Details: US & Canada Border Reopening

Details: US & Canada Border Reopening

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The border between the United States and Canada has been largely closed for non-essential travelers since March 2020, with no timeline until recently for when that could change. The border closure has always been extended by a month at a time, and as of now the border is closed through July 21, 2021.

Well, at long last there’s a glimmer of hope of the border between the two countries reopening, as we have our first concrete dates for policies changing.

Canada opening to vaccinated travelers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally announced when the country will be opening to fully vaccinated travelers:

  • Canada will be opening to fully vaccinated Americans as of August 9, 2021
  • Canada will be opening to fully vaccinated travelers from around the globe as of September 7, 2021

You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after having received your last dose of a vaccine approved by Canada.

The United States hasn’t yet made an official announcement about when Canadians will be allowed to visit, though I’m sure that will follow shortly. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the United States open to all Canadians, and not just vaccinated ones, as the US hasn’t implemented any travel policies based on vaccination status up until now.

All of this comes as Canada has made amazing progress with vaccinations, and has even surpassed the United States in terms of percentage of population vaccinated (admittedly Canada has a much smaller population). While the country had a slow start, at this point it’s doing very well, with a vast majority of eligible Canadians having received at least one dose.

Vaccinated Americans are soon able to visit Canada again

Restrictions have been on Canada’s side

In many countries we’ve seen that border reopenings have been political, especially when it comes to reciprocity. That’s to say that a country may no longer feel a travel restriction is needed, but it also doesn’t want to lift restrictions without reciprocity.

It sure seems to me that this is what has been going on here for a long time. The United States doesn’t really have a reason to have a travel ban against Canada, but probably hasn’t wanted to formally lift restrictions without it being reciprocal:

  • Canada’s government has been trying to discourage travel and movement in general, including requiring a quarantine for those arriving from low-risk countries (this restriction is finally being eased for vaccinated travelers)
  • The United States has been allowing tourists from Canada, but only by air, and not via land borders
  • The United States hasn’t had any travel restrictions based on vaccination status (and doesn’t intend to), unlike Canada

So all the reports we’ve seen up until now make it clear that the United States has been open to reopening borders with Canada, but the Canadian government has wanted to wait until the country reached a certain level of vaccination. With Canada now starting to open to vaccinated travelers, hopefully that becomes reciprocal.

Canada has taken a cautious approach to reopening

Bottom line

Canada will be reopening to vaccinated Americans as of August 9, and will then be opening to vaccinated travelers from the rest of the world as of September 7. It’s anyone’s guess when the country opens to non-vaccinated travelers.

While the United States hasn’t yet formally announced reopening dates for the Canadian border, I imagine we’ll learn more soon, and that current restrictions won’t be in place much longer.

What do you make of the timeline for travel restrictions being lifted?

Conversations (33)
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  1. YULtide Gold

    "Canada has made amazing progress with vaccinations, and has even surpassed the United States in terms of percentage of population vaccinated (admittedly Canada has a much smaller population)."

    The size of the population isn't the issue. If it were, Tennessee would be rather higher than 38% fully vaccinated. In spite of the US having early access to vaccines, a number of countries are well ahead in terms of vaccine progress.

    Enjoy the fifth wave.

  2. mark Guest

    Do you need a covid test to return to the usa if you do land travel?

  3. Daniel D Guest

    Here is the excerpt from Canada's website about needing a pre-arrival negative covid test regardless of vaccination status (quite annoying in my opinion and makes it not worth it):

    "All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result. However effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travellers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border...

    Here is the excerpt from Canada's website about needing a pre-arrival negative covid test regardless of vaccination status (quite annoying in my opinion and makes it not worth it):

    "All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result. However effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travellers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers."

    Comes from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/07/government-of-canada-announces-easing-of-border-measures-for-fully-vaccinated-travellers.html

  4. Daniel D Guest

    I believe fully vaccinated Americans will still need to have a pre-departure negative test to enter Canada. This is why I will probably not be going to Canada yet even though I live in Seattle, as this is just not convenient at all.

