What is ArriveCAN?

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ArriveCAN for Canada

ArriveCAN is a zero-cost digital platform that allows travelers who want to enter Canada to provide compulsory travel info, such as their quarantine details and proof of Covid-19 vaccination, via a secure platform before they enter the country and also after they’ve they’ve entered. It is run by the Government of Canada.

ArriveCAN can be accessed by downloading the app for iOS or Android or via their website.

How do I use ArriveCAN if I want to enter Canada?

The Canadian government introduced ArriveCAN when the COVID-19 pandemic became very severe. It provides a digital platform where individuals who want to enter the country can submit crucial travel information before their arrival.

For travelers who have never been to Canada and who are not familiar with ArriveCAN, it can be somewhat tricky to follow the correct procedures. In what follows we will walk you step-by-step through a guide on how to submit your data via ArriveCAN. We will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions to help make things even easier.

Who is required to use ArriveCAN?

Every traveler, with very few exceptions, who is entering Canada by land, air, marine vessel, or rail, has to use ArriveCAN unless such an individual has accessibility issues that exempt them from this requirement.

Travelers have to submit their info within 72 hours of arriving in Canada or boarding a cruise ship that is on its way to Canada.

Visitors who are traveling on a marine vessel (excluding a cruise ship) have to use ArriveCAN before they arrive in Canada or upon entry. The second option is to make provision for Wi-Fi problems while onboard.

Transit passengers who are on their way to another country and who will not be leaving the airport’s secure area do not have to submit their info via ArriveCAN.

What happens if I do not submit my information via ArriveCAN?

Travelers who fail to submit their info via the ArriveCAN system could be denied:

  • Boarding if they are traveling by cruise ship or air
  • Entry into the country if they are crossing the border via rail, land, or ship (applies to foreign nationals whose journey is for discretionary purposes).

Canadian permanent residents or citizens, individuals who are registered in terms of the Indian Act, and foreign nationals who qualify to enter the country under a different entry exemption (e.g. study, foreign work, or compassionate grounds) will not be prevented from entry or boarding, but they:

  • Could expect unnecessary delays related to public health questioning when they arrive at the border
  • Will not qualify for the exemption granted to fully vaccinated travelers
  • May expose themselves to enforcement action or fines

How do I submit my information via ArriveCAN?

1. Create an ArriveCAN account

To create an ArriveCAN account, you will have to download the app from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store or navigate to the ArriveCAN website in your browser. Start by entering your current email address and setting up a password. Make it easy to remember because you will have to use it to sign in to the account again later.

While you are creating an ArriveCAN account, you will be asked to read and accept a privacy statement. This sets out how your data might be used, as well as the penalties you might face for entering false information or failing to provide the correct personal info.

2. Open the ArriveCAN form.

You will notice that it is subdivided into various subsections. The order of these subsections may be different, depending on whether you are using the app or entering your data on the website.

2.1 Specify the purpose (reason) for your journey

Travelers who are newcomers and who have a valid COPR (Confirmation Of Permanent Residence) have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and should choose the optional/discretionary travel category.

Travelers who fall into the ‘essential worker’ category and who regularly cross the border for work, including those who live in the United States but work in Canada, are not required to create a full profile every time they want to cross the border. Their travel information will instead be saved on the ArriveCAN system and they will be able to make changes as required every time they travel to Canada.

2.2 Schedule a COVID-19 test

If you have to undergo a COVID-19 molecular test when you arrive in Canada, you can save time when you arrive at the airport by registering for it in advance. Although pre-registration is not compulsory, it is strongly advised. The Arrive-CAN website will ask you to acknowledge that you’ve read and understood the requirements for a post-arrival COVID-19 test.

From the beginning of April 2022, fully vaccinated travelers who enter Canada no longer have to undergo a COVID-19 test before their arrival. These travelers are now also exempt from undergoing a COVID-19 test on arrival. They can, however, still be randomly chosen for a COVID-19 test on arrival. Visitors who have not been fully vaccinated will still need COVID-19 tests before and after their arrival.

2.3 Enter details about your flight and other travel information

The next step is to enter more information regarding your travel plans. These include how you will be entering Canada. If you will be arriving by plane, you should enter your country of departure, flight info, airline, the name of the airport where you will arrive, time and date of arrival, and your flight number. Please take note that you will not be able to complete this section more than 72 hours before your arrival in Canada.

2.4 Enter up-to-date contact information

At this stage of the form submission, you have to provide an active phone number where you can be contacted. Remember to enter the relevant country code. You will be able to select whether you would like to get messages in English or French.

