Land border crossing between Canada and the United States was closed for 19 months during the pandemic. Now that the borders are open again to non-essential travel, here’s what you need to know about crossing the Canadian border in an RV…
A married couple from Alaska in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group shared their experience during the pandemic. They had retired to Arizona in 2019 and planned to return home to Alaska and visit other destinations during the summer months.
Of course, those plans were shut down during the shutdown and they were unable to go to Alaska for 3 years. But thankfully, they finally made it!
Once the travel ban was lifted, they renewed their original plans and headed out first thing this summer to drive through Canada to Alaska.
They were happy to answer any questions from other members and even shared a picture of their Arizona to Alaska RV Itinerary in the comments. It’s a great Facebook thread to check out, with lots of beautiful pictures.
As in ALL things – double-check everything suggested in this post as things may change!
(Here are some Helpful Alaska Travel Tips for RVers if you’re driving through Canada to Alaska.)
Crossing the Canadian Border After COVID
What started as a month-long ban, turned into a 19-month long ban. For more than a year and a half, people could not drive across the Canadian-American border in either direction.
Sure, you could fly into Canada, but that wasn’t much use to us RVers. Any existing travel plans or thoughts of remotely working in a secluded Canadian setting during the pandemic quickly washed away.
Now that crossing the Canadian border by land is allowed again, RVers are chomping at the bit to renew their travel plans and explore the expansive northern frontier.
But, just like any form of travel, things are different ever since the pandemic. So, here’s what you need to know about crossing the Canadian border post-pandemic.
Mandatory Use of the ArriveCAN App
You must now use an app called ArriveCAN to cross the Canadian border. You use the app to provide mandatory travel information before and after your entry into Canada. As their official website states, using the ArriveCAN app “only takes minutes to help keep each other safe.”
ArriveCAN is available for iOS, Android and web. If you’ve already downloaded it, be sure to check for updates before you reach the border or leave for your road trip.
Using ArriveCAN is mandatory within 72 hours before your arrival to Canada. The app is free to use.
You must enter how and where you are entering Canada. “How” means by air, land, or boat. So, for us RVers, we’d select “by land” and enter our port of entry.
You Must Be Vaccinated to Enter Canada (or Exempt)
Currently, adults must qualify as fully vaccinated to be permitted to cross the Canadian border. Children under 5 years old are exempt from vaccination requirements and pre-entry testing.
For children ages 5-17, it gets a bit more complicated. So, you’ll need to carefully review the requirements if you’re traveling with kids those ages.
To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveler to Canada, you must:
- have received at least 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted for travel, a mix of 2 accepted vaccines
- or at least 1 dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine
- have received your second dose at least 14 calendar days before you enter Canada
- Example: if your second dose was anytime on Thursday, July 1, then Thursday, July 15 would be the first day that you meet the 14 day condition
- this timing is only required for your second dose, not for third or fourth doses
- have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19
- have ArriveCAN receipt with letter A, I, or V beside your name by uploading proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN
You can easily confirm that you qualify by using this automated system to answer a few questions.
Of course, there are some exemptions to both vaccination and ArriveCAN, which you can explore if needed.
Checklist of What You Need to Have Ready at the Border
To enter Canada as a fully vaccinated traveler, you must follow all of these requirements. To go RVing across the Canadian border, you must have the following items with you for assessment by a government official at the border.
*NOTE: land border crossings do not provide WiFi for travelers!
- ArriveCAN receipt with letter A, I, or V beside the vaccinated traveler’s name
- Proof of vaccination that was uploaded into ArriveCAN (original or paper copy)
- Prepare for arrival testing if selected
- Travel document entered in ArriveCAN (e.g. passport)
Mike and Jennifer’s Summer T-Shirts for your next adventure
What Else You Need to Know About Crossing the Canadian Border
Aside from the more recent travel requirements due to COVID, there are still plenty of other things you need to be aware of before you go RVing to Canada.
No Firearms or Fireworks
For one, you cannot bring a firearm (handgun, hunting rifle, etc.) into Canada unless you’ve gone through the (usually lengthy) process to get approval. Canada does not honor your concealed carry permit and trying to take an unapproved firearm into the country can result in serious jail time. The same is true for fireworks or explosives.
Pet Vaccination Records
Secondly, you need to make sure to bring all vaccination records for your pets that are traveling with you. It also helps to bathe your pets before reaching the border if they’ve been playing outdoors a lot because they can deny sickly pets from crossing the border, too. Of course, if your pet is actually sick, then you shouldn’t try to take them across the border.
No Cannabis Products
Third, you cannot take cannabis or any products containing cannabis (including CBD) across the Canadian border in either direction. It doesn’t matter whether it’s legal at your point of entry or exit on either side of the border.
Consent Forms for Children
Fourth, if you’re traveling with children who aren’t your own, even if they are your grandchildren, you need letters of consent from the parents allowing you to take them across the border. If you are a divorced or separated parent with your children, you must bring a letter of consent from the other parent. It’s also a good idea to have a letter authorizing you to seek and consent to medical treatment for each child from the parents.
While those are the most important things to know when crossing the Canadian border, you can check out these additional tips for entering Canada.
More Resources for RVing to Canada
EZBorderCrossing is an excellent source of information about Canadian border crossing procedures. You can also refer to the CBSA website, where you can also check current wait times at the various border crossings and learn more about new restrictions.
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