Feigenbaum Law

One Year Anniversary Of Border Closure Nears

February 26, 2021

It has been nearly one year since the US/Canadian border became largely closed for all but essential travel. Travel restrictions have not only impacted tourism, but they have also caused two of Canada’s sports teams to temporarily relocate over the past year, and have had an impact on all types of businesses. At Feigenbaum Law we wanted to take a moment to update our readers on where border travel stands today.

Entering Canada

It was announced last week that non-essential travel between Canada and the United States would remain in place until at least March 21. That marks exactly one year since the border closed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some exceptions are in place to allow people to travel into Canada when necessary, new restrictions on quarantine recently came into effect. These measures require all visitors, or Canadians returning home, to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense. This includes people who are not showing any COVID-19 symptoms. If any symptoms arise or someone tests positive during that quarantine period,  the clock will start ticking again from the date of a positive test or when symptoms started showing.

People with COVID-19 are not allowed to enter Canada unless they are Canadian nationals, persons with status under the Indian Act, permanent residents, or protected persons entering at a land port of entry.

The Canadian government has posted a checklist for would-be travelers to confirm if they are eligible to come to Canada, and if so, how they must prepare.

Snowbirds react

While these changes may not have a significant impact on Canadians living in Canada, those who maintain homes on both sides of the border (sometimes referred to as “snowbirds”) may have found themselves suddenly on the hook for a three-day hotel isolation when they return. If returning by air, travelers must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of their arrival. They must also take a second test upon arrival.

A story published by CTV stated that some snowbirds are disappointed that the government put these new requirements into place with little notice. One Canadian who lives full time in Florida told CTV, “I don’t think it is fair to treat them like a simple visitor who will go for an all-inclusive two-week vacation in Mexico.”

Quarantine not required for travel into the United States

The general border closure between the countries applies to Canadians seeking to enter the United States. For those who qualify under the exceptions to this rule, they will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel before being allowed to board a flight. However, no nationally-imposed quarantine requirements are in place once travelers arrive.

Individual states have different rules for people arriving from out of the country. The Center for Disease Control has posted an informational article advising people to check with local states for any restrictions that may exist on the state-level before arriving.

The US Immigration system is characterized by extremely complex and onerous rules and regulations. Our expertise lies in navigating that complexity. Contact Mark Feigenbaum about making your transition across the border as smooth as possible. We offer services to clients in the US, Canada and around the world. Contact us at mark@feigenbaumlaw.com, or call us at (905) 695-1269 or toll free at (877) 275-4792 to learn more about how we can help.