Prohibition of Entry for Individuals Travelling to Canada by Air and Marine (Other than from the U.S.)
Date: August 5, 2020
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: SPB/CBSA
- Travel to Canada by air and marine modes is prohibited for all foreign nationals, unless they are exempt and not entering for an optional or discretionary purpose, until August 31.
- There are a number of exemptions to this prohibition, including (but not exclusive to):
- airline or marine crew members;
- diplomats and their immediate family;
- persons that have a valid work or study permit or for whom an application to work or study has been approved;
- persons invited by the Minister of Health that will assist with the COVID-19 response; and,
- international-to-International travel through Canada (arriving and departing from the same Canadian airport within 24 hours).
- Additionally, asymptomatic foreign nationals who are immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident are now permitted to enter Canada.
- Foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada to be with an immediate family member must abide by all public health requirements related to COVID-19, including the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- They must also establish at the time of entry that they intend to remain in Canada for a period of at least 15 days.
- Notwithstanding the exemptions, all foreign nationals are prohibited from entering if they display a fever and cough, or a fever and breathing difficulties.
On March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada issued an official global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel abroad. In an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, many governments implemented special entry and exit and movement restrictions for their territories. As a result, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
To further complement these measures, Transport Canada implemented new measures pertaining to cruise ships in Canadian waters. Cruise ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020. As of July 1, 2020, all other passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations. Passenger vessels with the capacity to carry more than 12 persons continue to be prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters (including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast) until October 31, 2020.
Restrictions for Individuals Travelling to Canada by Air and MarineOn March 22, an order came into force restricting travel of foreign nationals to Canada by air and marine from any country other than the U.S. This restriction does not apply to a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act, nor a protected person as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Specified exemptions exist for persons seeking entry for purposes that are not optional or discretionary. Despite these exemptions, persons that exhibit signs and symptoms of a fever and cough or a fever and breathing difficulties, are prohibited from boarding a flight, and entry to, Canada.
ExemptionsProvided a person is not symptomatic and not travelling for an optional or discretionary purpose, exemptions to the prohibition of entry for individuals travelling to Canada by air and marine from destinations other than the U.S. include:
- Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents;
- A holder of a valid work or study permit for Canada;
- A person whose application for permanent residence in Canada was approved and received written notice of the approval before noon (EDT) on March 18, 2020, but has not yet become a permanent resident;
- A person whose application for a work permit in Canada was approved, and who received written notice, but has not yet been issued the permit;
- A person whose application for a study permit in Canada was approved, and who received written notice of the approval before noon (EDT) on March 18, 2020, but has not yet been issued the permit;
- Crew members or those that seek entry to become a member of a crew;
- A person who is authorized, in writing, by an officer designated under subsection 6(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting immediate family members;
- Accredited diplomats and immediate family members, including representative from the United Nations and international organizations for which Canada is part of;
- A person who seeks to enter Canada to take up post as a diplomat, consular officer, representative or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies or of any intergovernmental organization of which Canada is a member, and the immediate family members of that person;
- A person who arrives at a Canadian airport aboard a commercial passenger conveyance and who is transiting to a country other than Canada and remains in a sterile transit area;
- French citizens who reside in St. Pierre and Miquelon (SPM) who has only been in SPM, the US or Canada during the period of 14 days before the day on which they arrived in Canada;
- A person or any class of persons who, in the opinion of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer:
- do not pose a risk of significant harm to the public health, or
- will provide essential service while in Canada;
- Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Canadian government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response;
- Persons who arrive by means of an aircraft operated by the Canadian Forces or the Department of National Defence;
- Members of the Canadian military, visiting forces, and their immediate family members;
- Persons or any person in a class of persons whose presence in Canada, as determined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is in the national interest;
- A student in a health field, including as a medical elective or clinical clerk at a medical teaching institution in Canada, for the primary purpose of acquiring training, if they have written approval from the body that regulates that field;
- A provider of emergency services, including medical services, for the protection or preservation of life or property;
- A licenced health care professional with proof of employment in Canada;
- A person who seeks to enter Canada for the purpose of delivering, maintaining or repairing medically-necessary equipment or devices;
- A person who seeks to enter Canada for the purpose of making medical deliveries of cells, blood and blood products, tissues, organs or other body parts, that are required for patient care in Canada during or within a reasonable period of time after the expiry of the Order; and
- A worker in the marine transportation sector who is essential for movement of goods by vessel and who seeks to enter Canada for the purpose of performing their duties in that sector.
Immediate Family Members
For the purposes of the border restrictions, the definition of immediate family member has been aligned between Orders in Council and is as follows:
- he spouse or common-law partner of the person;
- a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
- a dependent child of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b);
- the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
- the guardian or tutor of the person.
However, a foreign national simply meeting the definition of “immediate family” does not guarantee their eligibility to enter Canada. The individual travelling for a non-discretionary (essential) purpose may still enter Canada. But, foreign nationals can be exempt from the requirement to enter for an essential purpose if they can establish their intent to enter Canada to be with an immediate family member (who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident), their intent to remain in Canada for more than 15 days, and who agrees to comply with all the requirements to quarantine detailed in the Order pertaining to mandatory isolation.
International-to-International (ITI) Transit
ITI transit is allowed with some restrictions including remaining airside, not formally entering into Canada, and arriving and departing from the same Canadian airport within 24 hours. Should one of these ITI travellers have to enter into Canada through no fault of their own (e.g., onward border closures or flight cancellations), the Minister of Foreign Affairs has issued a letter of national interest to enable their temporary admission provided that they immediately self-isolate while waiting for their onward flight and report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to the Public Health Agency of Canada. These travellers are bound by the same rules as any other person entering Canada, except that their self-isolation order can be for a short duration and end when they leave Canada, provided they are asymptomatic.
This approach promotes the Government’s positive bilateral relations around the world and promotes enhanced cooperation during this crisis through reciprocal boarding on government supported repatriation flights to help Canadians come home, and foreign nationals return to their home country
Notwithstanding the exemptions, all foreign nationals are prohibited from entering if they display a fever and cough, or a fever and breathing difficulties.
In regards to the Canada-U.S. border, both governments agreed to temporarily restrict discretionary or non-essential travel across the border on March 18, 2020. An order came into effect on March 22, 2020, which was renewed on April 22, 2020 and on May 22, 2020,
June 19, 2020, and again on July 20 (until August 21, 2020); as a result, travellers continue to not be permitted to cross the border from the U.S. to Canada for tourism, recreation and entertainment. The two governments also agreed that non-discretionary or essential travel will continue, and recognized that it is critical to preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border.
Approved by: Kathy Thompson, Vice-President, Strategic Policy Branch, [Redacted]
- Date modified: