter the country for leisure and tourism. Moreover, since USA and Canada share one of the longest borders, it is easy to travel between the countries.

So, if you are making travel plans to visit Canada, you are in the right place. This blog will give you a travel advisory on Canada with all the new travel information, requirements, and travel restrictions. Let us begin.

Can I Travel To Canada From The US?

Canada has opened its borders to foreign nationals for international travel and to visit the country. However, they must meet minimum travel requirements and abide by the travel restrictions. Most visitors entering Canada first need to acquire a tourist visa to enter and travel across the country.

There are guidelines for entering Canada and must be abode by everyone, including Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, US citizens, and foreign nationals. As you read further, you will find out more about these requirements and restrictions placed by the Government of Canada.

International tourists can travel to Canada by air travel, land border crossing, and seaport. You are also permitted to transit through Canada. However, you might be subjected to screening at international airports.

Now you know that the Canadian Borders are open for travelers, and Canada is letting visitors enter the country. This might raise other questions such as:

Do US Citizens Need A Visa To Go To Canada?

Although most foreign nationals need a visa to enter, US citizens are fortunate. They do not need to have a visa to enter Canada. However, US citizens must meet a few basic requirements before they are allowed into the country.

Additionally, there are various programs available to citizens of both countries that they can use to enter and leave the countries. I will talk about the available programs and ways US citizens can easily travel to and from Canada.

Do US Green Card Holders Need A Visa To Go To Canada?

Many US green cardholders reside in the US and enjoy similar benefits as the US nationals. However, when it comes to visiting foreign countries, they might not have the same benefits.

But in the case of Canada, US Green Cardholders do not have to worry about getting a visa to enter Canada. They can enjoy a visa-free trip to Canada, similar to the US nationals. However, there are other requirements for US green card holders, and they must comply with them.

What Are The Entry Requirements To Enter Canada From The US?

Now that you know that you do not need a visa let us talk about the other requirements that are in place for US residents. The entry requirements can get stricter or lenient and may vary depending on how you enter the country. For example, you might be asked for additional travel documents when flying on an international flight to Canada, whereas asked for fewer documents at a land border.

Regardless it would be best to stay prepared with all the necessary documents at any port of entry to ensure an easy passage into the country. Below you can check the requirements according to your residence status in the US and additional information:

Requirements For US Nationals To Enter Canada

Though you travel visa-free to Canada, you must carry these documents with you since you will be entering a foreign country. The documents are as follows:

  • A valid passport for the duration of their stay
  • OR Trusted Traveller Cards such as Nexus, SENTRI, or Fast Card
  • One empty passport page
  • Enhanced Driver's License (issued by Washington State, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, and Vermont only), if using land border or marine border
  • Enhanced Learner's Permit, or Enhanced State ID card
  • Temporary enhanced driver's licenses/learner's permits/state or provincial ID cards are not accepted. The traveler must have a permanent license/permit/card.)
  • Birth certificates for children
  • A permission or consent letter including full names, addresses, and telephone numbers from any parent or legal guardian if a child is traveling with others
  • Use ArriveCAN to submit required documents before arrival in Canada
  • Meet covid19 requirements

Requirements For US Green Card Holders To Enter Canada

For US green cardholders, the requirements are similar to what a US national would have to provide at the port of entry. However, border service officers could request additional documents, or you can show the different documents to enter Canada. You must have the following documents at the border:

  • MUST have a valid passport from their country of nationality
  • a valid green card from the United States
  • OR valid permanent resident card (Form I-551)
  • Trusted Traveller Cards such as Nexus, SENTRI, or Fast Card along with passport or green card
  • Enhanced Driver's License (issued by Washington State, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, and Vermont only), if using land border or marine border
  • Enhanced Learner's Permit, or Enhanced State ID card
  • Temporary enhanced driver's licenses/learner's permits/state or provincial ID cards are not accepted. The traveler must have a permanent license/permit/card.
  • Birth certificates for children
  • A permission or consent letter including full names, addresses, and telephone numbers from any parent or legal guardian if a child is traveling with others
  • Use ArriveCAN to submit required documents before arrival in Canada
  • Meet covid19 requirements

Check the comprehensive list of documents that you can present to enter Canada.

What Is A Trusted Traveller Card?

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in conjunction with the U.S. Customs And Border Protection (US CBP), has introduced voluntary programs called the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP). There are various programs available under the TTP. These programs can expedite your immigration process at international border crossings.

Under the TTP, you can apply for one for either Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, SENTRI, NEXUS, or FAST, and each program offers you specific benefits. In addition, you can find the best match program on the online TTP portal based on your eligibility and travel habits.

