Important COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice
As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
The Canadian authorities are now barring entry to Canada, including at its border with the US, to most foreign nationals, including British nationals. This exclusion does not apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents or their immediate families, temporary foreign workers, and some international students. Further details are available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website or call the Canada Border Service Agency helpline: 1 800 461 9999.
At point of departure, air operators must complete a basic health assessment of every passenger. No passengers (regardless of citizenship) who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will be allowed to board. Further details and latest information are available on the Canadian government website. If you have any questions, contact the local immigration authorities or the nearest Canadian High Commission, Embassy or Consulate.
Only Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL), Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) are operating international flights. Domestic flights, as well as flights from the United States, some destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean, and from St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, are currently not affected by this measure. You should check with your airline before you travel for the most up to date information.
Cruise ships with overnight accommodation allowed to carry more than 100 passengers are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until 31 October 2020. Further information on COVID-19 measures for cruise ships and other passenger vessels is available on Transport Canada’s website.
Everyone arriving in Canada is now legally required to self-isolate for 14 days. Heavy penalties apply if you fail to comply. From 15 April, you must also produce a credible self-isolation plan. An inadequate plan would include scenarios such as planning to stay with elderly family members or failing to have a set destination. Travellers who are unable to produce a credible plan will be placed in a quarantine location, such as a hotel, for a 2-week period.
All air passengers must have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their nose and mouth during travel. Passengers on all flights arriving at or departing from Canadian airport must demonstrate they have the necessary mask or face covering during the boarding process otherwise they will be stopped from continuing their journey. You can find further information on Transport Canada’s website.
People displaying symptoms of coronavirus when they arrival in Canada may not use public transportation to travel to their place of isolation. They also may not isolate in a place where they will be in contact with vulnerable people, such as elderly people and those with underlying health conditions.
You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities.
For questions about travel during the coronavirus pandemic, check the Health Canada website.
Regular entry requirements
British Citizens don’t usually need a visa to visit Canada for short periods, but you’ll need to get an Electronic Travel Authorisation before you travel (see below).
If you have a different type of British nationality or intend to travel for a longer period, such as for work or study, check entry requirements with the Canadian High Commission. Effective from 31 July 2018, you may need to give your fingerprints and photos (biometrics) at a visa application centre when applying for a study or work permit, or permanent residence. When you arrive in Canada, you will need to be able to show that you have enough funds available to support yourself during your stay, even if you’re staying with family and friends.
If you have any doubts about whether you’re eligible to enter Canada (eg if you have a criminal record or have been arrested even if it did not result in a conviction), or about visa matters generally, contact the Canadian High Commission before you travel.
Some unauthorised websites charge for submitting visa applications. These websites are not endorsed by or associated with the Canadian government. Be wary of such sites and businesses, particularly those that seek additional fees.
Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)
Visitors travelling to Canada by air are now expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada.
If you’re visiting Canada you’ll need an eTA to board your flight unless you’re otherwise exempted (for example, if you have a valid Canadian visa or a permanent resident card). If you have British-Canadian dual nationality you won’t be able to apply for an eTA and you’ll need to present a valid Canadian passport to board your flight to Canada.
If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification.
For more information about the eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Canada. You can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation using an ETD.
Travelling with children
If you’re travelling with children and only one parent is present, you should carry a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent. Immigration officers have the right to question children using simple and appropriate language to establish whether there are any concerns about child abduction. A letter of consent may help to dispel potential concerns.
For further information check with the Canadian High Commission or the Canada Border Services Agency.
Travelling to the USA
The Canada-US border is closed to non-essential travel.