Restrictions now prevent most non-essential or discretionary travel to Canada


Restrictions now prevent most non-essential or discretionary travel to Canada

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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Dear Mr Brown:

I have a visitor's visa for Canada but I want to know whether I can travel to Canada at this time. I heard that some people are being turned back at the airport. I want to know if this is true, as my visa is valid until 2025.

– ED

Dear ED:

I am not sure of the purpose of your travel. However, I can offer a general response to your query. In response to the pandemic, the Canadian Government announced travel restrictions for foreign nationals that affects visitors, even if they have a valid visitor's visa or electronic travel authorisation (ETA). The restrictions essentially prevent most non-essential or discretionary travel to Canada.

Accompanying family members

International students and their accompanying family members must be entering Canada for non-discretionary/non-optional purposes. Travel to Canada is considered essential (non-discretionary) if an international student has a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows approval for a study permit and his/her DLI is on the approved list. However, when a student travels with family members, a Canada Border Services Agency officer will still assess whether the purpose of travel is for non-discretionary purposes.

Foreign nationals eligible to travel to Canada

To be eligible to travel to Canada as a foreign national, a traveller must meet the requirements for one of the following:

• An immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is staying in Canada for 15 days or more.

• An extended family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is staying in Canada for 15 days or more.

• A person who is authorised by the Public Health Agency of Canada to travel to Canada for compassionate reasons.

Compassionate reasons

A foreign national travelling to Canada for a compassionate reason, must obtain authorisation.

Examples of compassionate reasons can include:

• Being present during the final moments of life for a loved one.

• Providing support to a person deemed critically ill.

• Providing care to a person who medically requires support.

• Attending a funeral or end-of-life ceremony.

Other travel by foreign nationals

To be eligible as a foreign national (outside of the US in this case), one must be part of the following non-exhaustive list:

• Temporary foreign worker

• International students who meet the stipulations of attending an approved DLI

• Some people who have been approved for permanent residency in Canada, but who are not yet permanent residents

• Immediate family members with written authorisation from IRCC to reunite with a temporary resident of Canada

• Transiting passengers

All approved travellers must have a quarantine plan for 14 days.

Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programs, including Express Entry, The Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

– Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM—a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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