Entry Requirements during the Pandemic

Entry Requirements during the Pandemic

Last Updated on December 6, 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, for those unvaccinated, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Fully vaccinated Canadians returning home do not need to quarantine. 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 some 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

Many 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 2020 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.

41 Comments

  1. Thank you for your most informative article.

  2. Can my daughter (50) travel from Germany to Simcoe ON in October. We know about 14 days of isolation. That is ok for us. Is there any special
    Requirements to enter Canada.

    • Hi Regina, yes, at this time your daughter can come to Canada. She must provide a quarantine plan that shows how and where she will quarantine for the 14 days, as well as meet the entry criteria with proof of citizenship, etc. You can speak with one of our agents for complete details or refer to the Government of Canada website.

  3. Thank you for the up dates

  4. Hello, we booked vavation to Cuba, Manzanillo, hotel Marea de Portillo. 3.persons in April it was cancelled. Can we go to same hotel in Cuba in October. What are the procedures now.

    • Hi Vladimir, unfortunately there aren’t any departures to Manzanillo, Cuba in October. They are set to start in December.

  5. I find that there are a lot of “hidden” exemptions. I would not like any surprises either while away or upon return. Quarantining is the norm back home for 14 days, period!

    • The issue of quarantine on return for 14 days is a given for all international travellers coming to Canada. We are not in the business of “hidden exemptions” – that is a matter for Governments. Our role is to describe the typical entry requirements for the type of travel we book. Longer stay conditions, schooling, moving, work terms are not typical situations.

  6. Thank you for the update. Unfortunately my trip was cancelled to mexico this year however will be looking to go in March of next year

  7. Thanks for this information. I am not planning a trip anywhere and am so glad that our Florida trip worked out so well and we were home before this mess was full-blown.

  8. No me tion of the requirements for Cuba

    • Nothing required prior to departure, as of today, September 11, 2020. Temperature checks and PCR COVID-19 tests upon arrival at Cuba’s airports.

  9. We’re looking at Cuba in 2021 (spring). What restrictions are in place travelling to and from there?

    • Nothing required prior to departure, as of today, September 11, 2020. Temperature checks and PCR COVID-19 tests upon arrival at Cuba’s airports. Requirements can change at any time, it’s best to keep an eye on our blogs or website for the most up-to-date information.

  10. I would have booking soon but because of coming home .We would require to self isolate for 14 days

  11. Thank you and hi to Karol! I am one of those 50%,but I like to read any info getting my way- just to look forward to my next travel.Ludmila Uhde and Victor Le Nir

  12. I understand all requerements but I didnt know where I hove to fill in travel authorization form.Please, send me email address where I can fill in.

    • Hi Tatiana, it varies by each country. Where are you planning to visit?

    • Hi Tatiana, it would depend on where you are travelling to. Do you have a vacation booked?

  13. I only need to know when it’s possible to travel to the Philippines, and not have to quarantine before or after. Or possibly the same for other Asian countries.

  14. Nova Scotia has taken a strong stance with restrictions due to COVID and because of that, we have been able to adjust to a new normal. Many countries in the world don’t have this virus contained at this point in time. It’s unfortunate that the U.S. has not taken any restrictions seriously enough to contain the risk of COVID for me to begin travelling again as in the past, and for that reason alone it has made me rediscover my own province more. But travelling abroad for me at this time seems like a very distant dream. I’m very fortunate that I travelled as much as I have and experienced many different cultures. I look at the world very differently these days.

  15. in your top sun destinations you omitted travel requirements for Cuba, are there Cuban travel/arrival requirements?

    • Nothing required prior to departure, as of today, September 11, 2020. Temperature checks and PCR COVID-19 tests upon arrival at Cuba’s airports.

      • After the PCR COVID-19 test in Cuba, is confinement required until the results are available? If so, is the confinement in the resort, the room or a quarantine centre? I’m thinking of Varadero specifically.

        • Hi Lise,
          You would be required to quarantine at your resort until the results are available. Cuba has also started saliva testing on arrival.

  16. Do i need a Covid test to enter Kenya?

    • Hi Matthew, here is updated information from the Kenyan Government (updated Sept 17 2020)
      As of 1 August, all international flights to Kenya resumed. However, there are strict requirements for travelling to Kenya: Arriving passengers must carry a PCR test with them which was taken a maximum of 96 hours before their arrival in Kenya. Travellers cannot have a body temperature above 37,5° C, and there can be no cases of persistent coughing, respiratory problems or other flu-like symptoms.

      Before departure, travellers must fill in a Travellers Health Surveillance Form on the website of the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority. This form contains a QR code that is scanned on arrival by a customs clerk. The form is used for passengers that only started displaying coronavirus symptoms when the flight already took off.

      On arrival, travellers from certain countries must spend 14 days in quarantine. Travellers from countries of which the Kenyan government believes that the risk of spreading of the coronavirus is low to average do not need to go into quarantine. This includes, among other countries, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands. Each day, the Kenyan Health Department makes a new assessment of the risk profile of these countries. Keep in mind that the quarantine mandate can change on a daily basis.

  17. No requirements shown for Cuba. Pls advise

    • Correct. No requirements.

    • That’s correct Lisa. Nothing required prior to departure, as of today, September 11, 2020. Temperature checks and PCR COVID-19 tests upon arrival at Cuba’s airports.

  18. Mexico requires a completed Questionnaire for Identification of Risk Factors in Travelers to immigration upon arrival.
    Your link did not work…..
    http://www.afac.hostingerapp.com.

  19. We had planned a trip to Nice at the end of October but decided not to given the new Covid-19 spike in the last few weeks. It really wasn’t a “travel vacation”, but rather reconnecting with old family friends, rediscovered, after 40 years. We do plan to go, though, in March or April 2021 unless the world has descended into utter chaos. We don’t want to spend the rest of our life not going anywhere or doing anything because we’re afraid of what might happen.
    Look forward to reading your articles and hearing from you in a not too distant future.

  20. Looking forward to a winter getaway soon. We will contact you as soon as we are ready to book.

  21. I live in Ontario and have contacted OHIP regarding out of province coverage. As of this writing OHIP will not extend out of province coverage because of the covid-19. I also contacted my private health coverage provided by my work and they also informed me that they will not cover the trip. If I am not covered then I will not be travelling outside of Canada until this situation changes.

    • Thanks for your comment Terry. Depending on when and where you wish to travel, there are options out there for COVID insurance coverage while on vacation. Some free of charge, some at a cost. One of our experienced agents could help with those details.

  22. What is required for Costa Rica?

    • Hi Lucy, today, September 11, 2020, as Canadians, there are 3 requirements for entering Costa Rica in addition to a valid Canadian passport.

    • Completed eletronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form
    • RT-PCR COVD test with negative result taken within 72 hours of travel to Costa Rica
    • Medical Insurance that will cover COVID related claims in Costa Rica (can be purchased here or in Costa Rica through INS – Instituto Nacional de Seguros http://www.grupoins.com/seguroparaviajeros, or Sagicor http://www.sagicor.cr/seguro_para_turistas/
  23. How about coming back from Mexico to Canada do we have to self isolate for 14 days when back in canada

    • Yes, absolutely. Please refer to the Government of Canada website, or speak with your tripcentral.ca Vacation Expert.

  24. Wondering about travel to the Bahamas, thinking about Feb. or March 2021.

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