ALBANY – The United States will begin reopening its land border to vaccinated Canadian travelers Nov. 8, marking an end to a closure that stretches back to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But those who live in the U.S. have already been able to cross into their neighboring country to the north since Aug. 9, so long as they follow a set of rules set by the Canadian government.
Among them: You have to be fully vaccinated for most nonessential travel. And you’ll still have to get a test.
Here’s what you need to know before traveling to Canada from the U.S.
If your travel isn’t considered essential, Canada requires you to be fully vaccinated by the time you enter the country.
That means you must be at least 14 days removed from your second Moderna or Pfizer shot, or 14 days removed from your sole Johnson & Johnson shot. (The Canadian government also accepts the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been approved in the U.S.)
The 14-day period must be concluded before your first day of travel to Canada.
Unvaccinated travelers under the age of 12 can still enter Canada without having to quarantine so long as they are accompanied by a vaccinated traveler. If they are over the age of 5, they will still have to complete a testing requirement.
All travelers to Canada, regardless of their vaccination status or their citizenship, also have to show proof of a recent, negative COVID test before entering, according to the Canadian government.
And it can’t be a rapid antigen test, either.
Canada requires travelers to take a molecular test before entering, which includes PCR tests. That will require some planning, since the time it will take to get your results will vary depending on location.
You have to take the molecular test within 72 hours of your arrival to Canada if you’re arriving by land or sea. For air travel, it’s within 72 hours of your scheduled departure flight.
The testing requirement applies to all travelers age 5 or older.
If you had COVID within the last six months, the rules are a bit different.
Those traveling to Canada can show prove of a positive COVID test to be eligible for entry, so long as that test was from at least 14 days prior and as many as 180 days prior.
That’s meant to cover those who have recovered from COVID and are no longer infectious, as well as those who continue to test positive long after recovering.
With very limited exceptions, vaccinated travelers are required to use an application called ArriveCAN.
There, users can upload proof of their vaccination status before hitting the border crossing.
ArriveCAN can be downloaded in the Apple and Android app stores, or it can be accessed online.
There are certain circumstances where the Canadian government will allow unvaccinated U.S. citizens to enter, including if they have a close family member (like a spouse) who is a Canadian citizen living in Canada.
But in many of those circumstances, the person traveling to Canada must commit to a 14-day quarantine upon entering the country.
To check if you’re eligible to enter the country and what the requirements are once you arrive, visit the Canadian government’s website.
More:US will allow vaccinated foreign tourists to enter Nov. 8, launching new international travel system
Jon Campbell is the New York State Team editor for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
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