Canada immigration news: The U.S. is opening its border to fully-vaccinated Canadian from Monday – but the trip back home is going to be too costly to just cross the border to buy cheap gas and do a little shopping.
“Starting Nov. 8, fully-vaccinated, non-citizen travelers arriving at a U.S. land port of entry or ferry terminal for non-essential travel should be prepared with appropriate documentation,” notes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
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Those requirements for Canadians heading south include:
- presenting proof of COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, and;
- verbally attesting to their non-essential travel and COVID-19 vaccination status.
“Individuals engaged in essential travel will not be required to be vaccinated at this time. Starting in January 2022, however, all inbound foreign national travelers crossing U.S. land ports of entry or ferry terminals, whether for essential or non-essential reasons, must be fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination,” states the American border agency on its website.
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That’s good news for fully-vaxxed Canadian snowbirds – and those with family near the border.
“This is good news for businesses and families that have suffered under the continued border shutdown,” tweeted New York Congressman Brian Higgins when the re-opening was first announced.
By Monday, the U.S. border will have been closed to non-essential travel for 19 months and 19 days, since March 21 last year.
Border Re-Opening Does Little For Day-Tripping Canadians
But the re-opening of the border to non-essential travel does little to those Canadians who live near the United States and like to hop across the border for a bit of shopping.
Everyone entering Canada still has to submit information into ArriveCAN using the app or website within 72 hours of their planned entry into the country and provide their:
- pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result;
- travel and contact information;
- 14-day travel history;
- quarantine plan (if required);
- vaccination information (for fully vaccinated travellers); and
- COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
Those PCR tests costs between $150 and $300, effectively making day trips to the United States to cash in on lower retail prices south of the border a waste of time for most shoppers.
On Twitter, the need for the PCR tests to re-enter Canada has many furious.
“Still need a PCR test coming home even though double-vaccinated. It’s BS!” complained one Twitter user. “Enough of this!”
PCR Requirement Is Overkill, Say Some
In another tweet another user called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do away with the PCR tests, claiming these do nothing but enrich American companies that administer the tests.
“Let’s eliminate the PCR tests coming home to Canada. Vaccines work. Stop making Americans richer!” she wrote.
Others complain the requirement that the traveller is fully-vaccinated is itself unfair since the vaccines do not prevent all transmission of Covid-19.
“It should be open for all, not contingent on vax status,” tweeted one user. “There are still many families separated due to this discriminatory policy. Since the vaccine doesn’t stop transmission, at the very least, a family exemption or a negative test should suffice.”
The Frontier Duty-Free Association (FDFA), an association representing Canada’s land border duty-free stores, agrees.
“Our road to recovery also depends on the Canadian government eliminating the negative PCR test requirement,” the association tweeted.
The Future Borders Coalition, an organization promoting efficiency and security at the border, has supported the re-opening but indicated it wants more information on how everything will play out.
“We await details on testing protocols and other entry requirements. Adequate Customs Border Patrol staffing at the border and proof of vaccination solutions are essential to avoid delays,” the organization tweeted.