The application process for either of the program is straightforward. You can apply online on the Tursted Traveler Progam's webiste and choose the program that suits your needs. If you are unsure of the program or want to check your eligibility for the program, you can do it on the website.

To enroll in the program, you must fill out an online form, provide your contact information, and upload your passport, valid ID, or citizenship certificate. Green card holders and permanent residents must also submit a valid Permanent Resident Card. You will create an online profile or an account on the TTP platform by enrolling.

After your application is conditionally approved, you will be contacted electronically for an in-person interview. You can choose a date of your liking for the interview. After your successful interview, you must pay the membership fees and follow the necessary steps to get the TTP cards. The TTP cards are valid for 5 years.

You can find additional information on the Trusted Travelers program on US Department of Homeland Security website.

What Are Restrictions When Traveling Between Canada And The US?

After you have gathered all the necessary travel documents, it is essential that you also know about the restrictions in place. There are restrictions placed for many reasons, but the biggest is the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, US citizens have to consider a few other things to gain access to Canada.

We will talk about all the covid restrictions and other requirements in place.

COVID19 Restrictions And Entry Requirements To Enter Canada From The US

The Government of Canada has implemented many coronavirus-related restrictions and requirements to combat the coronavirus pandemic and ensure public health safety. When traveling into or out of Canada, you must meet the covid19 needs.

  • Adults must be fully vaccinated with covid19 vaccines accepted by Canada

  • Provide an official proof of vaccination to travel within and depart Canada

  • The last covid19 vaccination must be administered 14 days before entering Canada

  • Must wear a mask at all times

  • Must submit travel information and proof of vaccination using ArriveCAN

  • Covid19 RT-PCR or molecular test results are no longer accepted, accepted in place of proof of covid19 vaccination, or make you eligible to enter Canada

  • The proof of vaccination must be in English or French, or you must obtain a certified translation

  • Vaccinated travelers do not have to go through the pre-entry covid19 tests

Find out if you are eligible to enter Canada based on your current vaccination status here. In addition, you can find additional information on the covid19 requirement on the official Government of Canada website.

IMPORTANT: If you are an unvaccinated traveler above 18 years of age and do not have any medical conditions, you will be either denied entry into Canada or required to quarantine for 14 days even with a negative covid19 test result. Exemption from covid19 requirements to enter Canada can only be obtained in some instances, such as visiting Canada for healthcare or medical emergencies.

COVID19 Requirements For Children To Enter Canada From The US

Everyone, including children, must follow covid19 rules and regulations. In addition, when traveling with children, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Children under the age of 5 are exempt from pre-entry tests, exempt from arrival tests, and exempt from Day-8 test.
  • Children under 5 are also exempt from vaccination requirements.
  • Children who are 5 on the day of their travel are not exempt from testing requirements.
  • If a child above 5 years - 11 years is fully vaccinated, then the parents must upload the child's proof of vaccination into ArriveCAN
  • If a child above 5 years -11 years is not vaccinated or partially vaccinated and is accompanied by fully vaccinated guardians, ARE NOT required to follow testing and quarantine requirements
  • Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated children aged between 12 and 17 must complete the 14-day quarantine and all testing requirements for pre-entry, arrival, and day-8 tests. This requirement is applicable regardless of being accompanied by fully vaccinated guardians.

Families with children arriving in Canada can get more information here.

COVID19 Restrictions And Requirements For Returning To The US From Canada

Like Canada, The US government has also implemented covid19 related requirements. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created guidelines and rules for all incoming travelers. These travelers include but are not limited to foreign nationals, Canadian passport holders, dual citizens, US nationals, and US green cardholders. Things to keep in mind before traveling back to the US:

  • All travelers, including children aged 2 years or older, show a negative COVID-19 test result
  • You should take the covid-19 test no more than 1 day before travel
  • You can use a viral self-testing kit
  • Children under 2 years old do not need to test
  • You can also show documentation of recovery from covid-19 no older than 90 days
  • Adults and children aged 2 years or older must wear a well-fitting mask

For US citizens requirement additional entry information must visit the CDC website.

What Is ArriveCAN?

The Government of Canada introduced a digital platform for all travelers visiting Canada via air, rail, road, or marine vessel. ArriveCAN is a Canadian Self Declaration form and is MANDATORY for all incoming travelers. Applying for the Canadian Self Declaration form is free and easy.

