Ongoing travel restrictions due to COVID-19 and flight suspensions from India to Canada forced many newcomers to put their plans of moving to Canada or visiting family on hold. With the India-Canada flight ban finally being lifted, here’s all the information you need to plan your travel from India to Canada.

In this article:

When is the Canada-India direct flight suspension being lifted?

After a five-month suspension, Transport Canada has announced that direct flights between India and Canada will resume on September 27, 2021 (after 11:59 pm EST on September 26).

Tips Icon  Important:
Check the Transport Canada website for any updates on travel advisories, including flight service, from India before booking your travel.

Who can travel from India to Canada at this time?

You can travel from India to Canada if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • If you’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident (PR) of Canada, a person registered under the Indian Act of Canada, or a protected person (refugee status)
  • If you possess a valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), study permit from an approved Designated Learning Institution (DLI), or valid work permit (and proof of approval) and job offer
  • If you’re a foreign national who is fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved in Canada and are travelling for essential or discretionary purposes
  • If you are reuniting with immediate family members who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or temporary foreign workers.

Tips Icon  Important:
Travel restrictions are subject to change based on Government advisories and regulations. Please check your eligibility to enter Canada before making travel arrangements.

What are the requirements for entering Canada while travelling directly from India?

Passengers travelling on a direct flight from India to Canada will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test, also known as an RT-PCR test, from Genestrings Laboratory at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. At present, only tests from this laboratory are being accepted, even if your flight originates from another city in India.
  • This COVID-19 test must be performed within 18 hours before your scheduled departure.
  • You’ll need to present the negative test report issued by Genestrings Laboratory to the airline staff before boarding your flight.
  • Travellers will need to update their information, including vaccination details, quarantine plan, etc. on the ArriveCAN app or website (unrelated to the Arrive app for newcomers)
  • All passengers will be required to wear face masks throughout their flight and at airports.

Airlines will refuse to allow travellers who don’t meet these requirements to board the aircraft. Exceptions exist for travellers who’ve previously tested positive and have recovered from COVID-19.

How do I book a COVID-19 test at Delhi airport? 

You can book a COVID-19 molecular test at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, online. You will be required to provide some basic personal information, proof of identity, and details about your flight. You will need to select “RT-PCR” test and book a suitable slot. A fee of INR 500 (approximately $8.50 CAD) will be applicable for each test. You will receive the COVID-19 test result within 8 to 10 hours, and the result delivery will be prioritized based on your departure time.

You can also opt for a faster COVID-19 molecular test, which costs INR 4,900 (approximately $82 CAD) which gives you a result within 60 to 90 minutes.

Only direct flights from New Delhi are permitted entry into Canada at present. If you’re travelling from another Indian city, you will need to account for sufficient stop-over time in New Delhi to get your COVID-19 test results.

Do I need a molecular/RT-PCR test if I have previously recovered from COVID-19?

If you’ve previously tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to present a positive molecular test result issued by a certified laboratory in India. This positive test result must be based on samples collected between 14 to 180 days prior to your scheduled flight to Canada.

If you suspect that you’ve previously had COVID-19 but do not have a positive test result, you will not be eligible for the exception and will need to get a COVID-19 molecular test result from Genestrings Laboratory at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. 

Do I need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Canada? 

Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved in Canada will only be allowed to enter Canada under specific circumstances. Currently, you can enter Canada regardless of your vaccination status if you are:

  • A Canadian citizen
  • A permanent resident, or have received a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)
  • An authorized temporary foreign worker with a valid work permit and job offer (unless you’re in a profession where a work permit is not required), or 
  • An international student with a valid study permit from an approved DLI.

However, eligible travellers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to adhere to applicable quarantine requirements in Canada. 

At present, travellers who are not fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved in Canada will not be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary or optional purposes. The AstraZeneca or COVISHIELD vaccine is approved in Canada. So, if you’ve received both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at least 14 days prior to your scheduled departure, you will be allowed into Canada for discretionary purposes.

What to do if the vaccine I’ve received is not approved in Canada?

Covaxin (Bharat Biotech vaccine) is not currently approved in Canada. If you’ve received one or both doses of Covaxin, you will need to adhere to the prescribed regulations for unvaccinated passengers. This means that you will only be allowed to enter Canada if you’re a Canadian citizen, PR, COPR holder, have a valid work permit, or study permit.

Will I have to quarantine after arriving in Canada from India?

International travellers coming into Canada by air are required to adhere to quarantine requirements at least until they get their first post-arrival COVID-19 test results. During this period, you will need to routinely update your information on the ArriveCAN app.

If you’ve been fully vaccinated with a vaccine that’s approved in Canada, you are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period. However, in addition to the pre-departure COVID-19 test, you will also need to take a post-arrival COVID-19 molecular test. You’ll be required to stay in quarantine until you receive a negative COVID-19 result.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 14 days. In addition to the pre-departure COVID-19 tests, you will need to take two additional COVID-19 molecular tests post-arrival—on Day-1 and Day-8. Once you’ve received a negative test result on your Day-8 COVID-19 molecular test, you will be allowed to exit quarantine on Day-15 of your arrival in Canada.

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Tips Icon  Important:
If you’re coming to Canada as an international student during the COVID-19 pandemic, check if your Designated Learning Institute has made provisions for students to quarantine.

Can I travel from India to Canada indirectly via a third country?

You can still choose to fly from India to Canada via an indirect route. However, if you’re entering Canada via a third country, you will need to provide a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result obtained in the stop-over country within 72 hours of your departure to Canada. 

What are the requirements for passengers travelling from India to Canada via a third country?

While planning an itinerary that involves an indirect route of travel to Canada, keep the following in mind:

  • You’ll need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test in the third country within 72 hours of your scheduled departure to Canada. You’ll only be allowed to board flights if you test negative. For passengers travelling to Canada indirectly via a third country, results of COVID-19 tests conducted in India will not be accepted.
  • Some countries may have restrictions on the entry or transit of passengers arriving from India.
  • You may require a transit or travel visa for the third country. Be sure to check the visa requirements of your stop-over destination before making any flight bookings.
  • COVID-19 testing may not be available for in-transit passengers at all international airports. If you’re arriving in Canada via a third country where there is no provision for COVID-19 testing for passengers in transit, you’ll need to exit the airport and possibly arrange for accommodation while you await your COVID-19 test results.
  • In case you test positive during transit, you may have to abide by quarantine regulations imposed by the third country or return to your original point of departure.

Can I travel to Canada if my CoPR has expired?

Due to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, many people have been unable to travel. If your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) has expired while waiting for the travel restrictions and flight ban to be lifted, you will need to get your CoPR reissued. 

You will not be permitted to enter Canada on expired travel documents. Be sure to check the validity of your CoPR before booking your flight tickets or making travel arrangements. The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will contact all individuals whose CoPR has expired to check if they are still able and willing to come to Canada and will reissue documents accordingly. 

Whether you’re an Indian newcomer looking forward to starting a new life in Canada as a permanent resident or an international student or foreign worker with plans of working in Canada, now that the flight ban has been lifted, you can plan your move to Canada. Be sure to check the Government of Canada travel website for up-to-date information on travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, vaccination and COVID-19 testing protocol, before making travel arrangements.

The Arrive mobile app is your essential companion to prepare for and navigate life as a newcomer in Canada. Whether you’re in the planning process or are getting ready for your move to Canada, you’ll get the information and resources you need, when you need them, all in one place. 

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Disclaimer:
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.