The only remaining requirement for vaccinated travelers entering Canada is an administrative requirement that is very simple, which is to fill out a declaration in Canada’s ArriveCAN app (or on the website). That alone is more than what we should have, and it’s extremely useless of course. But at least it’s easy: you just answer the questions, it takes literally less than 2 minutes.
So you’ll need to do this if you if you’ve taken advantage of one of the flight deals Flytrippers spots at 50% off or one of the travel rewards deals that give hundreds of dollars in free travel.
Here’s how the ArriveCAN app works (it’s really very very very simple), including a video of the complete process when I entered Canada for the 13th time during the pandemic (in September 2022).
What to know about the ArriveCAN app
You have 2 options to access ArriveCAN:
- Download the free app
- Do it directly on the website for free
There are 2 other steps you can take before your trip to speed things up, and this is also easy and takes at most a few minutes:
- Create your account to log into the app (we recommend the LastPass password manager)
- Create your traveler profile so it’s saved in the app (or your profiles for a family)
And then just before entering Canada, you fill out the form by answering the questions, that’s all.
There’s absolutely nothing else left in Canada’s COVID-19 entry rules (if you’re considered “vaccinated” by Canada’s never-updated and very scientific definition, which is 2 vaccine doses — or 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
I’m not exaggerating when I say filling out the ArriveCAN app takes just 2 minutes, it’s really that fast. I timed it many of the 10+ times I did it. As I said, I’ll show you exactly how to do it all in a video (or screenshots) at the end of this guide (or you can skip straight to the video if you prefer).
But first, I’ll give you all the information you might want about Canada’s ArriveCAN app.
How to know if you need to fill out the ArriveCAN app
Many ask us questions like: “Do I need to fill out ArriveCAN if…”
So we made this simple infographic.
Basically, if you are Arrive-ing into CANada, you need to fill out the ArriveCAN app.
It’s really that simple!
Why you need to fill out the ArriveCAN app
Like many COVID-19 rules that aren’t much more than hygiene theater, the main valid reason… is to avoid the punishment that will be imposed for not following the rule.
It’s certainly not the actual logic behind the rule itself!
For that matter, I don’t know what’s The Science™ behind forcing those who haven’t filled out a form to quarantine (yes that’s what the punishment can be, even if you’re vaccinated), but it’s not like the government ever really followed the science for travel rules anyway. Even the potential $5000 fine seems exaggerated.
I have a section with the punishment details below for those who are more defiant and want to know.
The fact of the matter is that it’s simpler to just fill out your declaration in the ArriveCAN app if you want to travel, even if it’s useless. It takes 2 minutes.
When to fill out the ArriveCAN app
You cannot fill out the ArriveCAN app too early: you can only do it starting 72 hours before your arrival in Canada.
(To be clear, this is not quite the same 72 hours time frame as for the pre-entry test that used to be required — and that is still required for most unvaccinated Canadians — as that one must be done in the 72 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time!)
However, you can (and you should) download the app and create your account and profile in advance (at any time) so that that part is already done and to avoid having to do it while you are traveling.
This will speed up the process, and filling out the ArriveCAN app form itself will really just take you 2 minutes of your trip!
If you are entering Canada by air, you need to fill out the ArriveCAN app before checking in for your flight (online or at the airport) or hope the airline employee knows the rules for Canadians and lets you fill it out later (before arriving at customs in Canada obviously). Or before checking in for your flight if you’re not Canadian.
If you are entering Canada by land, you need to fill out the ArriveCAN app before arriving at the border crossing.
How to fill out ArriveCAN when traveling with other people
You can complete just one declaration for members of the same family traveling together to avoid having to complete plenty of individual declarations. Including for children traveling with you, no matter their vaccination status.
However, there is a maximum of 8 travelers per declaration.
How to fill out ArriveCAN if you don’t have Internet access or tech skills
There is surely one spot with free Wi-Fi somewhere close in the 72 hours before your entry. And if you can read this post, you can surely read the questions in ArriveCAN and input the answer.
