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High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

Last updated: August 23, 2021

Exemption for eligible fully vaccinated travellers

Starting July 5, there will be some exemptions for people eligible to enter Canada, who also meet specific conditions for fully vaccinated travellers. COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada.

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions from Canadians in the United Kingdom. There is also useful information for foreign nationals who are living, working or studying in Canada.

Please check these FAQs before contacting the High Commission to allow us to focus on assisting Canadians who are in distress or require urgent assistance.

In line with UK and Canadian government guidance, the High Commission of Canada in the UK is currently operating with very reduced on-site presence. We advise against coming to Canada House in person.

If you are a Canadian citizen in need of emergency consular assistance, please contact: ldn.consular@international.gc.ca. We strongly recommend that you contact us by email in the first instance. We check this inbox frequently between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.

If you do not have access to email, you can leave us a voicemail message with your full name and number on (+ 44) 0 20 7004 6000 (international call from a Canadian number) between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. Follow the prompts for “Services to Canadian citizens”, then “Emergency situation involving a Canadian”. We will reply by the next business day.

For serious consular emergencies after hours, please call the 24-hour Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa, either directly on 00 800 2326 6831 (charges apply) or (+44) 0 20 7004 6000 (international call from a Canadian number) outside of office hours. Please note that the Centre is currently experiencing a high volume of calls.

We recommend you check this page regularly for ongoing guidance. You can also follow our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for updates. We recommend you also  visit the website Travel.gc.ca and register on ROCA (Register of Canadians Abroad) as a Canadian citizen abroad.

For the latest and most up-to-date information on coronavirus, or if you have additional questions, please visit the Government of Canada’s webpage at www.canada.ca/coronavirus or call the coronavirus information line: 1-833-784-4397

Thank you for your patience while we work to respond to this unprecedented situation.

On this page

For Canadians in the UK

For Canadian citizens

Questions about family

UK-specific questions

Returning to Canada

For foreign nationals travelling to Canada

Entry to Canada

Questions about family

Working in Canada

Studying in Canada


For Canadians in the UK

For Canadian citizens

I am a Canadian citizen. Will the High Commission help me to find flight information and buy or change an airline ticket to return to Canada?

No – the High Commission cannot book your flights for you. Consular services at the High Commission, particularly in the current circumstances, must focus on assisting Canadians in distress requiring urgent assistance. In most cases, travellers should take responsibility for changing their own travel arrangements, taking into consideration that airlines are extremely busy responding to calls at present. Many travellers have found that contacting a local travel agent has been very helpful in identifying travel options.

I am a Canadian citizen in the UK. Do I have to apply in person for passport or citizenship applications?

No. We are unable to check and accept routine applications at the public counter. Clients should submit their applications to us by tracked mail or by placing in the dropbox at Canada House. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we have a very reduced on-site presence, processing times may vary and delays should be expected.

We would be glad to assist you with any urgent questions or concerns by phone (please leave a message with your phone number and we will call you back) or email. In case of emergency travel please send an email to: ldn.passport@international.gc.ca including your full name and phone number.

For urgent citizenship matters, general consular services or notarial services, please send an email to: ldn.consular@international.gc.ca including your full name and phone number.

I am a Canadian citizen in the UK. Can I register with the High Commission as a Canadian in the UK?

Yes. We would encourage you to register as a Canadian abroad to stay in touch with the Government of Canada. You will be asked to provide your contact details and emergency contact information.


Questions about family

Some COVID-19 travel restrictions prevent certain persons from boarding flights to Canada. Are there any exemptions applicable to immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident? What about extended family members?

Yes. Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions. They are allowed to board a flight to Canada if they are travelling to Canada with their immediate family member and will remain in Canada for a period of 15 days or more, or if they are travelling to Canada to visit their immediate family member and will be remaining in Canada for a period of 15 days or more.

An immediate family member is limited to:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • a dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or of the spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • the dependent child of a dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or of the spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • the parent or step-parent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or of the spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • the guardian or tutor of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

A dependent child is a person under 22 years old who does not have a spouse or common-law partner, or is 22 years old or older and has depended on their parents for financial support since before they were 22 and cannot financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition. For more information on who qualifies as a dependent child, please visit: Who you can include as a dependent child on an immigration application.

Please note: adult children and siblings of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident are not included in the definition of immediate family member. See below for guidance on extended family members.

