Saturday, June 10, 2023

My experiences with entering Canada in autumn 2021

Canada, along with many other countries around the world, imposed an entry ban on Europeans in March 2020. This remained in force for almost a year and a half. Since September 7, 2021 (we reported), vaccinated people from all over the world have been allowed to enter the largest country in North America again without quarantine.

I took this opportunity to embark on my first long-haul trip since the pandemic began. It took me to Canada in September/October 2021 and two weeks later to the USA. A way to circumvent the US entry ban, which will probably no longer be necessary from November.

In this post I would like to briefly describe my experiences with entering Canada.

Prior to travel

Some formalities should be completed several days before departure to be on the safe side. Specifically, eTA, vaccination certificate and test certificate as well as an online travel registration are required in order to get on the plane at all.


Similar to the USA, Canada now also requires an electronic travel authorization for visa-free travel. This permit costs a one-off fee of CA$ 7 (~€5) and is then valid for five years. You should definitely apply for it directly on and not through any dubious visa platforms that are used for your Service charge a multiple of the price.

My last eTA had meanwhile expired due to the receipt of a new passport, so I had to apply for a new one. The application takes a few minutes but is otherwise relatively straightforward. Are queried:

  • Personal data
  • Data from the passport
  • Data on the professional situation
  • Dates of the planned trip (if already known)
  • A few more questions, such as if you’ve ever been denied entry

Overall, the process is very similar to the US ESTA, just a little shorter and cheaper. After payment, it took about two hours for the redeeming email to arrive: eTA approved.

My experiences with entering canada in autumn 2021
Eta approved


A vaccination alone is not enough to travel to Canada as a tourist. A negative corona test is also required no earlier than 72 hours before the scheduled departure time was carried to Canada. For flights with a transfer, the departure time at the last transfer airport counts.

A quick test is not enough. The Government of Canada website gives a good overview of which tests are allowed and which are not. In any case, you won’t go wrong with a PCR test, I haven’t come across the other test types such as NAAT and RT-LAMP here.

Alternatively, by the way, one is sufficient positiver PCR-Test, if he is between 14 and 180 days old. The criteria for the test are the same.

Unfortunately, there is no PCR test center in my home town of Rostock that is also open on weekends. To be on the safe side, I went to the Centogene test center in Berlin on a special Sunday eWork hazards. I had paid the €69 online in advance. The throat swab did not require an appointment reservation and was completely uncomplicated. Three minutes after entering the test center I was already outside again.

Results were promised within 24 hours. In fact, the result came much earlier, despite testing on a Sunday. I went to the test around 12pm and at 11pm I got an email about the negative test result.

My experiences with entering canada in autumn 2021
One likes to read that: pcr test negative.


The Centogene test center I used in downtown Berlin is now closed. However, there is another Centogene at the airport that provides results in just 35 minutes for an additional charge. Alternatively, there are various other providers with PCR tests from around €50.

Travel registration: ArriveCAN

Filling in the ArriveCAN-Form is mandatory for travelers to Canada. The form can only be filled out electronically – either on the ArriveCAN website or via the app for Android or iOS.

The ArriveCAN service is at maximum 72 hours before the planned entry to disposal. You should have filled out the online form by the time you check in at the latest.

The registration of the trip at ArriveCAN first requires a free registration. The following information about the planned trip is then requested:

  • Reason or type of entry (see screenshot)
  • Travel details, including flight number and date
  • Personal data including data from the passport
  • Photo / scan of the vaccination certificate in English or French.
    • I used the digital Covid certificate that is handed out in the vaccination centers or pharmacies (both documents uploaded individually). I can’t say whether a photo of the yellow WHO vaccination card is sufficient – but there could be problems because the name is on a different page than the vaccination stamp.
  • Information on which countries have been visited within the last 14 days
  • Confirmation that a negative / positive corona test can be presented
    • You still have to take the test at ArriveCAN Not upload. It is only required at check-in or the actual entry into Canada. You don’t have to wait until you receive the test result to fill out the ArriveCAN form.
  • quarantine plan
My experiences with entering canada in autumn 2021
Those who do not qualify for any of the other points should tick the box with exceptions for vaccinated persons

After filling out all fields, the form can be sent. The vaccination certificate will then be checked manually in the background. You will receive an e-mail confirming that the form has been sent. At the same time, you can now call up the registration in the ArriveCAN app and always have the proof at hand:

Arrivecan receipt

The quarantine plan

quarantine plan? Sounds scary when vaccinated people are actually exempt from the quarantine obligation.