3. Enter information about the traveler or travelers

3.1 Information about travel documents

In this section you should, among others, enter the type of travel document you will be traveling with, for example, passport, NEXUS card, or permanent resident card. Enter your name and your date of birth exactly as given on the document, as well as the country where it was issued and the document number. If you have downloaded the ArriveCAN app, you will also have to upload a picture or a scanned copy of your travel document.

If you are applying for the first time and you have a COPR (Confirmation of Permanent Residence), work permit, or study permit, you should choose ‘Passport’ where it asks for your travel document.

3.2 Provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination

In the next step, you have to provide your vaccination info, such as the brand name of the vaccine you have received (e.g. Pfizer, etc.), the name of the country where you were vaccinated, and the date or dates on which you received each dose. If you have received more than one dose of the vaccine, you will have to provide separate info for every dose. You should also upload pictures of your vaccination receipts to the ArriveCAN system.

At the present moment, people who have received no less than 2 doses of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinovac, COVAXIN, or Sinopharm vaccines, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, are regarded as fully vaccinated by the Canadian authorities. If you have received a third or booster dose of one of the approved vaccines, you only have to provide details of the first two doses.

3.3 Name the travelers included in your group

Travelers who are entering Canada as part of a group and who plan to remain together for the duration of the trip do not have to create a separate ArriveCAN account for every member of the group. It is possible to upload the info for as many as 8 travelers on a single ArriveCAN receipt. In order to do this, you have to provide the travel document info and proof of COVID-19 vaccination for every member of the group within your own account.

As the main traveler you are allowed to provide travel info for yourself and:

  • your spouse
  • your common-law partner
  • your own kids or kids for whom you are the legal guardian, who are not older than 18 years
  • any other person over the age of 18 for whom you are the legal guardian

Do, however, not include other travelers who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who are traveling for a different purpose unless they are younger than 18 years old or a dependent adult who is in the company of a guardian that has been fully vaccinated.

If you are entering Canada as a foreign national for discretionary purposes and you are in the company of another person who is a Citizen of Canada, the two of you have to complete separate submissions.

Individuals who are traveling with a group of 18+ foreign citizens whose vaccination statuses are mixed should not include the unvaccinated individuals in their application except if they are dependent adults, otherwise their ArriveCAN application will be unsuccessful. The reason for this is that unvaccinated foreign nationals are not allowed entry into Canada for discretionary purposes.

You will be able to save the traveler data you entered on the ArriveCAN system in the app or on your account for later use. In the future you can, therefore, simply choose the travelers who are going to accompany you on your trip.

Receiving the ArriveCAN receipt

After you have submitted your info via the ArriveCAN system, a receipt will be shown on the screen and a copy will also be emailed to you. Please note that this receipt only confirms that you have successfully submitted your information. It does not confirm that you are eligible to enter Canada, or your essential travel or vaccination status. Your essential travel status and/or exemptions from certain public health requirements will be decided upon arrival by one of the border services officers.

How to use your ArriveCAN receipt after you have arrived in Canada

The moment you arrive in Canada, the border officials at your port of entry or airport will scan the ArriveCAN QR code to confirm that you entered the correct information when you applied.

At this stage, they might request to view your proof of COVID-19 vaccination and the test results (where applicable). It is, therefore, advisable to make sure you have a copy of the documentation with you upon arrival. You can keep a soft copy on your smartphone, or a printed copy, or both. If your original documents are in a language other than English or French, you should have both the original document and a translated version ready when entering Canada.

Even if you have been fully vaccinated, you could still be randomly chosen for a COVID-19 test after your arrival. To save time, you can schedule such a test before you arrive in Canada.

What happens if I fail to qualify for the exemption for fully vaccinated travelers?

Staring on the day following their arrival in Canada, every such traveler, unless he or she was exempted from this requirement, has to use ArriveCAN to:

  • Confirm that they have checked in at the address they entered for their isolation or quarantine location
  • Submit daily COVID-19 self-assessments of symptoms until they report symptoms or reach the end of the quarantine period
  • Confirm that he or she has completed the required test on the 8th day and sent the relevant sample to the laboratory. Officials from the Canadian government will then call them to make sure that they are complying with the rules of the isolation or quarantine. They will also have to reply to calls from 1-888-336-7735 and truthfully reply to questions to show that they are complying with the legislation. They may also be visited by a designated screening official to confirm that they are complying with the isolation or quarantine requirements.

In case the territorial or provincial requirements for quarantine where someone is staying differ from federal quarantine rules, he or she should adhere to the strictest directions of the two.

Travelers who are sent to a special quarantine facility do not have to report via the ArriveCAN system. At this facility they will, however, be subject to certain reporting requirements.

Can ArriveCAN guarantee that my personal information will be protected?

ArriveCAN never uses technologies such as GPS to track where you are. It solely uses the information that you provided. The personal info that you provided via the ArriveCAN system is protected in terms of the Privacy Act.