Due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, land border travel between the United States and Canada has been restricted since March 21, 2020, and will likely continue through at least January 21, 2021. Individuals may not be admitted for tourism or other non-essential reasons. For the most part, work has been considered an essential activity. Until recently, however, the restrictions have not affected those flying between Canada and the U.S.
Starting January 7, 2021, due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's new policy requires those flying to Canada to show a negative COVID-19 test. Passengers five and older will need to provide proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19, taken within 72 hours of flight departure, prior to boarding a flight to Canada. Absent that documentation, individuals will be denied boarding. Once they have arrived in Canada, the travelers will be subject to Canada's 14-day quarantine rules. Those showing indications of illness will be referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada for further assessment and screening. Canada aggressively enforces its quarantine rules and violations can result in possible jail time and up to $750,000 in fines.
Canada, like the United States, had banned travel from the United Kingdom based on the new strain of COVID-19 that was identified there. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to release a universal testing requirement like Canada's by the end of January: all individuals flying in from abroad, including U.S. citizens, would have to present a negative COVID-19 test.
Other countries also have been strictly patrolling their borders due to the COVID-19 uptick. Following is a sample:
- Many countries have instituted bans on those arriving from the UK.
- Israel has banned the entry of all foreigners, including U.S. citizens who are not Israeli citizens or permanent residents.
- Japan has introduced similar restrictions.
- The United States is expected to require negative COVID-19 tests for all international visitors, including U.S. citizens returning from abroad.
Travel restrictions are changing quickly to meet safety measures during the pandemic. Individuals should check relevant sources for travel updates prior to undertaking any travel, international or domestic, including embassy websites, Department of State travel pages, state COVID-19 websites, the CDC, and specific airline companies.
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