Canada announces strict new entry requirements

Dec 31, 2020

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Canada is announcing strict new entry requirements for all international arrivals. The news comes as a new strain of COVID-19 first identified in the U.K. that spreads even more easily is showing up in more and more countries including Canada.

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Canada will now require anyone arriving from outside the country to have a negative PCR test result to enter the country taken within three days of arrival.

That is in addition to a required two-week quarantine for all arrivals. Many countries are now requiring a negative COVID-19 test for arrivals, but a PCR test AND a quarantine are rare.

Canada’s Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic Leblanc held a press conference Wednesday, Dec. 30 where the change was announced.

Canada has been extremely urgent in messaging around the pandemic, strongly advising against unnecessary travel. Americans have been banned from Canada since March. The border between the United States and Canada remains closed through at least Jan. 21, 2021.

Related: Canada keeping its border closed

The Canadian government says that the border will likely remain closed until COVID-19 cases stop climbing in the U.S.

Related: Crossing the Canadian border during the early days of the pandemic

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a news conference in Ottawa, “We strongly advise against travel unless absolutely necessary. If you must travel, understand that upon your return, you must follow guidelines and quarantine for 14 days. It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s the law. And if you don’t, it can result in serious consequences.”

In fact, fines of up to $588,000 ($750K Canadian) are possible.

Most foreign nationals, including Americans, are not welcome except for those who have dual citizenship or are Canadian residents. Any foreigner attempting to enter Canada for reasons of tourism, recreation or entertainment will be turned away. Certain immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens are able to enter Canada with government authorization for a stay of 15 days or more and the required self-quarantine.

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide.

Additional reporting by Donna Heiderstadt. 

Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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