International arrivals to Canada

International arrivals to Canada continued to increase

In May 2022, the number of international arrivals to Canada rose sharply from May 2021. Moreover, numbers continued to approach levels recorded in the same month in 2019 (before the pandemic).

507,600 non-resident visitors from overseas countries and the United States arrive at Canadian airports (with PIKs) in May. PIKs are the primary inspection kiosks that travellers use to confirm their identity and submit their customs declarations.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of international arrivals in May was almost 30 times the number of such arrivals (16,700) observed in May 2021. However, the number is below the 649,300 who arrived by air during the same month in 2019 (before the pandemic).

Image: Statistics Canada / Non-resident visitors arriving in Canada by commercial aircraft, May 2019 to 2022

A new report also showed that the number of visitors from major markets continued to increase. For example, the number of visitors from Europe jumped from 5,600 in April 2021 to 122,800 in April 2022. Also, the number of visitors from Asia increased from 15,100 to 45,100 over the same period.

On the other hand, the number of Canadian residents landing at airports equipped with PIKs (in May) was 1.1 million. It is up by more than 1 million from May 2021 (43,500).

<<Also Read: How to avoid long border wait times at the airport>>

The Government of Canada is trying to reduce traveller wait times at Canada’s major airport

Canadians are excited to get back to travelling. However, due to the evolving COVID-19 requirements, this has translated into delays during peak periods. The week of the Easter long weekend (April 11 to 17), Canada welcomed over one million travellers. Moreover, in May, some passengers were kept on planes for hours (in some cases) due to a lack of space at airports.

This week, Transport Canada provided an update on the progress that the Government of Canada and industry partners are making to reduce wait times at Canadian airports. The actions include:

  • Since April, nearly 1,000 CATSA screening officers have been hired across Canada.
  • CBSA is also maximizing officer availability and additional Student Border Services Officers are now at work.
  • The CBSA and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority are making available additional kiosks at Toronto Pearson International Airport customs hall areas.
  • As of June 11, Canada temporarily suspended mandatory randomized COVID-19 testing at all airports until June 30. Moreover, as of July 1, all test swabbing, including for unvaccinated travellers, will be performed off-site.
  • PHAC is adding additional staff on select days to verify that travellers have completed their ArriveCAN submissions on arrival and further inform air travellers about the importance of the mandatory requirements.

Border restrictions further eased

On June 20, 2022, Canada also suspended vaccination requirements for:

  • domestic and outbound travel,
  • federally regulated transportation sectors, and
  • federal government employees.

However, this change does not affect border measures. All travellers entering Canada must follow entry requirements, including vaccination. Also, travellers entering Canada must enter their information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada, according to Transport Canada.

Travellers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may be subject to Day 1, Day 8 molecular testing, quarantine for 14 days, Transport Canada said. They are also subject to fines or other enforcement actions, regardless of their vaccination status.

Please, note that you can check this tool to determine if you can cross the border:

<<Also Read: Canada welcomed over one million travellers in a week>>

Who is considered fully vaccinated?

A fully vaccinated traveller means you must have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 accepted vaccine or at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Currently, Canada accepts the following vaccines:

  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Medicago Covifenz
  • Moderna (Spikevax, mRNA-1273) including for children aged 6 to 11 years
  • Novavax (NVX-COV2373, Nuvaxovid, Covovax)
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2) including for children aged 5 to 11 years
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

Be aware that you are also considered fully vaccinated if you have had a mix of two accepted COVID-19 vaccines. Of course, you must have had the second dose at least 14 days before entering Canada.

Let us help!

If you have general questions about how to enter Canada, fill out the following form. Of course, you can also book an appointment for official advice about travelling to Canada or other immigration subjects. Additionally, you can fill out our free assessment form.

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