But if not, don’t worry.
You can simply ask your loved ones to fill out the ArriveCAN app for you even if they are not traveling with you.
Give them all your info, tell them to complete the declaration for you from wherever they are (the Internet is such a beautiful invention!), and ask them to simply send you the screenshot with the ArriveCAN receipt.
So if you have loved ones who are not comfortable with technology, you can do it for them without a problem.
How to prove you’ve completed the ArriveCAN app
When you complete your declaration, it gives you an ArriveCAN “receipt” (basically just a screen with a letter-based code and a QR code).
This receipt is precisely what you need to board the plane and/or enter the country. You’ll also receive it automatically by email.
Of course, you should screenshot the ArriveCAN receipt to have it available at all times, without a data connection!!! Just like your mobile boarding passes for all your flights.
You obviously don’t need to print anything, the digital version is enough (the same as for the proof of vaccination required to avoid the test and quarantine when entering Canada; the same as for the pre-entry test that most unvaccinated travelers still need).
Again, credit where credit is due (especially since our government so rarely deserves it) but at least Canada acts like we’re in 2022 and never requires anything to be printed.
But always carry a portable charger to make sure your battery never runs out, it’s one of the very few absolute must-have items for ALL travelers!
Why customs agents don’t ask for your ArriveCAN receipt
The customs agents see your ArriveCAN declaration automatically because it’s linked to your ID.
It’s crazy how many comments we see that say “the customs agents didn’t ask for my ArriveCAN, so they don’t even check.”
Yes, they check! Customs agents don’t always ask to see your receipt because you are obligated to enter your passport (or NEXUS card) number in your ArriveCAN declaration. So when you give them your ID at customs and they scan it, it’s magic: everything is linked!
Okay, it’s true that it’s surprising that they are even able to do something tech-savvy like that, considering how everything else is done haphazardly with the government (see all the conflicting emails travelers still get 2 years into this, for just one of many many examples)…
Why the ArriveCAN app is criticized nearly unanimously
Here are the 9 main reasons why the ArriveCAN app has been almost unanimously criticized by travel experts, but even by public health experts who all find it pretty useless at this point:
- It’s not aligned with the pandemic’s current phase (AKA not a single provincial government has any rules left)
- It slows down the entry procedures (Canadian airports are world leaders in flight delays based on the data)
- It can be complicated for people without basic technological skills
- It has lots of bugs and it sometimes crashes or doesn’t save the information
- It sometimes sends contradictory emails and info to travelers
- It is being investigated for privacy violations by a federal commissioner
- It has never been supported by any facts or public health data showing it has any effect (no evidence, ever)
- It has cost an impressive amount of 25 million dollars
- It discourages foreigners from visiting Canada (why come here when 80+ countries have removed ALL rules)
It’s an opinion that has been expressed by so many travelers, by Members of Parliament from all opposition parties here in Canada, and also by Members of Congress in the USA (from both parties).
When the requirement to fill out the ArriveCAN app will be eliminated
There’s no date mentioned for the end of this requirement, and there’s not even a set of measurable or quantifiable targets provided to know at what point of this pandemic the government will finally get over all this.
The government will at least reevaluate the measures on September 30 (although there’s zero transparency as to what will determine whether anything changes or not, it’s quite the science — the political science).
Sign up for Flytrippers’ free newsletter to receive all the updates first and you’ll also get a ton of content to help you travel more for less!
How you can help get the ArriveCAN app scrapped
The Canadian-American Business Council has developed an automatic form that can send an email to both the Minister of Transport and your Member of Parliament in less than 30 seconds, as part of a campaign called “Travel like it’s 2019.”
Since public opinion is literally the only thing that this government relies on to decide on travel rules, adding your voice could help to finally get rid of the ArriveCAN app.
Why the ArriveCAN app is still required
There’s just no logical answer to write here. There are 80+ countries that have removed ALL requirements as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) 8 months ago, and Canada still has this useless app.