In all cases, the traveller must still possess the required travel documents for entry into Canada. They must demonstrate they have a quarantine plan, even if they are exempt, as would any other traveller entering Canada. Passengers should bring documents that confirm their immediate family member is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (e.g. a photocopy of their Canadian passport or Canadian permanent resident card) and evidence of their relationship to the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (e.g. photocopy of a marriage or birth record).

Immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are travelling to Canada for a purpose other than to visit their immediate family member may not be eligible to travel to Canada.

To find out what documentation you require to enter Canada, please consult the IRCC website.

Extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may be exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions and will be allowed to board a flight to Canada if they have obtained written authorization in advance.

Extended family members covered by these measures include, among others: adult children, siblings, grandchildren and grandparents, as well as those in an exclusive dating relationship. Every person entering Canada, unless they are exempt, must quarantine for 14 days, starting on the day of arrival.

Without advance written approval for an exemption of a border restriction, you may be denied aircraft boarding or entry into Canada.

You should not book a flight to Canada until you receive written authorization from IRCC.

To find out more and to apply for the special authorization, please visit the IRCC website.

Who does Canada consider to be a common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?

A common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada is somebody who has lived with the Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least one year in a conjugal relationship.

To be considered a common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you will need to provide evidence that you have cohabited with that person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. The cohabitation must have been continuous, and not intermittent cohabitation adding up to one year.

Passengers should bring documents showing that they have lived together with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. For a more complete list of the types of documents you will need to provide when travelling as a common law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, please visit the IRCC Help Centre.

For further details on the definition of a common-law partner, please visit the IRCC Help Centre.

What does Canada consider to be an “exclusive dating relationship?”

An exclusive dating relationship means that you are in a romantic relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have been in the relationship for at least 1 year and have spent time in the physical presence of that person at some point during the relationship.

Examples of an exclusive dating relationship include:

  • fiancé(e)
  • committed romantic partners for at least 1 year who live or have lived together but don’t meet the definition of common-law
  • boyfriends, girlfriends or any other couple in an intimate, loving relationship

You should not book a flight to Canada until you receive written authorization from IRCC.

To find out more and to apply for the special authorization to be exempt from COVID-19 travel restrictions, please visit the IRCC website.


UK-specific questions

Are there new travel rules or restrictions for passengers coming into the UK?

Yes. There are new rules for those entering the UK. Please consult the UK government’s guidelines on “Entering the UK” for more information.

What is the Test and Trace service? How does it work?

For an overview of the NHS Test and Trace service, including what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, please consult: NHS Test and Trace: how it works.

I am a Canadian citizen in the UK. I am concerned that I have contracted COVID-19. What shall I do?

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has a 111 online coronavirus service which is accessible to all, where you can answer questions about your health and get advice if you feel you may be at risk.

As with any illness abroad, we would recommend that you contact your health insurance provider to make enquiries about your particular situation.

I am a Canadian citizen living in the UK. My long-stay visa / my residency permit is due to expire soon. Do I have to leave the UK and return to Canada?

For the latest advice, we recommend you visit UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents. You can also contact the UK’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline: 0800 678 1767 or email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.


Returning to Canada

I am a Canadian citizen flying to Canada. What are the entry and quarantine requirements?

  • If you are fully vaccinated, please check COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, please check the Flying to Canada requirements checklist.
  • If you are travelling with unvaccinated children or dependants please note that unvaccinated children under 12 years of age, or unvaccinated dependent children (due to a mental or physical condition), with an accompanying fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor who either has a right to enter Canada, can move around with their parents, but must avoid group settings - such as camps or daycares - during the first 14 days after their arrival.
  • Please note that each traveller is to be assessed based on their own circumstances.

Provinces and territories may have their own border measures as well as public health guidelines within their jurisdictions. Therefore, it is important that travellers check for the most up to date information for requirements for travel into Canada, and also requirements imposed by their intended province or territory of destination.

For official, up-to-date and detailed information, visit this page.

Is a negative NHS COVID-19 test result acceptable for travel to Canada?

No. The test must be a laboratory test using one of two types of COVID-19 tests–either a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP).

Please be aware that test results from the National Health Service (NHS) do not specify the testing methodology, so they cannot be used as proof of a negative test result. A certificate indicating a negative COVID-19 test result is required to board a flight to Canada and Canadian citizens should seek testing at private clinics, at their own expense. Please ensure the test meets the criteria to enter Canada. You can find a list of private providers of coronavirus testing here.