  5. DenB Platinum

    This "details" article might have mentioned: On August 9, fully vaccinated legal residents of US and some others, not just "Americans", will be eligible to enter Canada. Canada's definition of "fully vaccinated" differs from the US (Canada uses an international standard whereas the US does not). Each traveller must install the ArriveCan app on her/his phone and obey it. You must upload documents. You must have a quarantine plan, in case the 28-year-old uniformed border...

    This "details" article might have mentioned: On August 9, fully vaccinated legal residents of US and some others, not just "Americans", will be eligible to enter Canada. Canada's definition of "fully vaccinated" differs from the US (Canada uses an international standard whereas the US does not). Each traveller must install the ArriveCan app on her/his phone and obey it. You must upload documents. You must have a quarantine plan, in case the 28-year-old uniformed border guard (judge, jury, executioner. no appeal) decides you don't pass muster. There's a lot of research to do before appearing at the airline check-in desk, or at the Rainbow Bridge. Canadian public opinion is stupidly xenophobic right now, with most supporting the border closure.

  6. Adam Guest

    Any idea what the poly is for children (12 and under)???

    1. Arie Guest

      Yes they announced that children under 12 who's parents are fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine but are going to be encouraged to stay away from large gatherings. So basically exempt.

  7. Rebekah Needlehime Guest

    Well I am an American citizen of 66 years and have to our beloved Canadian neighbor
    since I was in diapers! I practically grew up in Canada, fishing on the lovely island of
    Manitoulin every year! Generations of my family always enjoyed Canada and when asked
    by others why? We say it is so serene, beautiful and the people on the island wait to see
    us, like family.
    It really...

    Well I am an American citizen of 66 years and have to our beloved Canadian neighbor
    since I was in diapers! I practically grew up in Canada, fishing on the lovely island of
    Manitoulin every year! Generations of my family always enjoyed Canada and when asked
    by others why? We say it is so serene, beautiful and the people on the island wait to see
    us, like family.
    It really hurts that we have missed 2 years out of our lives without being able to go to
    Canada and then to hear , see and read all the awful bickering coming from both sides is so sad!
    My dad just passed away this past May at 92 years of age and by the way caught tons of beautiful lake trout since early 1940's on Lake Manitou where I have fished too. Before he passed he sadly looked up at me and said, "honey I know you can't fish in Canada again this year and I am so sorry"". Even though dad could not travel anymore he was always excited for my husband and I to get ready for our annual fishing trip to the island so when we got back we could tell him all about it.
    All of us are hurting but the bickering and blaming from both sides is awful! Can we just stop and love one another like the bible says?! We pray daily that man will realize that he is just man with only a few short decades on the earth and our soul purpose is to shine for the Lord. Eternity people is FOREVER so what you do on this earth to others will come back to bite you in the end.
    I am also a registered nurse practicing for decades so I know about health issues and the like.

  8. Islander Guest

    Canadians don’t want the border to open for a number of reasons.
    Low levels of vaccinations in many of the mid- west states. 500 counties of the 2500 counties have less that 35% vaccination rate and the Delta variant beginning to quickly spread to the unvaccinated..
    Many states provide somewhat dubious vaccine records and working actively against any standard vaccine records that are internationally acceptable.
    Trudeau is looking at a possible fall...

    Canadians don’t want the border to open for a number of reasons.
    Low levels of vaccinations in many of the mid- west states. 500 counties of the 2500 counties have less that 35% vaccination rate and the Delta variant beginning to quickly spread to the unvaccinated..
    Many states provide somewhat dubious vaccine records and working actively against any standard vaccine records that are internationally acceptable.
    Trudeau is looking at a possible fall “snap” election and opening the border is not going to gain him any love or votes.
    Canadians still harbour a degree of bitterness from the “Trump” years that results in lack of traction in getting much support for reopening.
    Recent survey: https://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/2021.05.26_US-Border_Vaccine-Certificate.pdf

  9. Always Flying Somewhere Guest

    @Ben

    Your post neglects to mention that the United States requires a negative test from all international arrivals - regardless of vaccination status. So, unless Canada significantly changes its entry rules, there won't be reciprocity. For example, current rules allow vaccinated Canadians to enter Canada and avoid quarantine, but only with a negative pre- and post-arrival PCR test. The U.S. allows antigen tests.

