Our neighbors to the north are dropping their COVID-19 entry testing requirement for vaccinated Americans next month.
For many months since its reopening last summer, even fully vaccinated Americans needed a negative COVID-19 test to get in, too – taken no more than 72 hours before departure with a PCR test or just one day prior with rapid antigen testing. But that is changing in two weeks.
Canada's Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced Thursday that travelers with proof of full vaccination can enter Canada by land, air, and sea without a negative pre-travel test starting April 1. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers will still have to test to enter Canada.
“As vaccination levels and health care system capacity improve, we will continue to consider further easing of measures at the borders — and when to adjust those measures — to keep the people in Canada safe,” Duclos said, according to the New York Times.
Canada defines fully vaccinated as having two shots of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines – or one dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson. So far, there's no requirement for a booster shot to enter Canada.
Until April 1, the current testing rules remain in place. Under the new rules, travelers could still be chosen at random to test for COVID-19, according to the Times' report.
Canada is following in the footsteps of an increasing number of other countries around the world that are dropping their own testing requirements for vaccinated travelers. On Friday, the United Kingdom lifted the last of its COVID-19 restrictions, ushering in pre-pandemic travel requirements. From France to Italy, countries all across Europe have scrapped pre-travel testing requirements.
For the latest information about COVID-19 restrictions around the world, see our handy country-by-country guide!
But Canada's move stands in stark contrast to the U.S., where there's still no word on when testing requirements even for fully vaccinated citizens flying home from abroad may fade away. No matter where you go, you still need a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one calendar day before flying back to the states. While COVID-19 restrictions are generally far more lax in the U.S. than in Canada, Canada moved more quickly to take out its travel restrictions.
In August 2021, Canada finally reopened to vaccinated U.S. travelers provided they test before departure and again upon arrival.
Canada has leapfrogged the United States in dropping its entry COVID-19 testing requirement for vaccinated travelers – a step the U.S. has yet to take.
Starting April 1, fully vaccinated travelers can enter Canada without having to provide a negative COVID-19 test first.