Travel to Canada: Testing and quarantine if not qualified as fully vaccinated

COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements to enter Canada if you don't qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller.

On this page

  • Who should use these instructions
  • Checklist to be ready for the border
  • Pre-entry testing (accepted types, timing)
  • You must use ArriveCAN
  • Arrival testing
  • Quarantine in a suitable place
  • Complete your Day-8 test
  • Fines and penalties
  • Who should use these instructions to enter Canada

    If you don't qualify as fully vaccinated and are allowed to enter Canada, use these instructions for yourself and accompanying unvaccinated children to meet testing, ArriveCAN and quarantine requirements.

    If you expect to qualify or have qualified at the border as fully vaccinated, these instructions are not for you. Find out if you qualify and follow the steps for fully vaccinated travellers for yourself and your accompanying children.

    Under certain circumstances, you may be exempt from some requirements if the purpose of your travel is related to special situations.

    Who can enter Canada

    Canadian citizens (including dual citizens), people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents of Canada, and protected persons (refugee status) are allowed to enter Canada. You may face penalties and fines of up to $5,000 (plus applicable surcharges) if you fail to meet all of the requirements, including using ArriveCAN.

    Foreign nationals (including United States citizens): if you don't qualify as fully vaccinated, you'll only be allowed to enter Canada in specific circumstances. Check first to avoid being turned back at the border: Find out if you can enter Canada

    Checklist for entering by air or land if you don't qualify as fully vaccinated

    Entering by water? Follow the Arriving by water or ferry checklist

    You must meet these requirements if you don't qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller , or you may face delays and possible fines of up to $5,000 (plus applicable surcharges):

    Requirements after you arrive

    Pre-entry testing (accepted types, timing) for travellers not qualified as fully vaccinated

    Travellers who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated must provide proof of a valid pre-entry test result when entering Canada by air, land or water. You must input information about your pre-entry test result in ArriveCAN.

    What to do if you test positive on your pre-entry test

    How to provide proof of a valid pre-entry test

    Options for providing proof of a valid pre-entry test

    You must provide proof of one of the following accepted types of test results:

    1. Proof of a professionally administered or observed negative antigen test result from a test taken outside of Canada no more than 1 day before your scheduled flight or entry to Canada by land or water
      • the one day window does not depend on the time of day the test was taken or the time of your flight or entry
      • for example, if your flight is scheduled to leave or you enter by land any time on Friday, you could provide proof of a negative result from an antigen test taken any time on Thursday, or on Friday
      • it must be administered or observed by a pharmacy, laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service
      • the test must be authorized for sale or distribution in Canada or in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained
      • the test must be performed outside of Canada
    2. Proof of a valid negative molecular test result from a test taken outside of Canada within 72 hours of your scheduled flight’s departure time to Canada or your entry to Canada by land or water
      • for example, if your flight is scheduled to leave at 11:00 am on Friday, your test must have been taken any time after 10:59 am on Tuesday
    3. Proof of a previous positive molecular test result: you no longer have symptoms and provide proof of a positive molecular test result from a test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada. Counting starts the day after your test.
      • for example, if your positive COVID-19 molecular test was taken on January 1, then January 11 would be the earliest scheduled departure date of your flight to Canada, or the first day you could use it to enter Canada by land or water
      • if your positive proof is accepted you won’t have to take arrival or Day-8 tests
      • this test can be taken in or outside of Canada
      • a positive antigen test result is never a valid test result for boarding a flight or entry to Canada and can’t be used as proof of a previous infection

    Who doesn't need a pre-entry test:

    Flying to Canada - when to take your test

    If you have a connecting flight:

    • the test must be timed for the scheduled departure time of your final flight that lands in Canada
    • you may need to schedule the test in your transit city or if you’re travelling for longer than 24 hours, you may want to consider taking a molecular test instead of an antigen test.

