Surprising News: Canadians Are Allowed To Enter The USA (And Have Been All Along)

As if travel restrictions (aka border closures) weren’t complicated enough as it is for the average traveler, we’ve recently stumbled upon a one-of-a-kind quirk that surprised even us: it turns out Canadians are allowed to enter the United States… as long as they do so by plane.

First, let me very clear: as of now, Flytrippers still does not recommend traveling.

Even if we miss traveling pretty badly ourselves (terribly in my case), we don’t believe it’s time to travel just yet. We’re cautiously optimistic that it will be very soon, and if you want to travel this summer, you definitely shouldn’t be ruling it out.

We’ll keep covering how the situation evolves in real-time, including our list of the countries reopening to Canadians, so sign up for our free newsletter to get our upcoming ultimate guide to where/when/how to start traveling again once it’s responsible to do so.

That said, we believe in informing you… and this strange US border rule is certainly newsworthy, even if most of you might not be urging to go to the US right now.

 

USA border “closure”

As a reminder, there is only one thing that determines whether you CAN travel, and it’s the entry restriction imposed by other countries. One of my favorite sayings in life is “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”… but before even considering the factors that determine if you SHOULD travel, there is just one for whether you CAN travel.

My point is: entry restrictions imposed by the USA are the only thing really keeping you from actually going, since there is no restriction on exiting Canada or on re-entering Canada if you are a Canadian (and there has never been), as explained in our post about the 3 myths about border closures.

And it turns out the USA border closure only applies to the land border.

I honestly don’t think I’ve seen an entry restriction that was different based on the entry point/transport mode during this pandemic, but this is really how it is. Off the top of my head, I don’t quite understand how that logic works, but we’re just sharing what the facts are: you can fly to the US now if you want to.

We’ve covered news about the Canada-USA border closure multiple times, including just last week when reports surfaced that the closure would be extended to July 21st… and it never even crossed our mind that this restriction could apply only to land crossings.

So no, there is no restriction if you fly, except if you’ve been to countries in Europe, Brazil, Iran, or China in the past 14 days, which shouldn’t be the case for most of you.

While you would have to self-isolate upon your return to Canada (at least based on current rules that may or may not change at some point in the summer), there is no such requirement in most US states (although there are exceptions, like in Hawaii for example).

Here is what U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBC News (emphasis is mine):

“Travel restrictions apply only to Canadians trying to enter the U.S. at land border crossings, which includes travel by car, train, ferry and pleasure boats.”

Even if you are among those who want to travel now, with very few insurance plans covering trips during a “do not travel” advisory, the US might not be your first choice, with their sky-high healthcare costs. We might have good news in terms of available insurance though, we’ll get back to you about this very soon.

But if you do want to go, there are obviously flights available and if you use our favorite advanced search tool (by entering your departure city, a date range, and “anywhere” as your destination to see the lowest prices). We’d rather you didn’t go, but if you’re going to go, we’d rather you save money: that’s our mission after all.

You’ll see that the flights are pretty reasonably-priced too, for what it’s worth. I’ve already briefly teased why the doom-and-gloom apocalyptic predictions of flights being so much more expensive in the future are exaggerated, but we’ll talk more about that soon.

Just keep in mind that just because there are flights are offered doesn’t always mean you are allowed to enter. For the US, it ended up being true in a weird turn of events… but Canada-France flights never stopped during the pandemic (among many other international routes), yet Canadian citizens are definitely not allowed to enter France, and French citizens are definitely not allowed to enter Canada.

Flights and entry restrictions are two completely separate things, as explained in our post about the ambitious Air Canada international flight summer schedule.

And in case you are wondering, this border closure “loophole” does not work the other way around: Canada’s border is closed to everyone (well, except Canadians of course), no matter how they enter.

By the way, if you haven’t already, please participate in our short 4-minute survey so we can know where you stand in terms of future travel!

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Summary

The US border is closed for Canadian travelers, but only the land border. Flying to the US is not restricted, although we don’t recommend it yet, if only for the travel insurance issue.

What do you think of this news? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Featured image: Arches National Park (photo credit: NOAA)

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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: 61/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. James

    Interesting news, but many popular US travel destinations (Nevada, Arizona, Florida, etc) are crawling with COVID right now. Cases are soaring, not going down. I love the USA, but I would wait a while before travelling there again.

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