The Canadian government announced this week that it will open its border starting Monday, Aug. 9, to fully-vaccinated Americans for what it calls “non-essential travel.”
It has also published a list of requirements for non-essential travelers to get through the border.
First: In order to be admitted into Canada, U.S. citizens will need a negative molecular COVID-19 test within 72 hours of reaching the border.
All travelers may also be subjected to a random rapid test at the border, which could add an additional 20 to 30 minutes of wait time to the trip.
After you have your testing complete, you’ll need to register with ArriveCAN.
The app is a free download for smartphones through the Canada.ca website — it can also be accessed through a web portal. Be wary of sites that ask for a payment: There are several third-party hoax sites that charge money. ArriveCAN is free to use.
Finally, make sure you have all travel documents with you, including a passport and vaccination card. The Canadian customs agent will need to check those documents and your ArriveCAN status. The program will store your information and can be accessed offline after all information is uploaded.
ArriveCAN gives you a 72-hour window prior to arrival at the border to upload your information. Photos of both your passport and your vaccine card will be required.
Any forged vaccination records will be subject to a $750,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment under Canada’s Quarantine Act.
Only fully-vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines all meet the requirements.
According to Canadian officials, tour operators will be allowed to bring groups into Canada, if all group passengers meet the same regulations as individual passengers. But the logistics of getting everyone tested ahead of time seems daunting to Skagway tour operator Billi Clem who owns Klondike Tours.
“I have no idea how we’re going to get all that testing done,” he said.
In order to be properly prepared, any cruise ship passengers that wanted to book a trip to Canada would need to test within 72 hours of arriving in Skagway, but there is no word yet if that can be done onboard the ships.
Re-entry for American citizens back into the United States will not change. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, all U.S. Citizens that enter Canada will be welcomed back home to the United States upon return.
But vaccinated Canadians? They’ll be barred from crossing the U.S. border for non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that essential travelers already bringing goods and services and other exemptions are unaffected by the Canadian government’s new protocols.