(Uhhhhhh I mean: it’s essential to protect Canadians, the government will continue to do everything to protect Canadians, and all that guides the government’s decisions is protecting Canadians, yada yada. The whole thing is a vital tool 30 months into this, okay! Trust the experts! Just not the World Health Organization experts who’ve been recommending removing all travel requirements for over 8 months; trust Trudeau’s much smarter Canadian experts!🤣)
How to modify your declaration in the ArriveCAN app
Officially, the government says to fill out a new declaration if your info changes.
There’s no way to edit the form at all (it’s surprising that that wasn’t included for $25M). You have to start a new one and it will override the old one.
In my experience, if your time of arrival changes just a bit, it’s not an issue. On a few occasions, I’ve entered Canada at a different time than the one I had inputted (with a difference of only a few hours though) without ever changing anything.
I once even arrived on a different flight (arriving from a different city) than the one I had filled out in ArriveCAN, due to IRROPS (irregular operations, AKA the aviation world’s term for a flight delay). I didn’t feel like changing my declaration since the arrival time was close enough to the original.
I had no issues: like every other time, it took me about 1 minute to enter Canada (but of course, that speed is mostly thanks to my NEXUS card that lets me avoid all the waiting lines). My point is that I was not asked anything about my ArriveCAN declaration, like every other time.
Obviously, it’s up to you to decide. But if something major like your point of entry into Canada changes, maybe it’s better to fill out a new declaration. Did I mention it’s easy and it takes just 2 minutes?
What are the consequences of not filling out the ArriveCAN app
If you’re entering by air, it’s simple: if you didn’t fill out ArriveCAN, you could potentially be fined $5000 by our dear government, based on the official rules. And even if you’re vaccinated, you will be forced to do a 14-day quarantine and 2 arrival tests.
And that’s if the airline employees even know that Canadians are allowed to enter without filling out the app. They could also just deny you boarding (airline employees knowing the correct rules is very far from a sure thing in my many experiences since I restarted traveling internationally in August 2020)! As for foreigners, they cannot enter Canada by air without having filled out the app.
If you’re entering by land, you get a one-time exemption, but only if you’re vaccinated. That’s a relatively new improvement, so credit where credit is due (especially since it’s so rare).
(Although I’m not sure why you have to quarantine for not filling out an app if you arrive by air… but not if you arrive by land. Trust the experts🤡!)
How to fill out the ArriveCAN application (video and screenshots)
Here is a brand-new video of how to fill out the ArriveCAN application step by step based on my experience entering Canada from the USA in September 2022. This time was by land, but it’s pretty much the same thing as the many times I did it for entry by air (from the USA or from other countries).
It took me less than 2 minutes total (the video is in real-time and is not sped up). Filling out ArriveCAN was just as easy as the many times before. Obviously, I had already created an account and profile — as per our recommendation to you above.
I’m not sure anyone really needs help with just answering simple questions, but maybe some people are curious to see what is asked.
And now here’s the text version for those who prefer that. This one is based on my experience entering Canada from the USA in April 2022.
So first, you download the app and create an account.
We recommend LastPass to save all your info and protect your accounts.
I’m going to assume that you know how to create an account. It’s like anyone of the hundreds of various accounts you certainly already have.
Then you create your traveler profile, I’ll take screenshots of that soon by creating a fake profile and I’ll update this here.
This is where you’ll add your travel documents (such as your passport or NEXUS card) and proof of vaccination.
Once your profile is created, when you’ll be ready to enter Canada during your trip, you can submit your declaration.
To get started, you click on the only button that exists in the middle of the screen to get started, the aptly-named “Start.’=”
First of all, it asks you to describe who you are or your reason for entering Canada. You choose “Canadian citizens” if you are a Canadian citizen.
Then, you need to select how you’re entering Canada, which is either by air (plane), by land (car, bus, or train), or by marine (boat).
After that, you get a warning about possible COVID-19 testing on arrival. These are random tests that only a minority of travelers will have to do if selected.