    Your proof of a valid negative test result is timed from the initial scheduled departure time of your flight to Canada:

    • a negative molecular test result is valid if the test is taken outside of Canada within 72 hours
      • for example, if your flight is scheduled to leave at 11:00 am on Friday, your test must have been taken any time after 10:59 am on Tuesday
      • Delayed flights: if your flight is delayed by the airline, your negative COVID-19 molecular test result can be used for up to an additional 24 hours (to a maximum of 96 hours) from the scheduled departure time. If the delay causes your test to be more than 96 hours old, you’ll need to be retested.
    • a negative antigen test result is valid if the test is taken outside of Canada no more than one day before
      • for example, if your flight is scheduled to leave at 11:00 am on Friday, your test must have been taken on the Friday or anytime on Thursday
      • Delayed flights: if your flight is delayed by the airline, your test can be used for up to an additional 24 hours from the scheduled departure time. If the delay causes the test result to be more than 24 hours past the one day limit, you’ll need to be retested.

    Cancelled flights: if your flight is cancelled by the airline, there are no extensions to the time limit for your pre-entry test. If your new scheduled flight is not within the time limit for your test, you’ll need to be retested.

    Airlines may refuse boarding to travellers who are unable to provide a valid negative test result or proof of a previous positive molecular test result taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada.

    • for example, if your positive COVID-19 molecular test was taken on January 1, then January 11 would be the earliest scheduled departure date of your flight to Canada, or the first day you could use it to enter Canada by land or water
    • if your positive proof is accepted you won’t have to take arrival or Day-8 tests

    Special testing requirements for India and Morocco ended on January 28, 2022. Travellers arriving from these countries must follow the same requirements as all travellers, if eligible to enter Canada.

    Arriving by car, bus, boat, ferry or train

    You must take your pre-entry test outside of Canada based on the time you arrive at the land border or marine port of entry:

    • a negative molecular test result is valid if the test is taken outside of Canada within 72 hours of arrival
      • for example, if you enter Canada at 11:00 am on Friday, your test must have been taken any time after 10:59 am on Tuesday
    • a negative antigen test result is valid if the test is taken outside of Canada no more than one day before arrival
      • for example, if you plan to enter Canada by land or water on a Friday, your test must have been taken on the Friday or anytime on Thursday
    Positive results on your pre-entry test

    A positive molecular pre-entry test result taken less than 10 calendar days before your planned entry or flight to Canada is not a valid test result for entry to Canada.

    A positive antigen pre-entry test result is never a valid test result for boarding a flight or entry to Canada, not even if it is from within 10 to 180 calendar days before your date of entry.

    Foreign nationals with symptoms or with a positive result from less than 10 calendar days before arriving will be denied entry. You must wait to enter Canada at least 10 calendar days after your positive molecular test result.

    Canadians: To avoid being fined $5,000 per traveller (plus surcharges), wait to enter Canada at least 10 calendar days after your positive molecular test result. If travelling by air, you’ll be denied boarding. Counting starts the day following the day of testing.

    • for example, if your positive COVID-19 molecular test was taken on January 1, then January 11 would be the first day you could use it
    • January 11 would be the earliest scheduled departure date of your flight to Canada, or the first day you could use it to enter Canada by land or water
    • if you had a positive antigen test result, you must either:
      • wait until you obtain a negative antigen test result,
      • obtain a positive molecular test result to use after 10 days have passed from the date the molecular test was taken, or
      • obtain a negative molecular test result which can be used within 72 hours of your scheduled flight or entry to Canada by land or water
    • if your positive proof is accepted you won’t have to take arrival or Day-8 tests
    • Canadians include citizens, people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents and protected persons (refugee status)

    Accepted types of tests

    Molecular tests

    These tests use methods such as a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, nose swab, or saliva sample.

    Other acceptable types of molecular tests:
  • RT-PCR – reverse transcription real time PCR
  • Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
  • Isothermal amplification
  • Droplet digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
  • Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
  • RNA (Ribonucleic acid)
  • Ct (cycle threshold)
  • CRISPR
  • Sequencing
  • Next generational sequencing (NGS) or whole genome sequencing (WGS)
  • Oxford Nanopore sequencing (LamPORE)
  • Detection of the N gene
  • Detection of Orf1a/b
  • Detection of the S gene
  • Detection of the E gene
  • Detection of the RdRp gene
  • Antigen tests

    Your antigen test must be administered or observed by a laboratory or testing provider.

    Phrases indicating a test is an antigen test could include, but are not limited to:

    Providing proof of your result

    When you arrive at the border, you must present a valid negative test result (paper or electronic proof) or proof of a previous positive molecular test result taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada. Counting starts the day after your test.

