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Canada extends U.S. border closure until at least Dec. 21

The Canadian border at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

Americans hoping to travel to visit their northern neighbors might not be able to this year. Canada’s border closure to nonessential travel has been extended until Dec. 21, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in a tweet Friday.

Border conditions had been set to expire on Saturday if they were not renewed.

Canada’s border has been closed since March 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the closure has been renewed every month. The terms of the border closure state: “To protect Canadians and to reduce the possible burden travelers could place on our health care system due to COVID-19, travel restrictions are in place across all ports of entry.”

Only essential workers, such as health-care employees needed in Canada, can enter. Canadian citizens, permanent residents and registered Indians under Canada’s Indian Act are also permitted, but they are subject to health screenings.

In October, Canada relaxed the terms for family members or significant others of Canadians to cross the border for family visits. Those terms allow for Canadians’ spouses, children, grandchildren and partners “in an exclusive dating relationship” who have been in the relationship for at least one year, to enter for visits under new terms.

Nonessential American visitors hoping to fly to Canada are also out of luck: The border closure applies to air travel.

“The Government of Canada has restricted non-essential travel of foreign nationals across its border,” Air Canada says on its website. “Foreign nationals wishing to enter Canada by air for optional, non-essential or discretionary purposes will not be permitted. Non-essential travel includes travelling for purposes such as tourism, sightseeing, recreation, entertainment, social visits and religious functions.”

The closure prevents Americans from nonessential entry, except for those who are passing through, such as truck drivers heading to Alaska.

A U.S. tourist was arrested in Canada in August for breaking quarantine guidance to visit Banff National Park.

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