Immigration Corner | Know before you go
Dear Miss Powell,
I’m a regular reader and I have a quick question. My visitor’s visa to Canada is going to expire soon, and so I want to visit before it expires. The problem is that I don’t have any relatives there, and I’m not sure if visitors from Jamaica will be allowed in. Can you please let me know if the borders are open? Will I need to pay to stay at a quarantine hotel? Thank you in advance.
The Canadian government has announced a staged approach to accepting international visitors or tourists into the country. I will outline below some of the things you need to know before you come to Canada.
Tourists to Canada will be allowed to enter Canada after August 9, via most provincial airports, but individuals will be required to meet certain requirements. The three-day hotel quarantine requirement will also be removed on that day, for fully vaccinated travellers. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will not be exempted from testing, hotel stopover or quarantine. Travellers entering Canada who have not received the full series of a vaccine, or a combination of vaccines accepted by the government of Canada, will be subject to the 14-day quarantine rule, if not exempted.
Fully vaccinated USA citizens and residents with a green card who reside in the USA may enter Canada for nonessential travel or as tourists, starting on August 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT. All other foreign nationals who qualify as being fully vaccinated, such as Jamaican, Ugandan, Barbadian and Trinidadian citizens, and residents, will be authorised to enter Canada after September 7. Individuals must qualify as being fully vaccinated to enter and avoid hotel quarantine restrictions.
FULLY VACCINATED TRAVELLERS
Travellers are considered fully vaccinated if they received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine a minimum of 14 days prior to the day that you enter Canada. You will only be allowed to enter if you have proof of the following vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2), Moderna (mRNA-1273), AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222), Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S). You will be admitted if you a combination of these vaccines.
Not all vaccinations are currently recognised in Canada. The vaccines that are not approved at this time for travel to Canada are Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C), Cansino (Convidecia, Ad5-nCoV), Gamalaya (Sputnik V, Gam-Covid-Vac), Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV, Sinopharm-Wuhan), Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc) and the Vector Institute (EpiVacCorona).
The government has indicated that the list of accepted vaccines is subject to change, and so you should follow me on social media to get the latest updates as soon as they are released.
NEGATIVE PCR TEST
Visitors must be asymptomatic and individuals five years and over, regardless of citizenship, must have a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time. This will be verified by the airlines at the check-in. All travellers, including those who are fully vaccinated, must provide one of the accepted types of tests, not an antigen test. If you are flying via the USA, you must ensure that the test was conducted within the 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada. If you have a long layover, you may need to retake the test in your transit city.
It is your duty to ensure that you have a valid PCR test result from an approved laboratory in your home country to avoid being fined approximately CDN$20,000 and be barred from entering Canada for providing false information. Most hotels and some laboratories offer the PCR test on-site. You may find a list of approved testing centres at www.visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization/testing-labs/.
Some provinces may have added restrictions for entering and the activities that are permitted during your stay. For example, visitors to New Foundland and Labrador will be required to complete a travel form prior to entering. This may be found at https://travel-declaration.nlchi.nl.ca/.
You do not need to have a relative in Canada or an invitation letter to come to Canada. However, you will need to provide information about the hotel where you will be staying and details of your quarantine plan, should your on-arrival PCR test be positive.
1. Three days before your departure, upload your proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN application. You should also travel with the original proof of vaccination.
2. Take and provide a negative PCR-test result, even if you have received an approved vaccine.
3. Present your code from ArriveCan to the airlines and Border Security Officer
4. Check to see if the province you are entering has added requirements
5. Wear a mask to board and during flight
6. Do a free on-arrival PCR-test
7. You will be provided with additional instructions on arrival.
If you require additional information, I recommend that you consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer directly.
Deidre S. Powell is a Canadian immigration lawyer with office located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Connect with her via social media or via her website at www.deidrepowell.com Telephone/WhatsApp - 613-695-8777