Last Updated on March 1, 2021 by tripcentral
Understanding the entry requirements for an upcoming trip is immensely more complicated than the pre-COVID time. Of course, no matter where you go, upon returning to Canada, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days (at the time of writing). But that’s just the beginning. Here is a description of the various elements found in destination entry requirements.
No Restrictions at All
Of course, there are many places where community spread is not evident, and because Canada is coping with the pandemic relatively well, there are no arrival restrictions for Canadians at all. Normally we do not disclose the absence of a requirement, but we are finding it necessary today. We’ve begun with popular destinations that Canadian tourists visit, and we will disclose that there are currently no special entry requirements due to COVID-19.
State, Province, and perhaps County Restrictions Exist
It used to be we only had to worry about documentation and entry requirements for a country. Now, in addition to the “Atlantic Bubble” within Canada, there are 7 US states that have different entry requirements. These can differ for entry by air or land. At the time of publishing, we are not aware of county-level restrictions that would affect an arrival airport, but we have programmed our systems to handle that possibility. For example, arriving in a certain city or airport may have different restrictions within the same province or state.
Most notable is Hawaii that has tougher restrictions for both US and Canadian arrivals. The tripcentral.ca website will now show you country, state/province, and any other entry restrictions. Our site will be modified to display any entry requirements in the future – for a cruise line, hotel chain, tour company etc.
Completion of a “Travel Authorization” prior to Departure
Some countries require you to go online and complete a series of Health Questions in advance of travel. Often this includes some local contact information as well as home. Countries that have this require evidence of completion before boarding your flight – either printed or for display on your phone. Jamaica is such a country (at time of publishing). Without proof of completion, you cannot check in for the flight.
Downloading and Installing a Contact Tracing App
Health Canada has an optional mobile app that exchanges random codes with other phones within 6 feet and 15 minutes of exposure. The voluntary app takes no personal information on installation, and if you tested positive, you could notify others you encountered to get tested – anonymously. Some countries are requiring the download and installation of their mobile app for visitors.
Negative PCR Coronavirus Test
This involves contacting your local health authority or doctor to obtain proof of a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction test. This involves the swab in the nose and testing in a lab. These test results typically come back in 48 hours, but it will be dependent on what is available to you locally. The requirement is as tight as 72 hours and up to 5 days in advance of arrival in your destination. You will be required to show proof of your negative test at check-in for your flight.
Testing on Arrival
Countries are also providing a coronavirus test on arrival, and some are discussing moving to random testing on arrival. The test may follow with a quarantine or self-isolation for a period until a negative result has been obtained. The quarantine can vary from none to confinement in a hotel, a hotel room, or a government quarantine centre. Tourist destinations that are requiring testing on arrival tend to have a more friendly quarantine recognizing the purpose of the trip.
Mandatory Health Insurance
Since most private medical coverage does not cover the costs associated with COVID-19 isolation, treatment, or return to Canada, some countries are requiring visitors to purchase Government-issued medical coverage that WILL cover these costs. In a way, this is reassuring to visitors. Knowing you would not be faced with these costs often removes a barrier to travelling outside Canada. We are even seeing travel suppliers and hoteliers offer free coverage in an effort to reduce the financial risk and worry associated with the rare “what if” of exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 while outside Canada.
Requirements will Change
The one thing we have learned since late February is that policies can change quickly. You may book now for a later departure date, and a new requirement may come into force. We will contact you when we learn of new requirements that may affect your decision to travel, cancel, or postpone your trip. We are reviewing all our destinations at least weekly in addition to updating immediately upon notification of new requirements.
Our Top Destinations
At the time of publishing, our top sun destinations of Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica are open for Canadians to visit. The Dominican Republic is administering quick aleatory breath tests to 3% to 10% of passengers upon arrival. Mexico requires a completed Questionnaire for Identification of Risk Factors in Travelers to immigration upon arrival. www.afac.hostingerapp.com. Travellers may be subject to health screening, including temperature checks upon arrival. Jamaica currently requires an advance travel authorization.
You may be surprised to learn that you can fly into the US, even though the border is closed. While the border is closed for vehicular traffic, most destinations that Canadians visit are without arrival requirements.
Many countries in Europe are open to Canadians without arrival restrictions.
We feel strongly that one of the core services we at tripcentral.ca provide is disclosing the various entry requirements for your trip, and contacting you if they change. Explore our site and you will notice the difference with our disclosures, specifically written for Canadians.
Time to Travel allows you to enter your province of residence and scroll down to view countries where you can travel. There is a drop-down of Caribbean and Europe with selected countries where you can fly directly.