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Canada drops pre-departure COVID test from April – will the USA follow?

Canada is ditching its pre-departure COVID-19 test from 1 April. Will the move finally convince its neighbour south of the border to follow suit?

There’s good news if you’re planning a quarantine-free trip to Canada from April onwards, with the government there announcing that those touching down on international flights from 1st April 2022 at 0.01am will no longer be required to take a COVID-19 test before departure.

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This will make travel to Canada for fully vaccinated passengers test-free, though mandatory random on-arrival testing will continue to be conducted. This is free of charge and there is no isolation requirement if you are selected, so you can still continue with your journey including taking connecting domestic flights.

“We can now take the next step forward and remove testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada. The economy, workers and tourism business owners will benefit from this next step in opening Canada up once again to the world.”

Randy Boissonnault, Canada Minister of Tourism

This follows Canada’s relaxation of pre-departure testing, allowing the cheaper rapid antigen (ART) method for all arrivals since 28th February 2022.

Current PDT requirements

For those arriving in Canada on an international flight on or before 31st March 2022, the existing pre-entry test requirement remains in force, comprising either:

  • PCR test within 72 hours of departure of your final flight to Canada; or
  • an ART test within one day prior to departure.

For example, if you are flying to Vancouver non-stop from Singapore on SQ28 departing at 9.15am on a Tuesday, your pre-departure test would have to be taken:

  • PCR: At or after 9.15am on Saturday
  • ART: Anytime on Monday or Tuesday

Those aged four or below based on date of birth are exempt from the pre-departure test (PDT) when travelling to Canada.

New PDT requirements

For fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Canada on an international flight on or after 1st April 2022, there is no longer a requirement to have a pre-departure test. This will also apply to arrivals in the country by land or water.

There will be no COVID-19 testing on Singapore – Vancouver trips from 1 April

For partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers, pre-entry testing requirements are not changing. Unless otherwise exempt, all travellers five years of age or older who do not qualify as fully vaccinated must continue to provide proof of a pre-entry COVID-19 test, as outlined above.

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Unvaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada will also have a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival and on Day 8, while they quarantine for 14 days.

Which vaccine?

Vaccines accepted by the Canada for the purpose of travel to the country are:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD
  • Covaxin
  • Novavax
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • COVAXIN
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have received, at least 14 calendar days earlier by the day you travel:

  • at least two doses of a vaccine listed above; or
  • a mix of two vaccines listed above; or
  • at least one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine

There is currently no requirement for travellers to have received a booster vaccine dose in order to travel to Canada.

ArriveCAN remains

All travellers entering Canada, including returning residents, will continue to be required to complete the ArriveCAN pre-entry form within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada.

“Travelers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may have to test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status.”

Government of Canada

This does not apply to those transiting through Canada to another international destination without leaving the secure airside zone of the airport.

For example, passengers on SQ28 from Singapore continuing from Vancouver to Seattle on the same flight are exempt from completing the ArriveCAN form.

Full requirements for travel to Canada

Travel to Canada from overseas as a fully vaccinated passenger becomes a relatively simple process from 1st April 2022.

Canada Entry Requirements
🇨🇦
From 1st April 2022

To travel to Canada without quarantine, fully vaccinated visitors must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in accordance with the definition above
  • Most visitors travelling by air, including Singapore Citizens, require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada
  • Have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  • Upload contact information and proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN
  • Complete your ArriveCAN submission within 72 hours of arrival and and have ArriveCAN receipt with letter I, V, or A beside your name
  • Complete arrival test if selected (no quarantine period applies)
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after entry into Canada

Singapore Airlines’ Vancouver flights

Singapore Airlines restarted seasonal non-stop flights to and from Vancouver in December 2021, and has since increased to year-round operation on the route, also de-pairing the city from Seattle from June 2022.

Singapore Airlines restarted non-stop flights to Vancouver in December 2021. (Photo: Vancouver Airport)

Vancouver flights operate as shown below.

Singapore Vancouver
Flight Schedule
(Now – 31 May 2022)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Singapore_Airlines_Small.png SQ28
A350 Long Haul
Days
M T W T F S S
SIN
09:00
YVR
08:45

Singapore Vancouver
Flight Schedule
(2 Jun – 29 Oct 2022)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Singapore_Airlines_Small.png SQ48
A350 Long Haul
Days
M T W T F S S
SIN
07:00
YVR
06:45

Vancouver Singapore
Flight Schedule
(Now – 31 May 2022)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Singapore_Airlines_Small.png SQ27
A350 Long Haul
Days
M T W T F S S
YVR
14:30
SIN
21:40*

* Next day

Vancouver Singapore
Flight Schedule
(2 Jun – 29 Oct 2022)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Singapore_Airlines_Small.png SQ47
A350 Long Haul
Days
M T W T F S S
YVR
08:35
SIN
15:40*

* Next day

Thankfully there are no longer any designated VTL flights to worry about for those arriving in Singapore from 1st April 2022, though all Vancouver – Singapore flights are quarantine-free both before and after the cut-off date anyway.

Singapore – Canada trip testing

Travel from Singapore to Canada and back will now only require a single COVID-19 test, and that’s in Canada itself before flying back to Singapore (i.e. Singapore’s pre-departure test requirement).

This too is set to be dropped in the coming weeks, which will hopefully open up Canada as a two-way quarantine-free and test-free trip option for those visiting friends and relatives, tourists and business travellers alike.

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Clinic antigen (ART) testing in Canada is very expensive, costing CAD 79 (~S$86) at Vancouver Airport, and often even more downtown, with costs of CAD 130 (~S$142) not uncommon.

COVID testing in Canada is expensive, but there’s a solution. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Luckily there’s a new option for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Long-Term Pass Holders and Work Pass Holders, all of whom are now eligible for Tele-ART supervised remote video testing in Canada with a provider based in Singapore, prior to their return.

Costs start at just S$12, plus the cost of your own test kit which you can bring along with you from Singapore (~S$5), for a far simpler and cheaper way to obtain approval to fly to Changi.

Here’s just a selection of the cheapest options, from S$12 – S$25, including 24-hour services (ideal when you’re 15 hours behind Singapore Time!).

Cheapest COVID-19 pre-departure
Overseas Video ART tests

Clinic / Provider Price
(inc. GST)*
Hours
(SGT)
Kingston Medical S$12.00 9am – 6pm
S$25.00 6pm – 9am
Hidoc
(via mobile ap