You can start by visiting the official ArrivaCAN website or by downloading the app on your phone. Once you are on the platform, you create your account and provide all your details. You will be required to fill in your personal information, contact details and upload travel documents:

  • Identification documents such as passports or other travel documents
  • Contact and travel information
  • 14-day travel history
  • Quarantine plan
  • Confirmation of a negative pre-entry test (or positive test taken 10 to 180 days before travel)
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessment

To expedite your entry process, you must carry a printout of your ArriveCAN receipt. In addition, you must submit all your information 72 hours prior to your arrival in Canada. If you do not register and submit documents on ArriveCAN, you could be fined $5,000.

To download the ArriveCAN app or get further details on this topic, you can visit the ArriveCAN online portal.

Who Cannot Enter Canada?

To be eligible for admission in Canada, you must meet to required criteria. In case a person does not meet the requirements, they might be considered inadmissible. In addition, several other reasons could make you inadmissible to Canada, such as:

  • Involved in criminal activity
  • Has human rights violations
  • Is or has been a part of organized crime
  • You have DUIs

If you are inadmissible, you might have to apply for a different entry visa. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.

What Is The Procedure At The Canadian Border For US Citizens?

The procedure for entering Canada is not complicated at all. Make sure you know what documentation and information you need well before arriving at the border or the airport. Ensure that you have filled out and uploaded documents on ArrivaCAN. Regardless of whether you will be traveling via flight or by road, you are legally required to provide all the necessary documents at the port of entry.

  • Valid passport
  • OR valid Nexus, Fast, or other TTP cards
  • Travel Document used to fill in ArriveCan, e.g., ID or passport
  • Proof of vaccination

The immigration officer will ask you for the required documents and verify them. If the immigration officer is satisfied, they will allow you to enter the country. However, in case you have a previous criminal offense or the immigration officer is not satisfied, they have the right to stop you from entering the country.

Travelers entering Canada on cruise ships must consult their tour operators on ArriveCAN use or visit the page here.

How Long Can US Citizens Stay In Canada Visa Free?

Now that everything is out of the way and you are in Canada, you need to know how long you can stay in the country. US citizens can stay in Canada for as long as 6 months visa-free. You cannot, however, work without a relevant visa.

You must also remember that the border service officers have the right to grant or revoke your permission to enter Canada. They might also allow you to stay less than 6bmonths in Canada. You must leave Canada before the date they put on your passport.

How Much Are The Fees To Enter Canada For US Citizens?

Usually, there are no toll fees or fees to travel between Canada and the US. However, there are a few bridges with toll gates. Here you can either pay in US dollars/Canadian dollars or get an e-Zpass system. With the e-Zpass system, you receive an ETag for your car, which you can mount on your vehicle's windshield to cross the roads between the two countries.

How Can US Citizens Travel To Canada?

There are several ways that US citizens can travel to Canada. Many people travel to Canada on international flights between the two countries, and others drive through the land borders. In addition, you can enter the country using one of the 100 land border crossings between the US and Canada.

You can check border wait time online, and the Canadian government updates the website every hour.

With this travel advisory, you should have all the necessary information to travel to Canada. Check out Atlys for more updates, requirements, and articles.

Written By: Nikhita Rathod

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Travel To Canada Without A Passport?

All travelers require valid travel documents to enter Canada, including US citizens. You must read our details post on whether US citizens require a passport for Cananda.

Do I Need A Visa For Canada?

US nationals and residents do not need a visa. For more information, check the entry requirements for each country here.

Can Unvaccinated Travelers Enter Canada?

Unvaccinated travelers are not allowed in Canada. For more information check the covid entry restrictions and requirements here.

Is ArriveCAN Mandatory To Enter Canada?

Yes. You must fill out the form and submit relevant documents on ArriveCAN 72 hours before traveling to Canada.

What Currency Can US Citizens Use In Canada?

US citizens can use their credit or debit cards in Canada. However, not all places might accept US dollars. Hence it would be best to carry Canadian dollars with you.

Will My Cellphone Work In Canada?

The majority of phone services use the same format in both countries. This means that you will be able to use your phone in Canada. However, the service charges might be different, and a US sim service could cost more in Canada.

Which Are The Accepted Vaccines In Canada
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Medicago Covifenz
  • Moderna (Spikevax, mRNA-1273) including for children aged 6 to 11 years
  • Novavax (NVX-COV2373, Nuvaxovid, Covovax)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2) including for children aged 5 to 11 years
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
What Can I Visit In Canada?

There are so many places that you can visit in Canada. To name a few places in Canada:

  • Niagara Falls, Ontario
  • Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal, Quebec
  • Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Southern Ontario
  • Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto, Ontario
How Safe Is Canada?

Canada is considered a very safe country, in fact, safer than the USA. However, you must take basic precautionary measures, abide by Canadian laws, and stay vigilant.

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