Canada opens to American travelers

Border crossing had been closed since March 2020

To the joy of Alaska border towns, Canada has reopened its customs checkpoints after 16 months due to the spread of COVID-19.

As of Aug. 9, fully vaccinated foreign nationals are allowed into Canada for discretionary travel.

But there are certain requirements you must meet: Travelers must be fully vaccinated, submit travel information electronically on Canada’s official government application ArriveCAN within 72 hours prior to arrival in Canada, and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test, taken within 72 hours.

Those molecular tests are free and usually offered by your local clinic or at major airports in Alaska like Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Visitors to Canada must have no symptoms of COVID-19, provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination (paper or digital) and have a basic quarantine plan in place in case of an emergency.

Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are allowed to travel with their vaccinated parent, but must avoid large group settings.

No smartphone? You can register your travel plans by visiting, then print the receipt to show officials.

If the test comes back negative, you are free to go about your trip as planned. The Canadian government asks you keep a record of all close contacts within the first 14 days. If you test positive for the coronavirus, or start showing symptoms, you will need to quarantine for 14 days in the location you detailed in your ArriveCan quarantine plan. On the eighth day, you will then be required to take another coronavirus test, which you must pass to leave quarantine.

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that vaccinations will be required this fall for all passengers on planes, cruise ships and inter-provincial travel. Some provinces have ruled masks are mandatory, but even where not mandatory it is advised to wear a mask.

But ban remains on non-essential travel from Canada into U.S. 

On Aug. 20, the U.S. government extended the ban on nonessential travel along the borders with Canada and Mexico to slow the spread of COVID-19. The ban is extended to Sept. 21. 

According to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada, “non-essential travel” includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Essential travel that is still permitted includes work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

Trade and business travel will continue to operate across borders ensuring workers and goods are not impeded. 

However, U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and individuals with valid travel documents will be exempted and allowed to travel into the U.S.