Contrary to what everyone seems to think, Canada’s entry rules were really simple to understand. At least if you arrived from every country except two. But because of the new Omicron variant, 10 countries in Africa have been added to that list of special rules.
Here are the details.
Changes for 10 African countries
Here are the first 7 countries affected by the Government of Canada’s new rules:
- South Africa 🇿🇦
- Lesotho 🇱🇸
- Eswatini 🇸🇿
- Namibia 🇳🇦
- Botswana 🇧🇼
- Mozambique 🇲🇿
- Zimbabwe 🇿🇼
(Ironically those are all countries where I went during my epic trip to Southern Africa in 2019.)
Now 3 more countries were added:
- Egypt 🇪🇬
- Nigeria 🇳🇬
- Malawi 🇲🇼
The new rules apply only to those who have been to those 10 countries in the 14 days before entering Canada.
Here is an infographic if you prefer a visual format.
Note that a temporary exemption has been added for those stuck in South Africa: You can do the test in South Africa, under certain conditions:
- Do the test in the 48 hours before the scheduled departure time of the flight from South Africa
- Do the test in an accredited lab (no details so… probably any lab)
- Fly from Cape Town (CPE) or Johannesburg (JNB) to Frankfurt (FRA) on Lufthansa
- Leave no later than December 13, 2021
- Fly from Frankfurt to Canada on a direct Air Canada or Lufthansa flight
And here is the more detailed text version.
Changes for Canadian travelers
Here is what is changing for Canadian travelers (and foreign travelers with exemptions):
- Molecular test must be completed in a transit country
- Free arrival tests (on Day 1 and Day 8)
- Free hotel quarantine while awaiting Day 1 results
- Mandatory 14-day quarantine at home (whether the result is positive or negative)
If you’re Canadian, you’re still allowed to enter Canada, of course. There was never any rule to prevent Canadians from entering the country during the entire pandemic. There probably never will be either.
You do need to take your test in a country where you are transiting though. A test performed in one of the 10 countries on the list will not be accepted to enter Canada.
Direct flights between Canada and the initial 7 countries do not exist, so they could not suspend them. But Egypt was added and there are direct flights to there, it’s not yet clear whether they are suspended. We will update this soon.
This is not quite the same as the special testing rules for arrivals for India and Morocco, but it’s very similar.
But these special rules go much further.
The 14-day quarantine is the first time since July that fully vaccinated Canadians have to do that. That and the arrival tests are basically the rules that already apply to unvaccinated Canadians who arrive from anywhere.
Note that most other countries in the world have also added new similar travel restrictions, so that limits the options for transits for those arriving from Africa to make their way back to Canada.
Changes for foreign travelers (essential reasons)
Foreign citizens can still enter Canada if they have been to those countries, but only if they are coming for an essential reason.
The same special rules for Canadians above will apply.
Changes for foreign travelers (non-essential reasons)
Here is what is changing for foreigners traveling for non-essential reasons:
- Entry into Canada is banned if they have been to those countries in the past 14 days
Foreign citizens who have been in these countries within the last 14 days can simply no longer enter Canada, even if they are fully vaccinated.
That is a first too (Indians and Moroccans can still enter Canada, as long as they follow the special testing rules).
Changes for travelers already arrived
Finally, those who have already arrived from those 10 countries in the past 14 days (Canadians or foreigners) must immediately get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.
So to be very clear, for those who have already arrived from these 10 countries in the last 14 days, after getting the negative result, the quarantine is over. Unlike the test on arrival for others who arrive from now on, who must do the 14 days of quarantine regardless of the result.
Of course, no one knows how long this will last.
As with all of Canada’s COVID-19 travel rules since their inception, no end date has been mentioned and no objective criteria or datasets have been mentioned to know what the decisions will be based on.
Flytrippers is monitoring the situation closely to let you know if anything else changes.
We will of course always update our ultimate guide to travel during the pandemic.
Want to get all coronavirus updates for Canadian travelers?
The Government of Canada is adding a few countries to the list of countries with special entry rules, which was only composed of India and Morocco. Now 10 countries in Africa were added to the list, with the strictest special rules to date due to the new Omicron variant.
What would you like to know about these new rules? Tell us in the comments below.
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Featured image: South Africa (photo credit: Hu Chen)
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