Where Canadians can travel abroad during COVID-19
TORONTO -- While Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel outside the country, there are plenty of countries accepting Canadian travellers with limited COVID-19 restrictions.
Most countries have COVID-19 restrictions in place for foreign travellers, Mexico and Colombia are two exceptions to this. Both of those countries require a travel form to be filled out prior to arrival but have no other COVID-19 restrictions in place for Canadian travellers.
Canada is currently restricting all travel to 16 countries. Nations on that list include Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Myanmar and Somalia; more details can be found here.
European Union member nations began accepting Canadian travellers in July. Travellers headed to most European countries will require a negative PCR test and proof of vaccination to avoid mandatory quarantine. Non-vaccinated travellers will need a negative PCR test and to quarantine for 10 to 14 days depending on the country being visited. France, the U.K., Sweden, Germany, and Austria require negative tests but are not asking Canadians to quarantine upon arrival regardless of vaccination status.
Many European countries welcoming Canadian travellers are accepting those who had mixed-and-matched vaccines as long as the vaccines were approved for use by the EU health authority or the World Health Organization (WHO). What’s considered fully vaccinated can depend on the country, so it is always best to check government websites for most up-to-date information, but currently most EU countries are accepting mixing of AstraZeneca and mRNA doses, as well as a mixing of mRNA doses.
Currently, the United States doesn’t have any vaccine requirements for travel. The land border is currently closed to non-essential travel from Canadians, but they are able to fly into the country. Canadians travelling to the U.S. from abroad must be aware of additional restrictions in place. Canadians will not be allowed to travel to the U.S. if they have travelled to India, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, or most European countries in the 14 days prior.
The land border restrictions for Canadians travelling to the U.S. are in place until Sept. 21 and may be extended. American travellers have been able to use the land border to enter Canada since Aug. 9 with proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES
Most Latin and Caribbean countries are also accepting Canadians, but travel requirements vary. Some countries will need a completed negative COVID-19 test before arrival while others will do testing upon arrival. Other countries require vaccination, and some offer COVID-19 certified accommodations to control spread.
Turks and Caicos Islands requires full vaccination and a negative test for travel to the country. They accept mix-and-match doses between mRNA and adenovector vaccines, and between mRNA doses.
Canadians travelling to Jamaica will need to provide a negative test. Travellers will need to fill out an online application within seven days prior to travel and wait for approval before entering the country.
Similarly, Saint Lucia doesn’t require vaccination for entry, but travellers must have a negative PCR test at least five days prior to visiting the country. Saint Lucia has set up special accommodations to help keep COVID-19 from spreading on the island by keeping tourists in one area during their quarantine period. For those who are fully vaccinated, they can come and go from these accommodations as they please; for partially or non-vaccinated travellers, there are restrictions of where they can travel and which excursions they can participate in at certified resorts.
Bermuda will require a negative test, and unvaccinated travellers will need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
On Aug. 10, Martinique entered a lockdown and is currently not accepting tourists.
It is important to check your destination’s restrictions before setting off as they are regularly updated.
As with other destinations, it is important to keep track of changing requirements on cruise ships. Currently, there are no cruises operating out of Canada, but Canadians can hop on board in other countries.
What is considered fully vaccinated can vary significantly by port and country, so it is important to be aware of vaccination policies while travelling.
Celebrity Cruises departing from most ports in Greece accept mixed mRNA doses, but those leaving from Athens accept mixed doses of AstraZenca and an mRNA vaccine.
Norwegian Cruise Line requires passengers to be fully vaccinated with a single brand of vaccine.
All cruises departing U.S. ports require that passengers be vaccinated by the CDC’s definition, which does not include mixing and matching AstraZeneca and an mRNA dose.
WHO CAN TRAVEL TO CANADA
Canada has currently suspended flights from India and Morocco. Otherwise, travellers entering the country must provide a negative molecular test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival, and provide proof of vaccination authorized for use in Canada to avoid a 14 day stay in quarantine.
Travellers are required to use the ArriveCAN app to upload their proof of vaccination.
There is no guarantee that travellers to Canada will be accepted at the border.
Travel insurance is always beneficial in the event travellers need medical assistance abroad, and insurance companies are now providing COVID-19 specific travel insurance.
Manulife has a pandemic travel plan and WestJet is offering complimentary COVID-19 travel insurance to travellers using their services.
Since Canada is currently advising against all non-essential travel abroad, it is best to check insurance policies to see if they will cover any COVID-19 related issues that may happen while travelling. Some insurance companies, such as TD Insurance, have coverage exemptions in place where Canadians have been advised to avoid travel.
Travel insurance coverage can also be dependent on the vaccination status of the traveller, one of Manulife’s travel insurance plans does not cover any COVID-19 related expenses for unvaccinated travellers.