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Our southern neighbor is a very popular destination for Canadians, pandemic or not. And many are asking us numerous questions about how Canadians can travel to the United States. And many are a little confused about the rules. So we’ll help you out—especially since it’s pretty simple, honestly.

While you wait for our useful FAQ with answers to 60+ questions, Flytrippers has already shared its ultimate guide to traveling during a pandemic as part of our mission to help you travel more for less.

But let’s go to the point and look specifically at how Canadians can travel to the United States (by the way, Flytrippers always spots cheap flight deals to the USA on its main page).

 

Basics of how Canadians can travel to the United States

Let’s start with the basics:

  • You don’t need an essential reason to travel to the United States
  • You don’t need to be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States

However, there are some important details regarding these 2 elements:

I can personally confirm that it’s very simple to travel to the USA as a Canadian: I went myself in early April and again in late May.

Here is an infographic to summarize before I get into the details:

See full-sized image

 

Note that there is one exception: You cannot enter the USA at all if you have been to a few specific countries during the last 14 days (the 26 countries in the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, China, Iran, South Africa, or Brazil). This entry restriction will be abolished in November once they make vaccination mandatory to enter the USA.

And still no word at all on when the USA might reopen their land border. The closure theoretically expires on October 21st but Flytrippers will be following that closely for you (sign up for our free newsletter to get all the important coronavirus updates).

Finally, the rules are exactly the same if you are just connecting in an American airport on your way to one of the many countries open to Canadian travelers: The United States is one of the few countries in the world where sterile international transits simply do not exist. In other words, there is no such thing as “transiting” in the US: You always “enter” the country, even if you exit the very next minute to go back into the international zone of the airport terminal.

 

Concrete steps for Canadians to travel to the United States

We’ve said it many times, but understanding how to travel right now is just 2 simple steps (no matter the destination, even within Canada).

  • Check the entry rules for where you are going to and comply
  • Check the entry rules for your return to Canada and comply
Simplified 2-step process to travel

 

That’s simple.

The rules themselves are sometimes complicated… but NOT for Canada and the US.

They are extremely simple in Canada and the US… and they really don’t change that often either compared to everywhere else.

Here’s how it works depending on your vaccination status.

 

How fully vaccinated Canadians can travel to the US

It is very simple and easy if you are fully vaccinated (see who Canada considers fully vaccinated):

  • To enter the USA: Take a pre-entry test before your flight
  • To enter Canada: Take a pre-entry test before entering by air or land
    • Molecular tests (PCR or NAAT) accepted (free almost everywhere in the US)
    • You have 72 hours before your flight or 72 hours before you arrive at the land border
    • Fill out the ArriveCAN app (free and easy)

That’s it.

No quarantine at all in either country (note that Hawaii has its own rules that are stricter than in the rest of the US—it’s a destination that should be avoided at this time anyway if you care even slightly about traveling for less).

If you are traveling with children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated, see Canada’s detailed entry requirements.

 

How non-vaccinated Canadians can travel to the United States

These same requirements obviously apply if you are not vaccinated.

Canada, however, is much stricter and also requires you to quarantine at home for 14 days if you are not fully vaccinated. You will also have to do 2 more tests after your arrival in Canada (they are free though, or rather taxpayer-funded).

That’s it. The US has no specific requirements for non-vaccinated travelers (for now, but as mentioned, entering the USA will simply no longer be possible for unvaccinated Canadians once their mandatory vaccination rule takes effect in November).

 

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Summary

It’s really quite simple to understand the rules that determine how Canadians can travel to the United States.

What do you want to know about traveling to the United States? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Featured image: Sedona, Arizona (photo credit: Edmundo Mendez, Jr.)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 62/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Dylan

    Hi Andrew,
    When I’ve been looking to book a PCR test online at Walgreens, it asks for my state ID or state drivers license. I was able to plug my US AirBnB address in the previous step for my address, but am curious as to what you did for this step. Did you just select whatever state you’re in and enter your provincial drivers license information? Please let me know whenever you can. Thanks a lot!

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      I took the NAAT and not the PCR, so they didn’t require ID. But from other travelers’ experiences, the ID is again just to identify you correctly, they don’t mind if it’s not a US drivers license since tests are not restricted to residents, but you can double-check with the testing location specifically and let us know so we can share with other readers:)

  2. Louise Carbone

    Hi Andrew, my daughter is trying to get home to Canada from Morocco (she has been there 8 months) and unfortunately, her direct flight was cancelled. We are having a heck of a time trying to figure out if she can fly via Air France from Morocco to Boston (with a stop at CDG) and then take an AC flight from Boston to Montreal. She is not vaccinated because (anyways the vaccine in Morocco is not recognized in Canada). She will have taken her PCR test in Morocco and then take another PCR test in Boston. Will she have any trouble? Otherwise, the option was to fly RAM to JFK, get tested (PCR) and then shuttle over to LGA. Any insight you could provide would be helpful. HELP.

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Hi, unfortunately, anyone who has been in most of Europe in the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States (unless they have US citizenship/residency). Even transits in Europe count so both Boston and New York are not options for Canadians in Europe.

      Entering the US would work after a transit in Turkey or the Gulf countries would work though (the ban is on the Schengen area—which is most of the EU—and the UK and Ireland) or from Morocco to the US directly (but I don’t see any direct flights in the short term).

      If not, she’ll have to go from Morocco to Europe then to Canada directly. In all cases, a PCR test needs to be done at the transit country (or there’s the NAAT option instead of a PCR if she transits in the US).

      The fact she is not vaccinated might preclude her from entering/transiting in some countries, so double-check that (although some countries might accept other types of vaccines than Canada). The US has no vaccine requirement if she finds a flight from Morocco to there without going through Europe.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Jerome Perrin

    I understand the rules for travelling to Canada from the US by land. However it is not clear to me what are the requirements to enter the US by land for a Canadian with a green card. Can anyone enlighten me ?

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Hi, there are no requirements to enter the US by land (no testing required). The US website says this: “U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and individuals with valid travel documents will be exempted.” So as a permanent resident with a Green Card, it seems you are allowed to enter.

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