New Restrictions In Effect For Travel To Canada
New travel restrictions for foreign nationals to Canada were announced by the Canadian government on July 30 that close the “on the way to Alaska” loophole. The new travel restrictions to Canada were introduced as a new measure after American tourists claimed they were traveling to Alaska but wound up on vacation at Canada’s tourist destinations.
The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.Canadian Border Services Agency, July 30, 2020
What do Canada travel restrictions mean for US nationals?
Canada’s new travel restrictions mean that you can only currently travel through Canada to Alaska if your primary residence is there, or if you are going there for work. It also restricts entry points to 5 border crossings. The new rules were brought into place to reduce the introduction of new cases of the virus and to minimize the amount of time travelers can spend in Canada.
Restricted ports of entry
US Nationals traveling to Alaska will be restricted to crossing the border into Canada at these ports of entry:
- Abbotsford-Huntingdon (British Columbia)
- Coutts (Alberta)
- Kingsgate (British Columbia)
- North Portal (Saskatchewan)
- Osoyoos (British Columbia)
Other travel restrictions
In addition, travelers from the US:
- Will be allowed a reasonable period of stay to carry out the transit
- Will be limited to travel within Canada using the most direct route from the point of entry to the intended point of exit, while avoiding all national parks, leisure sites, and tourism activities
- Will be required, before entering the U.S., to report to the nearest CBSA POE to confirm their exit from Canada.
Vehicle hang tags
Travelers from the US will be issued a vehicle “hang tag” to be attached to their rearview mirror for the duration of their trip to or from Alaska to ensure the are following the rules while they are in Canada. The front of the tag will make it clear that the travelers are just passing through and include the date they have to leave Canada.
Travelers coming from Alaska won’t be restricted to specific entry points to Canada.
Upon arrival at one of the designated POE, travelers must satisfy a Border Services Officer that they meet the requirements for entry into Canada. Travelers should have documentation that will demonstrate the purpose of their travel through Canada. The decision whether to allow travelers to cross into Canada is made solely by the Border Services Officer.
Travelers through Canada will be given a handout that gives details of the rules for traveling through Canada.
Travelers will be turned away at the border if:
- They can’t prove they are traveling to Alaska
- Are showing symptoms of the virus
- They lie to the border services officers (lying to a Border Services Officer can result in a lifetime ban from Canada)
Serious penalties for non-compliance
- Up to $750,000 in fines, and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.
- If a traveler causes a risk of death or bodily harm to another person by not complying with Canada’s Quarantine Act, they can face up to $1,000,000 in fines, and/or imprisonment of up to 3 years.
Alaska also faces current travel restrictions. Read more in this RV LIFE article.