    1. CJW Guest

      Thanks AFS - this test before return to US (requiring sourcing/paying-for, waiting for testing while on vacation abroad), in addition to Canadian testing requirements upon entry, is also a deterrent to our family to travel to Canada anytime soon as tourists on vacation even though we are all vaccinated (and we really want to go!). Too much risk of getting stuck in a 14-day quarantine in Canada - as required by either gov't. Push us back another year.

    2. Andy 11235 Guest

      The negative test is required to board commercial transportation destined for the US -- once you have shown it to the airline, you are done. The US does not (and has never) required a test to cross the land border.

  10. Cedric Guest

    Big question is what will happen with kids under 12. As it stands they are not exempt from quanrantine since they are not vaccinated...read can't get vaccinated...

  11. Suzanne Guest

    This is welcomed news. I had a Toronto trip bought and paid for June 2020 and my hotel would only extend my credit to Sept 1, 2021, So I have reservations for August 27th - NOT hedging my bets. I am fully vaccinated and will be hoping that 25% of 1 dose Canadians get that second dose quickly, and then I hope the US let's me back in.

  12. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    Misleading headline on this post.
    Current headline is "US & Canada Border To Reopen In Mid-August".
    Corrected headline should be: "US & Canada Border Might Reopen In Mid-August"

    I read Trudeau's comments. If you look at them, it's clear that this is not a done deal, he merely refers to "goals", "hopes" and "plans."

    Note all the squishy weasel words that even you used:

    "With the latest plan, the goal is for borders...

    Misleading headline on this post.
    Current headline is "US & Canada Border To Reopen In Mid-August".
    Corrected headline should be: "US & Canada Border Might Reopen In Mid-August"

    I read Trudeau's comments. If you look at them, it's clear that this is not a done deal, he merely refers to "goals", "hopes" and "plans."

    Note all the squishy weasel words that even you used:

    "With the latest plan, the goal is for borders to reopen as of mid-August 2021..."

    "Canada also plans to open to vaccinated travelers from other countries as of early September 2021..."

    We've seen lots of countries express hopes and goals and plans about opening, only to have those pushed back or abandoned. While I agree that Trudeau's comments are very welcome and potentially a big improvement (and I like the guy and think he's generally doing a good job), lets stay realistic and remember how squishy things actually are until something concrete changes. Personally, my hope, goal and plan is to visit Canada soon -- but I wouldn't make any non-refundable travel plans just yet.

  13. CJW Guest

    I'm interested in the details of how the Canadians do it. Will they require an app with an upload of a a vaccine card and some sort of additional validation of vaccination. Will they just accept/trust a hard copy vaccine card. I don't care but there's some political sensitivity for others around the words "vaccine passport." Regardless, hoping to take my vaccinated US family to Victoria in September - fingers crossed!!

    1. david Guest

      Based on recently re-entering Canada, the current requirement is that prior to entry into Canada, you upload an image of your vax card to the ArriveCan app in addition to answering a bunch of questions about how you would quarantine in Canada if you were to test positive at the border. You also have to confirm that you have received a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to your entry time (or flight...

      Based on recently re-entering Canada, the current requirement is that prior to entry into Canada, you upload an image of your vax card to the ArriveCan app in addition to answering a bunch of questions about how you would quarantine in Canada if you were to test positive at the border. You also have to confirm that you have received a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to your entry time (or flight departure time, if flying). Then, at the border (or airport, I guess, but we drove), you take a Covid test (self administered at land borders, though with instructions). You also have to make an account with the test provider to do this, and it can be easier to do this in advance (we had not, and this was a bit annoying to do on the spot). You are then free to go, without quarantining. Though if your border test comes back positive (we received our negative results within 24 hours of entering), you have to enter quarantine.

