COVID-19

Cascadia Cross-Border Law is open. 

Although we are not performing in-person meetings, our staff is still working diligently to provide you with the services and support that you need.  

To Our Current Clients:

Please do not hesitate to reach out directly if you have specific questions or concerns about how COVID-19 will affect your immigration matter.

To Potential Clients:

The COVID-19 response has impacted most aspects of immigration, and particularly processing times. Most temporary and permanent immigration options remain available, but planning ahead to deal with backlogs, closures, and travel restrictions is essential. We highly encourage you to schedule a consultation, so you can get ahead of the game and plan for your business needs accordingly. 

General Information for Cross-Border Travelers 

The following is information on the essential travel rules that pertain to travel between the U.S. and Canada. This guidance is based on publicly available information and should not be construed as legal advice.  Updates are available from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Department of State websites. You can also follow us on social media to get general updates: Facebook | LinkedIn |Twitter

BASICS OF THE CLOSURE 

> On March 20, 2020 the U.S. and Canada entered into a joint initiative to limit non-essential travel of individuals by land, passenger rail, and ferry at ports of entry between the two countries. This closure does not apply to travel by air.   See: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/03/20/joint-statement-us-canada-joint-initiative-temporary-restriction-travelers-crossinghttps://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/03/24/2020-06217/notification-of-temporary-travel-restrictions-applicable-to-land-ports-of-entry-and-ferries-service 

> These restrictions have been extended in 30-day increments by the United States.

>Permitted essential travel includes work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, immediate medical care, and safety and security.  In most cases, business travel is considered essential.   See:  https://ca.usembassy.gov/message-to-u-s-citizens-in-canada-update-on-canadian-international-and-domestic-travel-restrictions-october-19-2020/https://ca.usembassy.gov/travel-restrictions-fact-sheet/ 

>Non-essential (prohibited) travel includes tourism, recreation, and entertainment.  See:  https://ca.usembassy.gov/message-to-u-s-citizens-in-canada-update-on-canadian-international-and-domestic-travel-restrictions-october-19-2020/

>Foreign nationals who are immediate or extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may now enter Canada for non-essential purposes under specified criteria:  See: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html#a1.3; https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/visitors/immediate-family.html#how-citizens-prs

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR AIR TRAVEL

The U.S. and Canadian governments have instituted new protocols for air travel.

>Effective January 26, all air passengers 2 years of age or older entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents), must present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days. Airlines must confirm the negative test result or proof of recent recovery for all passengers prior to boarding.

Please see CDC’s FAQ for answers to questions about the new requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States. The Canadian Government requires all air travelers 5 years of age or older be tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel to Canada. The new regulation requires passengers to provide their airline with negative laboratory COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. For more on this new requirement please click here. This new measure is in addition to the existing mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers entering Canada.

Note: COVID-19 tests in Canada are administered through the provinces and territories. More information, including links to provincial and territorial authorities, is available here. See: https://ca.usembassy.gov/message-to-us-citizens-011521/

QUARANTINE ACT IN CANADA 

The Canadian Border Services Agency posts updates on its most up-to-date rules and protocols for admission to Canada.

Generally 

>The Government of Canada has put in place measures that must be followed by all travelers returning to Canada

  • Travelers who do not have symptoms must quarantine for 14 days unless exempt 
  • Travelers who have symptoms of COVID-19 are referred to a PHAC staff member for further assessment and must isolate for 14 days 

>Video on COVID-19 procedures for general land border entry to Canada: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/multimedia/ncov/land-terrestre-eng.html 

>Video on COVID-19 procedures for general air entry into Canada: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/multimedia/ncov/air-avion-eng.html  

Exemption from Quarantine 

>Certain travelers are exempt from the requirement to quarantine. Notably, the exemptions include asymptomatic persons who must cross the border regularly to go to their normal place of employment. See: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html#a3; https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/corporate/mandate/about-agency/acts-regulations/list-acts-regulations.html#emergency

>Whether a person is exempt will be determined by CBSA on entry to Canada. Travelers can request exemption directly to CBSA by providing details about the nature of their work. They should include a letter from their employer outlining why their travel qualifies as essential, and as much supporting documentation as possible (client contract, etc.)

>Individuals requiring assistance in interpreting the rules relating to the border restrictions and exemptions currently in effect may contact Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) at phac.emergencyorder-decretdurgencecovid19.aspc@canada.ca.

PHAC can provide opinions on the interpretation of the exemptions as it relates to individual situations but does not issue exemption letters to travelers. A letter from PHAC is not required to be considered exempt from quarantine. Please include the following information to PHAC, at minimum:

  • number of travelers and country of citizenship of each traveler
  • planned travel dates/frequency of travel
  • specific purpose for travel to Canada
  • an explanation as to why you are of the view that you qualify for exemption and are unable to plan for a 14-day quarantine
  • please include any relevant information to support your explanation (Note: do not include copies of personal/sensitive documentation (e.g. images of passports, licenses)

See: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/corporate/mandate/about-agency/acts-regulations/list-acts-regulations.html#GE3