Before you read this MoVernie BLOG about what Canadians need to prepare before air travelling to the United States of America (USA), please be advised that the health & safety guidelines and the travel guidelines are constantly changing between the respective official Canadian and USA websites. Please make sure you visit those official websites and read their constant changing updates. This BLOG doesn’t hold any responsibility and is based on the INFO as of October 1, 2021 from the Canadian and American official websites.
As the travel restrictions in Canada has been loosen a bit recently as more people are double vaccinated (double vexed), people are starting to research and wanted to know what they need to prepare if they want to travel outside of Canada, whether it’s visiting the USA or in Europe or Asia. In this particular MoVernie BLOG, we will ONLY explore the documentations and requirements you need if you do plan to travel to the USA.
Recently, I have been seeing more people are getting more comfy to travel outside of Ontario. Majority of them though are travelling within Canada to destinations such as Vancouver, BC or Banff, Alberta. They are travelling within Canada as they feel safer travelling within Canada. Moreover, the flights travelling to other Canadian places are really cheap or reasonable right now. Better yet, the MAJOR reason, in my opinion, is the fact that you don’t have to quarantine after you have landed to the destination you are visiting. Nor do you have to pay to conduct any test results in order to fly within Canada. These are all major factors to visit within Canada.
BUT…..what if you do want to travel outside of Canada and want to visit USA destinations by plane? I have done some homework and extended research and I have asked some of my buddies who lives in the USA or have families in the USA that they have experienced the air travel first hand in recent months.
Well……..here are some of the KEY pointers that you have to be aware of.
1) Before you buy a flight ticket, make sure you read carefully of the requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is the official website from the USA that you should consistent check if they have changed their guidelines for entry.
2) Of course, you should also check the Canadian Government of Canada website to ensure that you know what you require if you plan back to Canada. NOTE: The guidelines for USA, Canada and other countries all varies. Never assume and make sure you do your homework, coz you sure don’t want to get deny at the border as it could be costly.
What You Need When Flying Into USA:
1. Your Flight Ticket:
Make sure you got a flight ticket. Make sure to read any guidelines and requirements from your airline ahead of time in case you have questions or concerns.
MoVernie TIP: Make sure you check if your airline provides free cancellation or free re-scheduling of your flights. Lots of airlines provide such complimentary services as they want to bring back passengers’ confidence to air travel again.
2. Travel Insurance:
Depending on your individual situation, perhaps you already have personal insurance or work insurance that covers your travel. But if you don’t, I highly recommend you to purchase travel insurance, it’s reasonably cheap, it’s for peace of mind, you are covered if you catch COVID during your flight or at the destination you are visiting. Medical bills could be costly and you sure don’t want to take a chance of not having any travel insurance.
MoVernie TIP: Check with your airlines to see if your flight is covered with travel insurance. For the peace of mind, some airlines are including complimentary travel insurance to ensure you are safe and sound. However, do check what the airline travel insurance covers, as they may be limited with the coverage that you may still want to purchase your own travel insurance that fits your needs.
3. Antigen Test:
Currently, to enter USA, all they require is a negative antigen test result. An antigen test are widely available to be tested around the province. In fact, you can walk into your nearest Shoppers Drug Mart to get it done. Although they allow walk-in, I highly recommend you to call ahead of time and book an appointment. The pharmacist will ask you some preliminary questions before deciding if you are qualified for an antigen test. They will ask for your name, birthdate, any symptoms and other questions. Once they have determined that you are qualified, they will book you in. Make sure you book at a time that is within 72 hours of your flight. Don’t book at a time that is beyond 72 hours coz your results will NOT be valid for your flight.
MoVernie TIP: For USA, they are not as tight with the 72 hours, they allow within 3 days, the 3 days is much more flexible than 72 hours, coz as long as your test was conducted within 3 days, it’s better than within 72 hours to the dot, to provide the passengers some wiggle time to work with. I would however, suggest to conduct the antigen test within 48 hours instead. Since the antigen test can be readily conducted at so many Shoppers locations, and results are returned within 30 mins, there is no need to stretch too thin to do it 3 days out. In case your flight is delayed, you want some wiggle room. However, some told me that if your flight is delayed and your test results is over 72 hours, the airline staff may not recognize the negative result. But…some told me that airline staff will still recognize your test results coz it’s not your fault for the flight delay. (Anyhow, check with your airline guidelines)
A rapid Antigen test done at Shoppers is $40 CDN (all-in), which is very reasonably priced, it’s conveniently located near you, and you get the results within 30 minutes. There is no need to go to some lab that costs more than $40 CDN for an antigen test. Once you are done, the pharmacist at Shoppers will provide you with a hardcopy of your negative result. Keep the hardcopy with you as that’s the proof you need to board your plane.
MoVernie TIP: Some peeps suggest you to still get a PCR test to fly to USA, I beg to differ, PCR test is more costly, it has less locations to conduct such PCR test plus it would take between 24 to 48 hours to get your test results. If the USA only needs an antigen test, why would you want to pay more for a PCR test?
NOTE: Make sure you bring your passport with you or at least a screen shot of your passport number as the pharmacist will ask to look at your passport to ensure your document is valid and he/she needs to input the passport number and INFO into the negative test result.
I recommend you to photocopy or take screen shots of your negative result, so in case you lost your hardcopy, you still have a backup.
In Summary: This is what you need to bring with you when boarding the plane and entering USA:
1. A flight ticket
2. Check in within 24 hours of your flight (digital copy or hardcopy)
3. Boarding Pass – You should have a digital boarding pass but before you are boarded, the airline staff will call out your name to come to the counter to examine your negative antigen test. At that point, please ask for a hardcopy as they either checkmark that they have examined your negative test
4. Bring your negative antigen test
NOTE: Unlike Canada which has the ArriveCAN app, there is no app needed to download to enter the USA. When entering the USA. Remember, you will need all the necessary documents at the Toronto Pearson International Airport as the American Border Officers are at the Pearson airport. You will have to get pass them before you board the plane.
This publication is a general summary of the law. It does not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.