Essential Travelers to Canada Required to be Fully Vaccinated

Starting January 15th, 2022, travelers coming to Canada for essential purposes must be fully vaccinated. Canadians who have not received the COVID-19 vaccination may be subject to quarantine. 

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International arrivals traveling to Canada for essential reasons now must be fully vaccinated to enter the country. Some travelers exempted from vaccination requirements may still cross the Canadian border. Nevertheless, quarantine, testing, and other protective measures will be applied.

All non-essential foreign travelers have been already required to be fully vaccinated to enter the territory of Canada. Under the new entry restrictions, this requirement now applies to essential travel too. 

Essential travel groups

The list of essential travelers includes the following groups:

  • international students aged 18 and over;
  • athletes;
  • family members of Canadian nationals, persons registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents of Canada;
  • providers of essential services, e.g. truckers;
  • holders of work permit (excluding agricultural and food processing workers)

Vaccination exemptions

Citizens of Canada and permanent residents are exempt from vaccination requirements, which means that they cannot be denied entry to their country if unvaccinated. It does not, however, exempt them from pre-entry, upon-arrival, day-eight testing, and quarantine procedures. 

Those who have not been vaccinated or received only one dose of coronavirus vaccine can be allowed to Canada only under some exemptional circumstances. Some of these exempt groups include food and agricultural workers, new permanent Canadian residents, resettling refugees, marine crew members, and some children under 18 years of age. 

Being exempted from vaccination requirements still requires a person to perform COVID-19 testing, undergo quarantine, and meet any other applicable entry requirements.

All unvaccinated foreign travelers not falling under any exempted category will be denied entry to Canada.

It is the border officers who make the final decision whether a foreign arrival is to be allowed into Canada or not, or if quarantine is necessary. They make assessments of the persons wishing to cross the Canadian border. Those who have coronavirus symptoms can be directed to the PHAC and next isolated for 10 days. 

COVID-19 vaccination in Canada

To be recognized as fully vaccinated against COVID-19, travelers to Canada must have been administered the full dose of the coronavirus vaccine approved by the Canadian Government. The final dose needs to be received at least 14 days prior to the planned entry to Canada.

All travelers are required to submit all necessary coronavirus-related information when filling out the ArriveCAN, which is, apart from a valid eTA (if applicable), a mandatory document to obtain within 72 hours before a trip.

The list of the COVID-19 vaccines recognized in Canada includes:

  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)

It is not obligatory for essential travelers to receive a booster dose in order to be recognized as fully vaccinated in Canada. 

Katarzyna Żyła

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