      The whole process at the border was quite slow, even though rules for who can enter are still pretty restrictive. They're going to have to figure out a faster way to do things once they open to vaccinated Americans or lines at the border are going to be truly dreadful. Also, weirdly, they never actually made us show them our proof of negative test from the previous 72 hours (though we had it with us of course). I wouldn't count on that, though - presumably they can ask and its certainly required.

    2. CJW Guest

      The prospect of a non-symptomatic positive test immediately after-crossing the border for a planned 5-day trip requiring a 14 day quarantine once there would be a deal breaker for us (we're all vaccinated since late May). 2 years worth of unused travel budgeting would not get spent there. Completely appreciate the magnitude of the issues weighing on those that make the rules.

    3. david Guest

      The announcement yesterday includes a change to the protocol - most people will no longer have to take a test at the border (a few people will be randomly selected to do so). Which is great, if for no other reason than that a large increase in the number of border crossers was going to make testing at the border a nightmare unless they figured out a much more efficient system than the one they had going on when we crossed.

  14. V Cooper Guest

    Does not the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA's President and politicians get to decide what the US Border restrictions are???? So, why is it that Trudeau, et al, are being blamed for the US border restricting anyone from entering the US via land borders? Biden can open the land border - he is just choosing to not decide. If the US border opens to Canadians, vaxed or not, that is up to the US... if someone...

    Does not the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA's President and politicians get to decide what the US Border restrictions are???? So, why is it that Trudeau, et al, are being blamed for the US border restricting anyone from entering the US via land borders? Biden can open the land border - he is just choosing to not decide. If the US border opens to Canadians, vaxed or not, that is up to the US... if someone enters the US, and then want to return to Canada, it is their choice to do so, with the knowledge that they face Canadian quarantine if not vaccinated. STOP blaming Canada for the US locking the border - blame Biden. He can open it entering the USA.

    1. Mark Guest

      If the US opened the land border but Canada didn't... well you see the issue, you'll be stuck forever...

    2. mon Guest

      lol.. canada closed border with the u.s. with trump.... Canada is only open to opening because vaccine rates in the u.s. and domestically..... the us has wanted borders to be opened for a while but canada didn't want to.... it takes two decisions to open the border here, one from canada and another from the u.s..... as of now only America is open to it Canada, not so much

  15. Stephen Morrissey Guest

    Canadians are nice people but we suck at math...

  16. DLPTATL Guest

    Hi Lucky - Good news on the upcoming border opening. There's something wrong with the stats on vaccinated Canadians as presented with a higher fully vaccinated % than one shot+ % - "While the country had a slow start, at this point 80% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, while 53% have received at least one vaccine dose."

  17. Jason Guest

    "at this point 80% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, while 53% have received at least one vaccine dose."
    Got the two parentages backward, eh?

    1. Luke Guest

      The real number is 68% got their first dose and 36% got their second. Hence only 36% is fully vaccinated!

      Source:
      https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/

    2. JDee New Member

      Depends on the source, apparently. According to the data on this link, as of 2 days ago 47.6% of Canadians were fully vaccinated

      https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=covid+vaccination+rates+by+country

    3. Bob Guest

      The real numbers are here.
      Bloomberg has been wrong for weeks

      https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html

  18. EC2 Guest

    “at this point 80% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, while 53% have received at least one vaccine dose.”

    Doesn’t make sense.

    1. Cedric Guest

      Canada favoured giving 1 dose to as many people since vaccines where in short supply ar first.

    2. Florian Guest

      Yeah they administered the second shot first to save time. :-) :-)

    3. DT Guest

      Fully vaccinated, in terms of having received both doses of the MRNA vaccines, as opposed to a single dose.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Dan Guest

Sir this is an Arby's.

3
Florian Guest

Yeah they administered the second shot first to save time. :-) :-)

1
Stephen Morrissey Guest

Canadians are nice people but we suck at math...

1
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