Canada travel: FCDO issues rule entry update – do you need a booster Covid jab to visit?

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Canada reopened its border to UK leisure travellers on September 7, 2021, after more than a year of border closures. However, current coronavirus entry rules are set to be adjusted once again in the coming months.

What are the latest entry rules for Canada?

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) states: “Entry into Canada and exit from Canada depends on your vaccination status and whether you have the right to do so e.g. as a Canadian national.”

At the time of writing, fully vaccinated arrivals are permitted to enter Canada if they have received a full course of vaccines accepted by the nation’s Government.

The FCDO states: “Currently, those vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).”

From November 30, 2021, this list of approved jabs will expand to include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN.

Fully-vaccinated travellers are exempt from quarantine unless they fail to meet certain requirements on entry to the country.

Arrivals into the country must also have “a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result taken no more than 72 hours before your scheduled flight or arrival at the land border crossing, or a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days before departure to Canada”.

Rapid tests are not accepted.

All travellers are also required to fill out their mandatory information on the ArriveCan app or online form, including a quarantine plan in the event they must self-isolate.

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Random passenger testing may also take place on arrival.

On November 19, 2022, the Canadian Government announced further changes coming into force from January 15, 2022.

From this date, exemptions in entry requirements for certain groups of travellers will change.

According to the Government of Canada’s website: “Certain groups of travellers, who are currently exempt from entry requirements, will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved for entry into Canada.”

This includes individuals travelling to reunite with family, international students over the age of 18, professional and amateur athletes, individuals with a valid work permit, and essential service providers.

The Government of Canada adds: “After January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed to enter Canada if they meet the criteria for limited exceptions, which apply to certain groups such as agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew members, those entering on compassionate grounds, new permanent residents, resettling refugees and some children under the age of 18.”

All exempted travellers will be subject to testing and quarantine.

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Is Canada requiring people have a coronavirus booster jab to enter?

Already, nations – such as France – have unveiled plans to include booster vaccine rules for passengers over a certain age.

Currently, the Canadian government has set out no specific details as to whether it will require booster jabs for arrivals in the future.

However, booster coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out across Canada to everyone over the age of 18, though “high risk” individuals will be prioritised initially.

Front-line healthcare workers have also been advised to get their third vaccine.

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