United States-Canada COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Jackson Lewis P.C.
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The United States-Canada border is not only the world’s longest international border, but it includes some of the busiest commercial crossings in North America. New travel restrictions have been implemented as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Non-Essential Travel Ban

The land border has been closed to “non-essential” travel since March 2020 due to COVID-19. Restrictions include:

  • Individuals are not admitted for tourism, sightseeing, recreation, gambling, attending cultural events, or other non-essential purposes. They are admitted for “essential” purposes, which include travel for work, medical reasons, to attend educational institutions, and diplomatic or military related travel.
  • Citizens or permanent residents of the country they are entering are excepted from the ban.
  • Testing Requirements
    • Anyone entering Canada at a land port of entry must show a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of seeking entry.
    • No parallel testing requirement for entering U.S. land ports of entry.

The “non-essential” travel ban does not apply to individuals entering the United States or Canada by air. However, testing requirements apply:

Quarantine Requirements

While the U.S. government has the authority to enforce quarantines upon entry, the current CDC guidelines have no specific penalties for failure to comply. Canada regulations, on the other hand, include penalties.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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