Canada Has Opened Its Borders to Fully Vaccinated Americans: Here's What You Need to Know

by Natasha Gabrielle | Published on Aug. 9, 2021

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A child sits cross-legged in a meadow, smiling and holding a Canadian flag.

Image source: Getty Images

Fully vaccinated Americans can now enter Canada for leisure travel.

Canada closed its borders due to the pandemic in March 2020 and remained closed for well over a year to help contain the spread of the virus. But that is about to change.

As of today, August 9, 2021, Canada is welcoming vaccinated American travelers. You'll need to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination to enter the country. You'll also be required to submit your travel plans electronically before arriving and take a pre-departure test. But the good news is that by submitting your information and verifying that you're fully vaccinated, you can avoid having to quarantine after arriving in Canada.

Here's what you need to know:

Canada hopes to open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from other countries on September 7, 2021. In the meantime, you'll be able to visit Canada if you meet the following requirements:

  • You're an American citizen or permanent resident
  • You've been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine accepted by Canada (and completed the last dose at least 14 days before arrival)
  • You're able to present a negative molecular test taken within 72 hours
  • You're symptom-free on arrival

Pre-arrival COVID-19 testing rules vary depending on how you plan to travel:

  • If flying, you need to take a molecular test within 72 hours of the departure time of your flight to Canada
  • If flying with a connecting flight, the molecular test needs to be taken within 72 hours of the departure time of your last direct flight to Canada (you may need to schedule the test in your transit city)
  • If arriving by car, the molecular test should be taken within 72 hours of your planned entry in Canada and must be taken in the U.S.

If you've already recovered from the virus, you may be able to enter with a positive COVID-19 molecular test result if:

  • You're symptom-free
  • The positive test result is from a molecular test that was conducted between 14 and 90 days before your arrival in Canada

In addition to a pre-departure test, some randomly selected travelers may need to take a post-arrival Day 1 COVID-19 molecular rest.

Children ages four and under are not subject to testing rules. Unvaccinated kids under the age of twelve will be exempt from quarantine requirements but should avoid group settings.

Ready to book your trip to Canada?

If it's determined you don't meet the entry requirements upon arrival to the border, you will need to quarantine. So travelers should plan to carry proof of vaccination with them during their trip and have a quarantine plan outlined just to be on the safe side.

Some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions in place, and many parts of Canada require masking indoors. So be sure to check regulations before arriving and plan to bring a mask.

How to prepare financially for your upcoming travel

Whether you're planning to visit Canada or somewhere else, you should make sure your personal finances are in order.

Be sure to create a vacation budget to ensure that you can afford your trip. Using a travel rewards credit card to book your trip is a great way to earn rewards on your spending.

You should also prepare for additional unexpected costs and remain flexible throughout your travels. Rules are frequently changing amid the pandemic, and you may need to pay more to travel at this time. Expenses such as COVID-19 testing and quarantine costs can add up. So make sure you've factored these extra expenses into your trip budget.

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