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All Travellers Entering Canada By Air Must Provide a Negative COVID-19 Test

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Illustration of airplaneAs of midnight EST on January 7, 2021, all travellers five years of age or older, including international students, entering Canada by air—regardless of citizenship—must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 laboratory test to the airline prior to boarding. Without this proof, travellers will be denied boarding by the airline.

To be compliant with this requirement, travellers must have one of the following laboratory COVID-19 tests, with a negative result, completed within 72-hours of departure*:

  • A molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR), or 
  • Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP)

As of now, these are the only tests accepted by the Government of Canada. Other COVID-19 tests, such as Antigen screening, Diffractive Phase Interferometry, and Nucleic Acid Amplification tests, are not permitted.

Travellers can present a physical, paper copy, or electronic copy of the test results. The results must include the following information:

  • Traveller name and date of birth
  • Name and address of the laboratory, clinic, or facility that administered the test
  • The date of the test
  • The method of test conducted (PCR or LAMP)
  • The test result

The Government of Canada advises travellers “to make best efforts to have their test performed at a reputable laboratory or testing facility (e.g. one recognized by the local government or accredited by a third party, such as a professional organization or international standards organization).”

What Does This Mean for International Students?

To be eligible to come to Canada, international students must: 

  • Be studying at a DLI with an approved readiness plan
  • Have a, or have been approved for, a valid study permit
  • Be coming to Canada for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose
  • Meet the negative COVID-19 laboratory test requirements outlined above

If a student cannot meet the requirements above, the student cannot travel to Canada at this time.

Once international students arrive at a Canadian airport, they will be questioned by Canada Border Services Officers to ensure they have plans in place to adhere immediately to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Students who require assistance in finding a suitable place to quarantine are encouraged to reach out to their school to see what services they are providing for international students coming to Canada.

“These new measures do not replace any of the previous measures we have put in place to protect Canadians. All travellers must still quarantine for 14 days after they arrive unless explicitly exempt. We continue to strongly advise against travel of any kind, and if anyone doesn’t follow the quarantine requirements, they could face severe penalties. The health and safety of Canadians is our top priority and should be the top priority of every Canadian.”

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, The Honourable Bill Blair 

Those travelling to Canada must submit the required information to the ArriveCAN app or website prior to boarding a flight to Canada. Travellers must also provide accurate contact information, as well as outline their quarantine plan, on or before entry.

Some parts of Canada have implemented lockdowns and other restrictions due to recent increases in COVID-19 cases. Students should monitor the latest information to ensure they fully understand the restrictions and procedures in place.

For the most up-to-date information regarding travelling to Canada and COVID-19, visit the Government of Canada website.

*Travellers from the following countries and territories can provide a negative COVID-19 test result within 96-hours of departure: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, and Saba, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands.


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