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Navigating Road Travel: Canadian Border & COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated 12/9/2021

The Canadian government closed the Canada-U.S. border to all nonessential road traffic last March, 2020. The only way to determine for certain if you will be allowed to enter Canada is to physically drive to a port of entry at the border and request permission to enter given the proper documentation is in-hand for inspection by border officials. Visit this page for the most recent travel information from the Government of Canada.

NEW UPDATE 12/7/2021: Temporary border restrictions and measures to address COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern. There are new requirements for all fully vaccinated travellers who have been in any country other than Canada and the United States in the 14 days prior to entry to Canada. Fully vaccinated travellers who are selected for arrival testing must quarantine in a suitable place until they receive a negative test result. The Government of Canada is increasing the number of fully vaccinated travellers being selected for testing to reach 100% of vaccinated travellers in the coming weeks.

Requirements for unvaccinated travellers remain unchanged.

UPDATE 10/1/2021:Traveling to Canada through Tok? Be advised that you must obtain a PCR test before arriving at the border. PCR testing is not available in Tok. It is highly recommended that you obtain testing in your home community, Anchorage, or Fairbanks beforehand. You may also call ahead and schedule a test at the Interior Alaska Medical Clinic in Delta Junction by calling (907) 895-6233. Due to high testing volumes, scheduling a test ahead of time is necessary. Please keep in mind that test results can take up to 72 hours. For more information: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/covid-vaccinated-travellers-entering-canada

UPDATE 8/9/2021: Beginning August 9th, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. EDT, fully vaccinated United States (U.S.) citizens and permanent residents are eligible to enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) reasons, such as tourism. PRIOR TO TRAVEL, please review requirements found in this Canada Border Services Agency news release: Travel Advisory: REMINDER – On August 9th, new public health measures will come into force affecting travel to Canada

UDPATE 7/19/2021: The Government of Canada is prioritizing the health and safety of everyone in Canada by taking a risk-based and measured approach to re-opening our borders. The Government of Canada is able to now move forward with adjusted border measures. For more details, please review this Public Health Agency of Canada news release: Government of Canada announces easing of border measures for fully vaccinated travellers.

Remember that driving through Canada means crossing an international border and entering a foreign country, which means being subject to another country’s laws and policies. You also need to be aware of Alaska’s requirements, so before you travel, see the Safe Travels page for travel requirements in accordance with current State of Alaska mandates.

  • Canada Border – Those traveling to the Canadian border should contact the Canada Border Services Agency. Outside Canada call: 1-204-983-3500 (Long distance charges may apply). Officers are available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (local time) except holidays, should callers require additional information. You may also visit: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html
  • Canada will be easing border restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans and US permanent residents on August 9, 2021. It is important to note that this applies only to those who are currently residing in, and traveling from, the United States. More information here.

    • September 7, 2021, Canada plans to open its borders to any fully vaccinated travelers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - WHAT TO EXEPT - WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING
  1. You must have a valid passport and driver’s license to enter Canada.
  2. You must have an adequate cloth mask or face covering.
  3. To enter Canada, you must have no COVID-19 symptoms.
  4. You should expect to be questioned by a Canadian quarantine officer at the border in addition to a Canada Border Services Agency officer. Every port of entry has a quarantine officer and testing facility.
  5. To be considered fully vaccinated, travelers must have received both COVID-19 vaccine shots — or combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada, at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. Currently, accepted vaccines are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). Travelers must provide proof of vaccination in English or French (or a certified translation), and enter their vaccine information in the ArriveCAN app. Travelers can receive their vaccine in any country.
    1. Fully vaccinated means that two full weeks have passed since receiving the second dose of a Canada-approved vaccine. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). Travelers can receive their vaccine in any country, and must provide evidence supporting their vaccination in English, French or with a certified translation (along with the original).
    2. In addition, fully vaccinated travelers must also:
      • provide COVID-19-related information electronically through ArriveCAN (app or web portal) including proof of vaccination prior to departing for Canada (subject to limited exceptions);
      • meet the pre-entry testing requirements;
      • be asymptomatic upon arrival; and
      • have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French (or certified translation, along with the original) ready to show a government official on request.
  6. All travelers must still present a suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined that they do not meet all of the conditions required. They will also be required to follow public health measures in place, such as monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, wearing a mask when in public and keeping a copy of their vaccination documentation and test results - as well as a list of close contacts and locations visited - for 14 days after entry to Canada.
  7. Children under 12 years of age of fully vaccinated travelers will no longer have to complete a 14 day quarantine, but must follow strict public health measures. This means they can move around with their parents, but must avoid group settings - such as camps or daycares - during the first 14 days after their arrival. Unvaccinated children will remain subject to the Day 1 and Day 8 testing requirements. There are no changes to the entry requirements for unvaccinated Americans age 12 and over – they must still quarantine for 14 days and adhere to post–arrival testing guidelines.
  8. At the land border, essential workers, including truckers, front-line health-care workers and cross-border communities will be exempt from the 72 hour negative PCR test. Residents of Point Roberts, will be exempt from the testing requirement at the land border when transiting Canada. Learn more: Point Roberts residents exempted from negative COVID-19 test requirement at border crossings.

The Canada Border Services Agency hotline is staffed by officers who can assist with all border questions: 1-800-461-9999, 1-204-983-3500, or 1-506-636-5064, though it is important to note that Border Service Officers at ports of entry will make final determinations on who can enter Canada.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
If you do not meet the requirements for crossing the border, consider the following options:

ALTERNATIVE 1: Check the Alaska Marine Highway System. You may find a sailing that works for your travel situation.

ALTERNATIVE 2: Place your vehicle on a barge, fly to the arrival port, then pick up vehicle from barge and continue driving.

  • Alaska is served by several barge lines that specialize in shipping vehicles from Alaska to the Lower 48. This may be an option for you to get your vehicle (even an RV) to/from your home in Alaska. You can obtain a quote online to see if this is an option for you.
OTHER RESOURCES