On Nov 8, 2021 the US land border will open to fully vaccinated Canadians, including those with mixed vaccines — welcome news to the 3.88 million people in Canada who received mixed doses!  Given this news, many Canadians are now starting to consider travelling to the US.  However, travelling to & from the US isn’t as simple as it was pre-Covid. Here is a checklist for what you need to do when driving or flying to & from the US.

DRIVING TO/FROM THE US:

Driving to the US from Canada:

no Covid test is required

a valid passport

proof of vaccination (children under 12 will be allowed provided they are travelling with someone who satisfies US vaccination requirements)

Driving back to Canada from the US:

a PCR test is required for anyone 5 years or older. It must be administered within 72 hours of arriving at the border; this test typically takes 24 – 48 hours to get the results

complete ArriveCAN form (app or web) which you can only complete 72 hours before returning to Canada

valid passport

proof of vaccination (children under 12 will be allowed provided they are travelling with fully vaccinated parents, step-parents, guardians or tutors but must no attend school day care or camp for 14 days after their return)

FLYING TO/FROM THE US & Hawaii

Flying to the US & Hawaii from Canada:

a rapid antigen test is required for anyone 2 years or older. It must be administered within 72 hours of your flight; The results of this test typically takes 15 – 20 mins. It can be done 1 – 2 days prior to your flight — or you can do it the day of your flight if there is testing facility nearby or at the airport.

valid passport

proof of vaccination (children under 12 will be allowed provided they are travelling with someone who satisfies US vaccination requirements)

Flying back to Canada from the US & Hawaii:

a PCR test is required for anyone 5 years or older. It must be administered within 72 hours of arriving at the border; this test typically takes 24 – 48 hours to get the results

complete ArriveCAN form (app or web) which you can only complete 72 hours before returning to Canada

valid passport

proof of vaccination (children under 12 will be allowed provided they are travelling with fully vaccinated parents, step-parents, guardians or tutors but must no attend school day care or camp for 14 days after their return)

Pre-Flight Testing Options (Antigen & PCR)

It is important that you plan ahead and book any pre-flight testing well in advance to ensure that you get appointments that will work with your driving or flight schedule.

In Canada pre-flight testing can be done in some provinces at Life Labs and Shoppers Drug Mart. There are also several clinics with multiple locations including CVM Medical (which has a location at YVR that opens at 5:30am) & Rock Doc.

Many resorts & cruise lines are offering pre-flight PCR tests to return to Canada for free or at a nominal cost for their clients.  The Canadian tour operators and airlines have resources for their clients to find and book the PCR tests on their websites.  And, many airports have on-site labs which offer pre-flight testing. You can also do a Google search with your ‘DESTINATION + PCR test for travel’ and options should pop-up.


Covid-19 has affected everyone and the past year has been stressful. The urge to travel might be tempting, but the pandemic is not over yet and it’s important to consider the risks.  Be sure to bring along the important pandemic essentials. Pack at least two masks per person in case one is lost or being washed after use. When packing hand sanitizer, include a travel-size dispenser that can be stored in a purse or backpack as well as a larger container for refills.

It is also important to remember that when you see an enticing ‘deal’ read the fine print to ensure that the terms & conditions are flexible since things can change very quickly with Covid-19.  Also make sure that you have adequate travel insurance including Covid-19 coverage.  Check to see if you have coverage through your credit card and/or work policy — if not buy a separate travel insurance policy that will give you the coverage you need.

As the vaccine roll-out continues, and more countries open for tourists, you will be able to enjoy a relaxing trip soon!

***DISCLAIMER: This guide is to help you understand key travel requirements. These requirements are constantly changing. However it does not replace the information provided by government and other authorities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all entry or transit requirements for each country/region on your itinerary. Information was correct when initially published.

What Do You Think?

Reasons to turn on your OOO

Claire's latest travel tips & deals, arriving directly into your inbox.

We respect your privacy.