Would proof of vaccination replace the need for a COVID-19 test?

No. At this time, proof of vaccination does not replace a negative test result. While a vaccine protects an individual from illness, further evidence is required to understand whether a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus.

I have recovered from a confirmed COVID-19 infection and no longer have symptoms. Do I need to take a new test before boarding the plane? What if I keep testing positive?

If you have been infected with COVID-19, but have since recovered and are no longer infectious, you will be allowed to board a plane to Canada with proof of a positive COVID-19 test conducted on a specimen collected between 14 – 90 days prior to departure. This is in lieu of providing a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. Please check with the Public Health Agency in Canada (PHAC) directly to see if you can use your NHS positive result by contacting them at phac.covid19.aspc@canada.ca or 1-833-784-4397.  

This measure takes into account that individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 may continue to test positive for up to three months after the initial infection, even though they are no longer considered infectious.

What should I do if I am not allowed to board the plane because I have tested positive with COVID-19?

If a Canadian traveller is not allowed to board an aircraft because of illness, they should follow the instructions of UK authorities. If consular services are required, contact the High Commission at: ldn.consular@international.gc.ca.

Please note that we strongly recommend that you contact us by email. We check this address frequently between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. If you do not have access to email, you can leave us a voicemail message with your full name and number on (+ 44) 0 20 7004 6000 (international call from a Canadian number) between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. Follow the prompts for Services to Canadian citizens, then Emergency situation involving a Canadian. We will reply by the next business day.

Do I have to wear a mask on the plane when travelling from the UK to Canada?

Yes, all air passengers aged over 2, with few exceptions, are required to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover both their nose and mouth during travel.

Air passengers on all flights departing or arriving at Canadian airports will be required to demonstrate they have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process, otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey. Travellers must have their own masks – these will not be provided. Passengers should follow the current Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidance on face coverings.

Do I have to quarantine when I arrive in Canada?

All persons entering Canada, by air, sea or land, are required to confirm their 14-day mandatory quarantine accommodation plan before they will be allowed to enter the country. Travellers are also required to submit their information via ArriveCAN. Please see next question. Quarantine is then dependent on your Covid 19 test results and vaccination status.

What is ArriveCAN?

All air travellers whose final destination is Canada are now required to submit their information electronically through the ArriveCAN app before they board their flight. This includes travel and contact information, quarantine plan (unless exempted under conditions set out in the Mandatory Isolation Order), and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. Travellers must be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada. A border services officer will verify that they have submitted their information digitally.

Travellers who do not have a smartphone and/or prefer not to download the ArriveCAN app may submit the same information in advance on the ArriveCAN website by creating an account and signing in online. Please consult How to use ArriveCAN for more information.

In addition, travellers who enter Canada by air, land or sea, unless exempted under conditions set out in the Mandatory Isolation Order, are also required to submit information through ArriveCAN or by calling the 1-833-641-0343 toll-free number during their quarantine or isolation period. Travellers must confirm they have arrived at their place of quarantine or isolation within 48 hours of entering Canada, and those in quarantine must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during their quarantine period.

For more information on arrival to Canada, both pre- and post-entry, see here.

I’ve entered all my information into the ArriveCAN app, do I need to bring printed copies of my documentation too?

To avoid delays, and as a precaution in case of technical difficulties, we strongly recommend that all travellers bring printed copies of all relevant documentation when they travel.  This should include a printed copy of your ArriveCAN QR code, and your proof of vaccination.

Please note that all travelers, with limited exceptions, whether entering Canada by air or land, must use ArriveCAN.  Having printed documentation with you is recommended, but does not exempt you from the ArriveCAn requirement.  All air travellers whose final destination is Canada are required to submit their information electronically through the ArriveCAN app before they board their flight.

Are there any exemptions in place to allow non-fully vaccinated Canadians citizens to travel to Canada for compassionate reasons, such as to say goodbye to a loved one?

You can apply for limited release from quarantine to be present during the final moments of a loved one’s life, provide care or support for someone or attend a funeral or end-of-life ceremony. You can apply for this online here. Service standard for a response is 7 business days.

How do I prove that I am fully vaccinated in order to be exempt from quarantine on arrival in Canada?

In the UK, proof of vaccination can be obtained through the NHS App or website, through which it is possible to request a certificate once vaccination is completed. Please note that the High Commission of Canada is unable to provide documentation to support your vaccination status. For more information please check the page Providing Proof of your vaccination.

