canada reopening borders

Canada not opening borders for tourism until at least January 2021

Disclaimer: Travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.

Canadian borders remain closed for tourism. Only essential travelers, extended family members, international students, and few other exceptions are allowed to enter Canada at the moment.

While it is difficult to know when international travelers will be welcome again, the government is putting in place a series of measures that reveal they are getting prepared for a reopening.

For the time being, the Canada-U.S. border closure to non-essential travel has been extended again until December 21.

(Spanish version: Reapertura de Canada para el turismo – Restricciones de viaje)

Join our COVID Travel Support FB Group

Canada Reopening – Latest Updates

Canada travel restrictions

November 26 – New entry restrictions

(Officially updated on Nov 21)

All travelers entering the country must provide their COVID-19 and travel related info and their quarantine plan before arrival. 

To do so, they should use the new ArriveCAN app or on the ArriveCAN website. They can also call 1-833-641-0343 to submit the required information. 

Once in the country, visitors have 48 hours to confirm they have arrived at the place designated in their quarantine plan.

Following that confirmation, they must complete a daily self-assessment of coronavirus symptoms and submit it to the country’s health authorities.

(Source: Forbes)

October 31 – Canada reopening land borders with some US states

Starting on October 31, residents of Campobello Island, New Brunswick; Stewart, B.C.; Northwest Angle, Minnesota; and Hyder, Alaska, are allowed to enter Canada without the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Yet, the border will remain closed till January, at least.

October 8 – Canada-U.S. Border reopening

Canada is reportedly not reopening its borders with the United States until that country is able to control the spread of the virus in its territory, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a few weeks ago.

On the other hand, Alberta is running a pilot strategy in which visitors will be able to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and if it comes back negative, the quarantine period will be shortened to only 48 hours.

October 6

Canada started partially reopening its borders to certain groups of visitors and students in October.

Ministers Marco Mendicino, Bill Blair, and Patty Hajdu announced on October 2 that Canada will be reopening its borders to selected groups of international travelers under specific regulations and restrictions.

  • Extended family members.
  • Partners who have been dating a Canadian for at least 1 year and their dependent family members.
  • Non-relative foreign nationals with specific circumstances.
  • On October 20, also international students will be able to enter if they are attending studies at a learning institution that has a COVID-19 plan and it’s authorized by the government.


September 19

Canada had 141,911 positive COVID cases and 123,723 deaths caused by the virus. By then the country was reporting from 700 – 1000 new cases daily.

When is the Canada-U.S. border reopening?

The Canadian government has officially extended the border ban until December 21.

When is the U.S. reopening for tourism?
Is Mexico open for tourism?
France reopening – Who can enter now?

COVID-19 in Canada

Covid situation in Canada

Canada, like all nations throughout the world, has suffered greatly as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As of November 26, the country has reported 342,444 cases and 11,618 deaths.

As expected, the crisis hit certain areas of the country harder – namely those areas that were more populated.

Canada has been generally praised for its response to COVID. The country managed to keep its confirmed cases relatively low. Like many western countries, its rate of COVID-positive cases has been declining.

Canada’s Borders Remain Closed

Canada reopening - travel restrictions

Canada’s borders are closed to nonessential travel and tourism. Indeed, they have been closed since mid-March. The long border between the United States and Canada – the longest non-militarized border in the world – also remains closed.

Indeed, the border closure was just reextended for a fifth time, with the new deadline for reopening December 21. As was noted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the move was designed to protect both countries from furthering the spread of COVID.

There are some exceptions, including visiting family members or international students. Business exceptions only exist for essential work.

In other words, if you can conduct business via Zoom, you should, because you will not be allowed entry into Canada.

For non-U.S. travelers, the same basic restrictions apply. Travel restrictions for other foreigners are currently in place. Please consult your embassy.

It is highly possible for these restrictions to be extended again. There are, however, some exceptions.

Who Can Travel To Canada

Canada’s shutdown measures are severe – in many cases, you cannot even get into the country if you have a family member who is dying.

There are some exceptions, but they are mostly related to essential workers or people who regularly travel to Canada for work.

The country is hearing appeals via letter, however, so it is possible to have someone review your case and allow you entry that way.

Canadian nationals who are abroad are allowed to return to Canada. However, no one – including Canadian nationals – will be allowed to enter the country if they show any signs of COVID-19.

Regardless of who is coming to Canada, and for what reason, all people entering the country are required to adhere to certain conditions before being able to move freely. These includes,

  • Filling out basic screening information.
  • Quarantining for 14 days. This means no contact with anyone who is medically compromised or older than 65.
  • If you show symptoms of COVID-19, you will be asked to isolate for 14 days, which essentially means no contact with anyone.

You will be interviewed at the border by border guards and asked to comply with these measures, as well as asked if you have access to all of the necessary resources  to safely quarantine.

Failure to adhere to these restrictions can result in significant fines or jail time.

How safe is to visit Canada now?

Canada is at warning level 4 by the CDC organization. Any kind of traveling to Canada is not recommended due to high risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. (

What activities are allowed in the country?

Canada reopening - travel restrictions

Like other places around the world, the Canadian tourism industry has taken a massive hit during this time. As noted by many news reports, the industry has been in terrible shape since the start of this pandemic.

Many locations have closed altogether, and the industry, as a whole, is advocating for significant financial help.

As a result of the closures, Canada’s tourism industry has shifted gears, promoting internal tourism and spending $30 million to encourage Canadians to go on local vacations – or “staycations” – that involves spending money within the country’s borders.

The good news is that many places are now open. For example, the vast majority of Niagara Falls’ attractions are now open for business.

The same applies to the CN Tower in Toronto. Indeed, most tourist attractions are open, but for internal visitations only.

Unfortunately, if you are planning on traveling to Canada for recreational reasons, you won’t be able to do so just yet.

The good news is that the country does have a better grasp of the COVID crisis than other countries, including their neighbors to the south. As such, hopefully, you’ll be able to travel to the country in the near future.