They suggest pre-registering, but I would personally not do that in case it makes their lives easier to choose you instead of someone else who hasn’t pre-registered (apparently the selection truly is random according to the government; but as you probably know by now, I don’t trust them, because I’m a history fan and so I know history).
The app then asks you for information about your flight that ENTERS Canada (if you enter by land, they will instead ask for the specific land border crossing where you will enter).
These are ENTRY requirements so it’s the flight that ENTERS the country that counts (exactly like on almost all customs declaration forms for all countries pre-pandemic).
My full itinerary was from Columbus (CMH) to Toronto (YYZ) on American Airlines, with a stopover in Charlotte (CLT), but the government doesn’t care at all about the full itinerary, they just want to know on which flight I am ARRIVING into Canada.
So in this case, it’s the flight from Charlotte to Toronto.
Here, the government also doesn’t care where I’m going after Toronto, they are asking for info about my arrival to Canada, not my arrival home: it’s not the Andrew’s home customs, it’s the Canadian customs. So forget your connection after, if you have one. The government really doesn’t care.
After that, it asks you for your contact information (they already have your email with your account) and your desired language.
Then, select the travelers you want to fill the form for (this info will already be saved from when you create your profile when you first download the app before the trip).
Depending on if you used your passport or a NEXUS card to create your profile, what appears under your name might be slightly different I guess, but the steps are the same.
You are then prompted to read another warning about COVID-19 testing (which you don’t need if you are vaccinated). Click “I understand.”
You then have to declare if you have been in other countries than the United States in the past 14 days. Since it wasn’t my case, I clicked “No.”
If you have visited other countries, you can simply click “Yes” and you’ll then have to add the name of the countries you visited in the last 14 days (it’s really that easy).
Then they ask you for the exact address of where you’re heading (as I mentioned before, I was on my way to Calgary on Lynx Air’s inaugural flight, so I entered the address of my hotel, but if you’re returning home, you can just type in your home address — it will also be filled automatically for the next times as well, the app will remember).
Lastly, they ask you to complete a COVID-19 self-assessment.
The only question they ask is if you currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
And that’s it!
It gives you a summary to double-check before submitting it to the government.
If everything is accurate, you submit it. I didn’t even choose the right YYZ option (it says Vista Cargo there) and clearly, nobody cares.
It takes a few seconds to send.
And once submitted, that’s when you get the important code.
Take a screenshot of it so you can access it when offline!
Who verifies your declaration in the ArriveCAN app
If you enter by land, customs officials will ask to see this QR code. Or sometimes just by showing the same passport or NEXUS card that you entered in the ArriveCAN app, they will automatically find your declaration without you having to show the actual receipt.
If you enter by air, the airline agents will ask to see this QR code before your departure and possibly again before the last direct flight to Canada if you have a layover. Then at customs, it’s the same as by land.
In one of my previous experiences, I had a United flight (paid with my Aeroplan points of course, especially with the record amounts easily available currently) and the agent in Louisiana checked my QR code from ArriveCAN and my test before my first flight.
During my layover in Chicago, the Air Canada agent only rechecked my test, not ArriveCAN. I’m sure this can vary though.
Upon arrival in Montreal, I showed my ArriveCAN app QR code to the customs officer. From the plane to outside of the airport, it took just 7 minutes total, so it’s very fast for travel pros despite the pandemic requirements.
One of the customs officers explained to me that when I scanned my NEXUS card (it’s the same as a passport) it automatically pulled up my ArriveCAN declaration on his screen since it was the ID I had used when filling out the declaration.
It’s really surprising that something technological is so effective with the government, but credit where credit is due!
Want to get all coronavirus updates for Canadian travelers?
The requirement to fill out a declaration in the ArriveCAN app is very quick and easy. And it’s mandatory for everyone entering Canada.
What would you like to know about the ArriveCAN app? Tell us in the comments below.
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Featured image: ArriveCAN application (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)