Using Canada’s COVID-19 proof of vaccination for travel

Backgrounder

The Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination provides Canadian residents with a reliable way to demonstrate that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 when travelling within and outside Canada. Canadians can get their proof of vaccination from their province or territory (for more information, visit Canada.ca/vaccine-proof).

Each country decides what type of vaccination proof is required, the types of vaccines they accept, the number of doses required, and any exemptions to public health measures. Even with a Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination, a traveller may not be considered fully vaccinated in another country. Canadians should always check the entry and public health requirements of their destination country, as well as the Government of Canada’s travel advice and advisories, before booking a trip. It’s also important they understand their obligations and the entry requirements for returning to Canada.

Designed to protect privacy and share COVID-19 vaccination information safely

The information on the proof of vaccination is limited to

  • the holder’s full name and date of birth
  • a neutral, factual account of the holder’s COVID-19 vaccination history, including
    • the number of doses
    • the vaccine type(s), product name(s) and lot number(s)
    • the dates they got their vaccinations
    • a QR code that includes the vaccination history and may include additional information on the COVID-19 vaccines received

The only medical information shown is a person’s COVID-19 vaccination history. The proof, including the QR code, does not contain any additional medical or identity information.

A common look across Canada based on the SMART Health Card standard

The Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination was designed with a common look that features the Canada wordmark. It will allow other countries and transportation providers, such as airlines and cruise ship operators, to recognize the proof as a trusted Canadian document regardless of the province or territory that issued it.

The proof also complies with the SMART Health Card standard, which is used and recognized by many top travel destinations for Canadian travellers. The Government of Canada is actively engaging international partners to seek recognition and acceptance of the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination abroad. The SMART Health Card

  • is a secure and verifiable health record that is digitally signed by a trusted authority (for example, the issuing province or territory)
  • uses technology that allows officials to verify and authenticate the information without giving access to other health or identity information
  • prevents forgeries and tampering by detecting any changes to the document after it has been issued
  • allows users to hold a digital copy on a portable device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, or to print a copy directly or via a request to their provincial or territorial government, where available

ArriveCAN updates for travellers entering Canada

All travellers must submit mandatory information in ArriveCAN (mobile app or online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN) within 72 hours before arrival in Canada. To qualify for public health exemptions, travellers must meet the definition of a fully vaccinated traveller and upload their proof of vaccination. Final determination on whether they benefit from the modified provisions for fully vaccinated travellers is made at the border. Travellers must bring a digital or paper copy of their proof of vaccination with them.

ArriveCAN has been updated to digitally verify the authenticity of the new Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination, allowing Canadian officials to easily review it at the border. ArriveCAN users should update their app to ensure the latest functionality. If travellers do not have this new proof, they can continue to upload other proofs of vaccination in ArriveCAN.

Acceptance of mixed vaccine doses internationally

Canadians vaccinated with mixed vaccine doses followed recommendations made by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to protect themselves and their communities. It is important that they are able to travel with the associated benefits of vaccination.

As of November 8, 2021, Canadians vaccinated with any combination of 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization will be considered fully vaccinated and able to enter the United States. The Government of Canada is actively engaging other countries and international partners to encourage them to recognize those who have received mixed vaccine schedules or extended dose intervals as being fully vaccinated. This includes sharing Canada’s evidence and experience with mixed schedules of Health Canada-authorized vaccines for both AstraZeneca/mRNA and mixed mRNA doses. Initial outreach has focused on the ongoing exchange of technical and scientific information to advance this time-sensitive work.

The first priority for engagement has focused on national health and scientific decision-making authorities with significant impact and influence and with whom Canada has close, trusted relationships, including the U.S. and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The Government of Canada is also engaging with the World Health Organization given its global influence, and has successfully secured supportive commitments to recognize mixed vaccine schedules in numerous G7 and G20 Health Declarations issued in the last several weeks.

Using the proof of vaccination for travel in Canada

The Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination offers multiple benefits and uses, which includes meeting Canada’s new traveller vaccine requirements.

Effective October 30, 2021, all travellers 12 years of age and older departing from Canadian airports, and travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to travel. To allow travellers time to become fully vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel as an alternative to providing proof of full vaccination. If travellers have not already started the vaccination process, or do not start soon, they risk not qualifying for travel as of November 30, 2021.

Visit Boarding flights to and within Canada for more information.

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