Are there any exemptions in place to allow foreign nationals to travel to Canada for compassionate reasons, such as to say goodbye to a loved one?

Yes. Foreign nationals may be exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions for compassionate reasons, if they have obtained a written authorization in advance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Applications will be considered for those needing to:

  • be present during the final moments of life for a loved one or to provide support or care to someone who is critically ill
  • provide care for a person who has a medical reason as to why they require support
  • attend a funeral or end-of-life ceremony

Every person entering Canada, must quarantine for 14 days (unless you’re exempt), starting on the day of arrival. Travellers entering Canada for compassionate reasons may seek approval for an exemption from border restrictions and a limited release from mandatory quarantine.

Before your trip to Canada, you must receive advance approval for both the exemption to the border restrictions and a limited release from quarantine.

Without advance written approval for an exemption of a border restriction, you may be denied aircraft boarding or entry into Canada and without an approved release from quarantine, you’ll be subject to all mandatory quarantine requirements.

To find out what steps to follow to apply for an exemption to current border restrictions and a limited release from quarantine for compassionate reasons, please visit the PHAC website.

Can holders of work permits board a flight to Canada?

You can enter Canada for work purposes if you are in either of these situations:

You can’t enter Canada for discretionary travel. For example, you will not be allowed to enter Canada if:

  • you have a letter of introduction for an employer-specific work permit, but your employer has closed their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic or the business is not operating
  • you have an open work permit, but you don’t have a valid job offer
    • Exception: you don’t need a job offer if you have a letter of introduction for a spousal/common-law partner open work permit
  • your immigration medical exam has expired

Passengers travelling to Canada to work should bring their valid work permit or letter of introduction and job offer, or in the case of the spouse or common-law partner of a student or worker in Canada, a copy of the spouse or common law partner’s work or study permit.

Can I travel to Canada to work without a work permit?

If you’re coming to Canada to work and you don’t need a work permit, you may be able to enter Canada. You’re exempt from the travel restrictions only if you either:

No other work permit-exempt workers can enter Canada at this time.

You will need to show airline staff that you’re exempt from the travel restrictions. To do this, show the following documents to airline personnel when you’re boarding your flight:

  • passport or travel document
  • proof that you’re exempt from travel restrictions, such as:
    • Emergency services providers: a letter of invitation from a relevant organization in Canada (government or non-government organization).
    • Health care students: a letter of invitation from a relevant teaching institution.
    • Marine crew joining vessels: a joining letter from shipping agents.
    • Technicians or specialists: Evidence that you’ll install, inspect, repair or maintain equipment on critical infrastructure.
    • Commercial or research open-water aquaculture workers: Evidence that you’ll carry out aquaculture-related activities on a foreign-owned vessel.

Can holders of study permits board a flight to Canada?

To be able to enter Canada as a student, you must meet 2 requirements:

  1. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
  2. You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory

You can only enter Canada if you have all of the required documents and your DLI is on the approved list.

Please note that if you are a new (not returning) student, you are required to begin your studies immediately upon arrival to Canada, usually within 4 weeks after arriving at the latest.

As a student, you will not be allowed to enter Canada if:

  • your study program has been cancelled or suspended
  • you’re entering Canada for any reason other than to study

Make sure your school is on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans approved by their Province or Territory.

When the Border Services Officer greets you, they look at several factors, including:

  • your reason for travelling to Canada
  • your ability to complete a minimum 14-day quarantine period (unless you’re exempt)
  • if you either:
    • have time to complete your quarantine before you physically attend classes, or
    • can study online during your quarantine

You must bring the following documents with you to show to airline personnel:

  • a valid study permit, or a port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
  • a valid letter of acceptance from a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada

A Border Services Officer will make a final decision on your eligibility to enter Canada when you arrive.

What are the rules for international students wanting to travel to Canada to start their studies?

As of October 20, 2020, Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their Province or Territory have been be able to reopen to international students who are currently outside Canada. A list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans is available here.

If you plan to come to Canada as an international student, you must be enrolled to begin classes in the next 4 weeks, and your  DLI must be on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans before you travel to Canada. This change applies to all international students, including those who currently hold a study permit.

This change doesn’t affect study permit holders who are already physically present in Canada.

If you’re already in Canada, you can continue studying at any DLI. However, if you leave Canada, you may not be able to return if your DLI doesn’t have a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the Province or Territory in which you are residing.

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Date Modified:
2021-08-23