    The proof must include:

    • traveller name and date of birth
    • name and civic address of the laboratory or testing provider that administered or professionally observed the test
    • the date on which the test was taken
    • the type of test taken
    • the test result

    Keep proof of your test results with you for the 14-day period that begins on the day you enter Canada.

    Arriving without an accepted COVID-19 test

    If a Canadian citizen, person registered under the Indian Act, or permanent resident does not provide proof of a valid test result they:

    • will be allowed entry, but may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 plus additional surcharges or face criminal prosecution
    • may be denied boarding, if travelling by air
    • may also be required to go to a designated quarantine facility if they are symptomatic on arrival at the border and do not have a suitable quarantine plan

    How to isolate upon returning to Canada

    Foreign nationals without a valid negative pre-entry COVID-19 test result, proof of a previous positive molecular test result, or who have symptoms of COVID-19, will be denied entry into Canada.

    Fraudulent test results

    All travellers arriving in Canada are required by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions. Providing false information to a Government of Canada official upon entry to Canada is a serious offence and may result in penalties and/or criminal charges. Foreign nationals who provide false information could also be denied entry to the country and/or be barred from returning to Canada.

    Making a false declaration when boarding a flight to Canada, including the presentation of a fraudulent test result, carries the potential for up to $5,000 in administrative monetary penalties under the Aeronautics Act, in addition to a fine of $5,000 plus additional surcharges under the Quarantine Act, if the same false document is also presented upon entry into Canada.

    Violating any instructions provided when you enter Canada or putting others at risk of a serious communicable disease are offences under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to three years in prison and/or up to $1 million in fines.

    Testing facilities and expenses

    Select the country you’re coming from. Not all countries have testing facilities information available yet.

    Canadian government offices abroad do not provide medical services (including administering COVID-19 testing) or cover medical expenses for Canadian citizens abroad. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

    Get your ArriveCAN receipt to enter

    You must submit information about your pre-entry test results, contact and travel details, and your test, travel and quarantine plan through ArriveCAN within 72 hours before you arrive in Canada. If you fail to do so, you could be subject to a $5,000 fine (plus applicable surcharges).

    How to get your ArriveCAN receipt

    No smartphone? Within 72 hours of your arrival in Canada, sign in to ArriveCAN website from a computer to get your ArriveCAN receipt. Print your receipt and take it with you when you travel. You can also have someone submit your travel information on your behalf.

    Arrival testing

    When you enter Canada at an airport or at a land border, you'll receive 2 self-swab kits. Follow the instructions in the kit to complete your first test by the end of the next calendar day after arriving into Canada.

    Your second kit must be completed on day 8 of your mandatory quarantine (except for travellers who are only passing through on their way to or from Alaska).

    You can complete your tests by a virtual appointment or an in-person appointment with the test provider at their store or at select pharmacies. Contact your test provider to set up your appointment.

    There’s no fee for the arrival test.

    On-site airport test providers

    If you’re entering Canada in one of the airports listed below, you’ll be directed to the test provider to complete your registration. You’ll then receive 2 self-swab test kits.

    When you register, use the same email address you used for your ArriveCAN account.

    Complete your self-swab kit

    Only use the self-swab kits that you received at the border for your appointment with the test provider. Don’t use any other test kits that you may have. The instructions, web links and telephone numbers are all provided in the kit.

    Do not open your swab or tube until you are instructed to do so by the test provider. This can cause contamination, or result in a delay in receiving your test result.

    If you haven't already done so, you must create an account with the test provider to register for and perform your home test and access your results. You must use the same email address you used for ArriveCAN.

    How to contact your test provider

    Your test kit service provider is based on where you entered the country. Contact your testing provider if you:

    British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Yukon

    LifeLabs manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers.

    Log in or create a LifeLabs account to use your home test kit

    Contact LifeLabs

    Phone

    Website

    Email

    Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador

    Switch Health manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers.

    Log in or create a Switch Health account to use your home test kit

    Contact Switch Health

    Phone

    Website

    Email

    Manitoba

    Dynacare manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers in Manitoba.

    Log in or create a Dynacare account to use your home test kit

    Contact Dynacare

    Phone

    Website

    Quebec

    Biron manages COVID-19 testing for arriving travellers in Quebec.

