Fully Vaccinated Americans can enter Canada?

Effective today (August 9, 2021), fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents of the United States can enter Canada and skip some of the quarantine rules. The rest of the world (i.e. other foreign nationals) will tentatively have restrictions eased on September 7, 2021. But it doesn’t work the other way around when Canadians want to enter the United States. The U.S. border is still closed to Canada until at least August 21, 2021.

Below are some details on what the current rules are and they don’t seem as straightforward as we might think.

To qualify for travel restrictions exemption

To be fully exempted from certain travel restrictions (see next section), these are some of the rules to follow, the traveller must:

  • be eligible to enter Canada (i.e. an American citizen and permanent resident of the United States, who currently reside in and will be travelling from the U.S., and who qualify as fully vaccinated)
  • have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  • have received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines:
    • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
    • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
    • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
    • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
  • have received the last dose at least 14 days prior to the day when entering Canada
  • upload proof of vaccination to ArriveCAN
  • (all travellers 5 years and older) provide negative test result 72 hours prior to entering Canada by land or 72 hours prior to boarding a flight departing to Canada

Exempted Travel Restrictions

If the traveller fulfilled all the conditions, they can be exempt from:

  • 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement
  • 3 night hotel quarantine stopover (for air travellers)
  • day-8 testing requirement

Which means they can enter Canada more easily and go straight to what they plan to do.

Exceptions to the rule

Even though the rules have eased a bit, Americans will still continue to be denied entry into Canada for discretionary (i.e. optional) reasons such as:

  • leisure, tourism, visiting friends
  • social gatherings, weddings
  • being a property owner in Canada

The Canadian Government website has a useful tool to determine whether someone qualifies to enter Canada. I did a sample just for fun and this is the results that I received:

a screenshot of a computer

I do want to note that I am seeing some conflicting information on the rules. For example, CBC was reporting on a couple: “As soon as they get their test results, the couple plans to cross into Canada and stay at their much-missed B.C. home for six months.” So can American cross the border more easily (for leisure reasons) than before, along with skipping the quarantine requirements? Then how come the rules still state that American cannot come across the border even though they are a “property owner in Canada” (see screenshot below, I put a red rectangle around the relevant section). Regardless of what the actual rule is, my guess is that border agents are only going to have a hard time denying entry into Canada when the person reaches the border.

a screenshot of a medical survey


It goes without saying that there are probably some mixed feelings about the loosening of travel restrictions. Either way, on the one hand, I think it is good to get the economy going again, along with more freedom of movement. In a way, we are not gaining anything by this, it is more like going closer back to the “old normal” (with all the talk about “new normal”).

On the other hand, there is the whole fear of the 4th wave? So is the Canadian Government opening up too soon?

Personally, I have a hard time taking a firm position on either side. My personal preference is to go back to normal and if nothing goes wrong, then it was probably the right decision. But I have a hard time stomaching it if it costs even 1 life, especially if that one person was someone close to me. Perhaps the whole fear mongering that some people are accusing news agencies of doing is getting to me? But continued travel and movement restrictions does not feel right either right?

What are your thoughts on this matter? Please let us know in the comment section below!


  1. False Alarm – the website in your story isn’t updated. If you try to fill out the ArriveCan app, you will see a new option “Discretionary/optional travel by fully vaccinated US citizen, US permanent resident or resident of St. Pierre and Miquelon”

    1. Awesome, thanks for the heads up Alex. Since the Canadian border is even more open to U.S. residents, it gives more arguments to people who already have concerns about incoming issues. While we still can’t go to the U.S.!!

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