Canada has officially opened the Canada–United States border to visitors for the first time in over a year. Canada had closed its borders during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fully vaccinated United States citizens and permanent residents have been able to travel to the country since 12:01 a.m. Monday.
Both Canadians and Americans are exuberant over the opportunity to see those they love as well as the potential resurgence of tourism. Asawari Kaur, who lives in Indiana with her family, waited at the Ambassador’s Bridge in Detroit, Michigan until the border had reopened in order to see her brother who lives in Canada. Her family had not seen him in over a year due to the pandemic. Kaur told the Detroit Free Press “We were all so eagerly waiting for that day. As soon as it hits midnight, we’re gonna enter the border.”
Joel Villanueva, who owns and operates Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock, British Columbia, expressed excitement over the influx of new and returning customers coming in from across the border: “Let’s get this thing going,” he said, adding that “a lot of our customers are from the United States and we are literally minutes from across the border. We welcome our Americans and we depend on their foot traffic.”
How do you cross the Canada — United States Border now that it’s open?
Although the borders are officially reopened, travel across them is not without restrictions. If you plan on visiting Canada, you will have to submit proof of vaccination to the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN digital platform at least 72 hours ahead of your arrival in the country, regardless of whether you are traveling by car or plane.
In other words, you will need to be fully vaccinated to cross the border into Canada, with your last shot administered at least 14 days before your anticipated arrival.
If you plan on visiting Canada with a child who is under the age of 12 and cannot yet receive the vaccine, they can enter with you so long as you are fully vaccinated and otherwise eligible to cross the border.
If you have health conditions that make you unable to receive the vaccine you can apply to enter the country with specific quarantine and testing requirements determined by the Canadian government. All visitors — whether vaccinated or unvaccinated — must upload a negative coronavirus test result to the ArriveCAN platform along with their travel information.
You will also of course need a valid passport to visit Canada. A tourist visa is not necessary for trips under 180 days in length. If your passport is expired or you are attempting to get your first one, be advised that passport appointments have been severely delayed, and the current wait time is between 12 to 18 weeks.