As Canadian Customs Brokers, Orbit Brokers helps importers bring goods into Canada. Recently we have been getting many questions regarding people crossing the Canada/US border. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions and closures at the border. These closures have had a dramatic effect on travel to both countries. Each country has its own restrictions for entry. Let’s take a look at the current state of travel across the border.
Canada and the United States of America share the longest international border in the world at 8890 kilometers long. It is known as the longest undefended land border. Although there is civilian law enforcement present, there is no military generally stationed at the border. This border presence oversees the crossing of goods and people. In the US, the agency tasked with this job is called the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP. The Canadian counterpart is the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA for short.
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the closing of the border by both countries to non-essential travel in March of 2020. Essential travel was defined as work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security. Anyone trying to cross the border who did not qualify as essential was turned back. The shutdown was an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Commerce continued as supply chains are considered essential, so exemptions were given to transport company drivers.
In late July 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that border measures would be eased. As of August 9, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents would be able to enter the country for non-essential reasons. However, the US extended their border closure to Canada until at least September 21. This means that Americans can come into Canada and return back to the States, but that Canadian travellers would not be allowed to drive into the States. Canada also announced that the re-opening to all foreign nationals is tentatively scheduled for September 7. For unvaccinated travellers, proof of a negative test result issued within 72 hours of arrival is required, along with pre-arrival signup with the ArriveCAN app.
It is important to note that the above requirements only apply to driving across the border. The requirements for flying into the US or Canada are not as stringent.
More information can be found at the following Canadian Government Website. Please ensure to confirm all the requirements prior to attempting to cross the Canada/US border.