How to use the Canadian passport for vaccines when the border finally reopens

WWhile many travelers on both sides of the 49th parallel are disappointed that the US-Canada border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21, they might find some comfort in the fact that a roadmap for the easing of restrictions is finally taking shape.

Canada’s plan to reopen is based on verifying the immunization status of inbound travelers. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior Canadian health officials have made it clear that they are closely following the recommendations of an expert advisory group report on COVID-19 testing and screening released in May.

A key pillar of the plan is for Canada to implement a gradual reopening of the border that imposes different protocols on travelers depending on their vaccination status. All travelers will now be classified into five groups – fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, unvaccinated, previously infected and exempt. The latter group is made up of essential workers and students, not the vast majority of leisure travelers.

Being fully vaccinated means having received two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Canada.

In short, all non-essential travelers will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival. Fully vaccinated travelers will be able to skip additional testing and quarantine after crossing the border, while partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers will need to take additional steps.

Earlier this week, Canada announced that the first phase of the border reopening will begin at 11:59 p.m. on July 5, when fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and returning permanent residents will no longer need to get in. quarantine or to be tested a week after returning. This initial phase will not apply to the vast majority of American and other foreign travelers, who are still prohibited from visiting Canada.

A second key recommendation from the advisory committee is that “there should be a system in place to validate proof of vaccination for arriving travelers as soon as possible”.

To achieve this goal, Canada is adapting its free ArriveCAN app to manage vaccine checks. A new feature will allow travelers to scan a photo of their vaccination documentation or manually enter relevant information.

ArriveCAN is nothing new. The app was launched in April 2020 primarily as a contact tracing app and has been used throughout the pandemic, primarily by Canadian travelers, to report mandatory travel, contact and quarantine information when ‘they return to the country. When the border reopens to Americans, perhaps in late July, American travelers will also need to use the ArriveCAN app to enter Canada.

Using the ArriveCAN application

ArriveCAN is free and available for iPhone and Android. Creating an account begins with entering an email address and password.

The app’s privacy statement explains that the app can use your smartphone’s camera to scan documents, but the app does not keep those images. You can also revoke the permission for the app to use your camera at any time.

If you prefer not to use your smartphone’s camera, you can enter the relevant information manually. Travelers who do not have a smartphone can enter their information directly on the ArriveCAN website.

Once a traveler has finished entering their information, the ArriveCAN app provides a receipt with a QR code that must be presented at the Canadian border. Those using the website must print or take a screenshot of their receipt and bring it to the border.

Here’s how crossing the border with the app will work.

3 days before arrival

All travelers must use the ArriveCAN app or website to enter Canada. Only essential travelers are allowed to enter Canada without any mandatory testing.

Travelers can download the app and create an account before their trip, but can only start entering travel and health information within 72 hours of their arrival date. At this point, travelers can enter all of their information at once or check in as they go and complete the process later.

After reviewing the privacy information, travelers choose whether to arrive by air, land or sea and enter their port of entry and date of arrival.

Those who are fully vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 can use their smartphone camera to scan their vaccination record or proof of previous infection, or manually enter their information into the app or on the site. Web.

Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers must be tested for Covid-19 within three days of arriving in Canada and then enter their test result before reaching the border.

Day of arrival

Whether arriving by air or land, travelers must have completed the process on the ArriveCAN app or website before arriving in Canada and have the QR receipt ready to be presented at the border.

All non-essential travelers, whether or not they have been vaccinated, will be tested upon arrival in Canada, but what happens immediately after will depend on their vaccination status.

  • Fully vaccinated people can be on their way and continue their journey.
  • Partially vaccinated travelers and those who have already been infected in the past six months should self-quarantine until they receive a negative arrival test. They should also have a quarantine plan if they test positive.
  • Unvaccinated travelers must complete a mandatory seven-day quarantine. They must also have a quarantine plan in place when they arrive at the border.

The next days

After arriving in Canada, all travelers, except those who are fully vaccinated, should continue to use ArriveCAN to confirm that they are self-isolating until they receive a negative arrival test.

8 days after arrival

Only unvaccinated travelers should be tested a third time, on day 8, after a week of quarantine. After receiving a negative test result, they can leave the quarantine. In the meantime, they must register with ArriveCAN to confirm that they are in isolation at their quarantine address.

Travelers arriving at the border without an ArriveCAN receipt will need to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival. They will be tested for Covid-19 on the day of their arrival, like all travelers, as well as eight days after.

In short, when the border finally reopens, Americans will have to use the ArriveCAN app to visit Canada. They will go through different protocols depending on their vaccination status, with fully vaccinated travelers having a much simpler experience than those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.


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