The Canadian government reserves the right to order a corona test for those who have been vaccinated upon entry. According to the website, the whole thing happens randomly, only children under 5 and those who have recovered are excluded.

I have not yet heard that vaccinated people were actually tested when they entered Canada, and there is no report on this in the frequent flyer club either. Theoretically, however, it can happen that you get a positive result in these random tests. In this case you have to inform the health authorities and, if necessary, go into quarantine.

The quarantine plan is intended for this (unlikely) event. You must enter an address here where you could quarantine for 14 days if necessary. I simply listed a Toronto airport hotel that would have been available for two weeks. A proof of booking is not required, because as a vaccinated person you are allowed to move freely in the country.

Trip to Canada

As you can see, the bureaucratic hurdles before the trip are relatively large. I was all the more excited about what to expect on the trip itself.


The biggest hurdle for long-distance travel is currently not entering the country at the counter. Instead, the airlines already rigorously check all the required documents. Because if passengers are denied entry due to insufficient documents, the airlines may have to pay high fines.

I flew from Warsaw to Toronto with LOT, so I had to check in in Warsaw. I didn’t have the feeling that the employee was really clear about the entry requirements. Anyway, I showed the negative PCR test result, the eTA confirmation and ArriveCAN and was then checked in to Toronto without any problems.

Entry into Toronto

When the LOT plane landed in Toronto in the afternoon, there was little activity at the airport. So it happened that after a short walk I got to one of the entry machines without waiting. After reading the passport, only a few short questions about luggage and the planned length of stay had to be answered there.

Experience has shown that the printed form (handed out on the plane) is not required when using an immigration machine, as the customs declaration is made digitally. Instead, the machine prints out a small piece of paper.

We continued – also without waiting – to one of the immigration counters. There the officer just wanted to see the negative corona test result again. I received a colored sticker on my passport, which exempts you from having to take an arrival test. He then let me through to baggage claim without further questions. In some cases, the employees will probably ask for the ArriveCAN confirmation code again.

Yyz airport behind immigration
Between immigration and baggage carousel at toronto airport

The rest of the process:

  • Picking up baggage (if checked in)
  • Go through customs, which collects the entry slip
  • One last check: the sticker on the passport is used to sort out passengers who still have to go to the corona test

Overall, the immigration process went very smoothly. I was off the plane at 3:22 p.m. and at 3:34 p.m. I was already at the baggage carousel after immigration. In fact, I got through so quickly that the handing out of the suitcases hadn’t even started. 3:40 p.m., ie 18 minutes after getting off the plane, I was already standing in the arrivals hall with my suitcase. Welcome to Canada!

In Canada

Below are a few words about the current situation in Canada (as of October 2021).

Anyone traveling to Canada should be aware that many facilities such as restaurants, hotel pools and others require proof of vaccination. In fact, the vaccination certificates are also checked much more rigorously than in Germany and usually with the ID matched.

The same document as for entry should preferably be used as proof of the test. I have always used the German CovPass app as proof. Unfortunately, this is primarily in German and therefore difficult for Canadians to understand. However, this can be solved by (temporarily) changing the system language to English. It says above the QR code and your name fully vaccinated – very convincing!

Covpass canada
The covpass app is also a useful companion in canada

As in Germany, masks are compulsory in all public transport as well as when shopping and in other closed areas. This is followed by almost everyone.

I experienced a moment of shock when the following e-mail arrived four days after entering the country:

Canada mail quarantine
Official-sounding email with sender “Quarantine…”? Does not sound good

Luckily, the email turned out to be a false alarm. It just said: Falls If I had been selected for the corona test, it would have to be mandatory. Since that wasn’t the case, completely irrelevant.

You can find out more about our trip to Canada in the 47th Travel Dealz Podcast:


Traveling will not be as uncomplicated as it was before Corona. Preparing to travel to Canada involves a few bureaucratic hurdles and additional costs for the PCR test. Otherwise, the entry went surprisingly smoothly.

I wouldn’t let vaccination and testing requirements stop me from having a great time in Canada. On the contrary: many countries around the world have not been as empty as they were in the times of the corona pandemic. We can probably benefit from this for a few more months.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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