    Contact Biron

    Phone

    Website

    Email

    Travellers driving between Alaska and the continental United States

    If you’re driving between Alaska and the continental United States and you come through a border crossing without a testing station, you must:

    Follow the instructions provided to find a drop-off location along your route.

    Getting your arrival test results at your place of quarantine

    Negative results for your arrival test

    You must remain in your place of quarantine and complete your Day-8 test.

    A negative test result usually means you don’t have COVID-19, but it is possible to receive a negative test result when you have already been infected with COVID-19, for example, prior to the development of symptoms.

    You are still required to complete a test on Day-8 and remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.

    Positive results on your arrival test

    You must isolate yourself from others immediately for a period of 10 days beginning on the day you tested positive for COVID-19, which is the day you took the test. A government representative will call you to provide you additional details and instructions.

    If you receive a positive result on your arrival test, you do not have to complete your Day-8 test.

    Invalid or indeterminate results from your arrival test

    You must take another test. Collect another specimen using your Day-8 kit with the instructions provided. Contact your test provider, and ask them to send you a replacement kit, to use on Day-8 of your quarantine.

    Quarantine in a suitable place for 14 days

    Travellers who don't qualify as fully vaccinated must quarantine for 14 days to limit the spread of COVID-19 and variants in Canada.

    Planning your 14 day quarantine

    You must demonstrate that you have a suitable plan for quarantine for 14 days. You’re expected to make these plans, within your own means, before travelling to Canada. Your quarantine plan must be entered into ArriveCAN.

    Assess your quarantine plan

    You'll need to confirm you have a suitable place to quarantine where you:

    You can't quarantine in group living environments, such as:

    Assess whether your plan is likely to be considered suitable:

    Assess your quarantine plan
    If you do not have a suitable place to quarantine

    Some travellers may be unable to quarantine at home or their final destination. In these cases, travellers are expected to make alternative arrangements for their return to Canada. Although alternative accommodations (e.g. with family or friends, or paid accommodation) may be suitable, the Government of Canada does not reimburse for expenses incurred for accommodations, including hotels, RV rentals and trailer park or campground fees.

    Make your quarantine plans in advance of your arrival to Canada. Foreign nationals who do not have a suitable plan may be denied entry into Canada. If you do not have a suitable place to quarantine, you may be directed to a federal designated quarantine facility where you must remain for your entire mandatory quarantine.

    Before travellers are directed to a federal designated quarantine facility, government representatives may work with them to confirm that all other options for quarantine accommodations within their own means have been exhausted.

    These facilities are a last resort for travellers who have no options of meeting quarantine requirements by other means.

    Where required, transportation from the border crossing to a federal designated quarantine facility is provided by the Government of Canada.

    Right to legal counsel

    If you’re instructed to go to a designated quarantine facility, you have the right to retain legal counsel without delay. If you need more information about your legal rights and obligations, a Government of Canada officer can assist you.

    Consular notice to Foreign Nationals entering Canada

    If you’re a foreign national and instructed to go to a designated quarantine facility, you have the right to request consular assistance under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations treaty.

    If you require assistance finding the contact information for your embassy or consulate, please visit: Foreign Representatives in Canada.

    Find resources to assist you with obtaining legal counsel or consular assistance:

    • call 1-833-784-4397 (7 am to midnight Eastern Standard Time, 7 days a week), or
    • talk to a Government official at the border

    Starting your quarantine period

    Your quarantine period begins on the day that you arrive in Canada.

    For example, if you arrive at 8:15 am on Thursday, October 1, then Thursday is considered day 1 of your quarantine period. Your quarantine period would end 14 full days later, at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, October 14.

    Getting to your place of quarantine

    While you travel, you must wear a mask and practice physical distancing at all times.

    Public health measures to follow while in transit to your suitable place of quarantine:

    Check provincial or territorial requirements

    Report that you've arrived at your place of quarantine

    The day after you arrive in Canada, whether you travel by air, land or marine, you must use ArriveCAN to:

    Report via ArriveCAN or phone

    How to quarantine

    While in quarantine:

    Quarantining with others in the same household

    Federal quarantine only applies to travellers who have entered Canada.

    Travellers who are under quarantine must avoid contact with anyone they did not travel with:

    Co-habitants should also follow the guidance of their local public health authorities.

