Why can’t anyone get this right? Since I was one of the first Canadians during the pandemic (dual residency) who flew from Toronto to West Palm Beach and drove from Florida to Toronto by car (literally crossing at high noon on July 6th), I can tell you most websites and “snowbird advisors” are providing pretty bad advice. I know it is very complicated and even when you think you have covered all of the bases someone changes the border rules in a nano-second.
Unfortunately, the bad advice stems from a simple “nuance”. Canada and US might share a border but each has its own requirements when entering its sovereignty. Yes you can go north and south, but you need to know what the country’s entrance requirements are at the time of crossing. Check the website of the country you’re entering. It’s the only authoritative site you can rely on. I know – i do.
Here are 3 important points Snowbirds need to be aware of.
- If you’re not fully vaccinated – forget it. You can debate the issue all you want about legal rights, vaccine safety, efficacy, etc., but most first world countries do not want you. For those fully vaccinated the world is opening up. The US is expected to follow Canada’s cross border lead and only allow those fully vaccinated entrance into its’ country.*
- Arranging the pre-covid test is complicated since it has to be done within 72 hours of crossing. Tests need to be scheduled and a reservation time accepted. If you’re flying “Life Labs” does the testing in Toronto, but you need to book your flight first. You will be directed to a “Shoppers Drug Mart” that does the test – with no guarantee they will have the results ready by the time you fly away. When I returned to Canada from Florida I pre-arranged my covid test at a Walgreens in Kingsport, Tennessee, and literally received my result while driving through New York state.
- How will the US define “fully vaccinated”? Canada defines those fully vaccinated with a list of acceptable vaccines, and the mixing of the listed vaccines such as a first dose of Astra Zeneca + a second dose of an MRNA vaccine. Presently The US has never accepted Astra Zeneca for emergency use, nor do they agree to the mixing of vaccines as meeting the requirement of “fully vaccinated”. This is extremely complicated and one that could have deleterious consequences on Snowbirds travel plans for this coming season. Stay tuned!