    Symptoms or testing positive while in quarantine

    If you start to show symptoms during your quarantine, or test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate for 10 days. Your first day of isolation starts on the earliest of the date:

    Instructions for mandatory isolation

    If someone you travelled with develops symptoms or tests positive, you must start a new 14-day quarantine period. It starts from your last exposure to them.

    Leaving Canada during your quarantine period

    If you do not have symptoms, you may choose to leave Canada before the end of the 14-day quarantine period. However, you must:

    If you are in a federal designated quarantine facility, you must get authorization from a quarantine officer to leave.

    COVID-19 testing or medical emergencies while in quarantine

    You may seek testing or medical treatment, provided that you resume your quarantine immediately afterwards.

    If you need assistance to access medical treatment, an exception may be made to allow one other person to accompany you, which can include a person who is also under mandatory quarantine.

    If the person who needs to visit a health care facility is a dependent child, the exception extends to one other person who accompanies them.

    Definition of a dependent child

    Children qualify as dependants if they:

    • are under 22 years old and
    • don’t have a spouse or partner

    Children 22 or older qualify as dependants if they:

    • have depended on their parents for financial support since before they were 22 and
    • can’t financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition

    Should you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 during quarantine, you must begin isolation for 10 days from the date you received your test result or the day when your symptoms started.

    Expect calls, emails and visits from the Government of Canada

    The Government of Canada uses the information you provided in ArriveCAN to verify that you:

    You will receive live or automated calls. You must answer calls from 1-888-336-7735 and answer all questions truthfully to demonstrate your compliance with the law.

    You will receive email reminders of your quarantine requirements.

    Getting a visit from a screening officer

    You may also receive in-person visits from a screening officer at your place of quarantine.

    Designated screening officers are contracted and trained to conduct on-site visits on behalf of the Government of Canada.

    To protect your health and safety, screening officers wear personal protective equipment and will practice physical distancing.

    These screening officers will:

    These screening officers will not:

    Complete your Day-8 test while in quarantine

    When you enter Canada, you'll receive a self-swab kit to use on day 8 of your mandatory quarantine (except for travellers who are only passing through on their way to or from Alaska). Only use the test kit that you received at the border. Don’t use any other test kits that you may have.

    The instructions, web links and telephone numbers are all provided in the kit.

    How to complete your self-swab kit

    Fines and consequences of failing to complete your Day-8 test

    All travellers will receive calls from a live agent or automated system and you may also be visited at your place of quarantine or isolation by a screening officer to verify your compliance.

    You are under a legal obligation to take the arrival and Day-8 tests. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Quarantine Act and emergency orders made under this Act is an offence and could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment. If you do not take the tests, you may also be transferred to a designated quarantine facility.

    Day-8 test results and leaving quarantine

    Negative results for your test

    If you receive a negative result from your Day-8 test before the end of your 14-day quarantine, you must still complete your mandatory 14-day quarantine. You may leave your place of quarantine once your 14-day quarantine is completed.

    Positive results for your test

    You must isolate yourself from others immediately for a period of 10 days beginning on the day you tested positive for COVID-19, which is the day you took the test. A government representative will call you to provide you additional details and instructions.

    Test result not yet available

    Penalties and fines

    Consequences for failure to comply with the Quarantine Act or the Emergency Order

    Failure to comply with the requirements of the Quarantine Act or the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to fines, imprisonment or both.

    Visits from law enforcement officers

    If the Government of Canada has reason to believe you are not complying with the Emergency Order, you may be referred to law enforcement for follow up. This includes if you:

    Law enforcement officers may visit and can issue:

    Penalties, fines and imprisonment

    Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to:

    If you break your mandatory quarantine or isolation requirements and you cause the death of or serious bodily harm to another person, you could face:

    The Contraventions Act provides police (including RCMP, provincial and local police) the authority to enforce the Quarantine Act. Tickets with fines of up to $5,000 (plus applicable surcharges) may be issued for non-compliance.

    Examples of behaviour that could result in a fine

    If you receive a fine, you must still comply fully with the mandatory testing and quarantine requirements outlined in the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order.

    Feature

    You must use ArriveCAN to enter Canada

    You must use ArriveCAN within 72 hours of your entry into Canada

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