2022-05-10T22:32:58-04:00September 26th, 2021|

Travelling to Canada from India: Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: March 28, 2022

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 allowed direct flights between India and Canada to resume on September 27, 2021.

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), or valid work permit (and proof of approval) and job offer
  • If you’re fully vaccinated, have a valid study permit, and have been accepted into an approved Designated Learning Institution (DLI),
  • 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 fully vaccinated and 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?

Tips Icon  Important:
Starting April 1, 2022, fully-vaccinated travellers will no longer require pre-arrival COVID-19 tests to enter Canada. Fully-vaccinated travellers will be randomly tested for COVID-19 on arrival in Canada, but will not be required to quarantine while they await their results.

Passengers travelling on a direct flight from India to Canada will need to meet the following requirements if they are not fully vaccinated with a vaccine that’s approved in Canada:

  • 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. This COVID-19 test must be performed within 72 hours before your scheduled departure. Effective February 28, 2022, results from rapid antigen tests performed within 24 hours before your scheduled departure will also be accepted, provided they are performed by a healthcare practitioner or at a healthcare facility.
  • You’ll need to present the negative COVID-19 test report 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.
  • 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 molecular 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) and gives you a result within 60 to 90 minutes.

Do I need a pre-arrival COVID-19 test if I have previously recovered from COVID-19?

If you are not fully vaccinated and have 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. 

Effective April 1, 2022, you don’t need to take a pre-arrival COVID-19 test if you’re fully vaccinated with a vaccine that’s approved in Canada.

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).

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 and Bharat Biotech or COVAXIN vaccine are approved in Canada. So, if you’ve received both doses of either of these vaccines 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?

If you’ve received a vaccine that is not approved in Canada, you will only be allowed to enter Canada if you’re a Canadian citizen, PR, COPR holder, or have a valid work permit. However, as of November 30, 2021, Health Canada has approved Covaxin (Bharat Biotech vaccine). If you’ve received both doses of Covaxin, you will be considered fully vaccinated. 

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

If you’ve been fully vaccinated with a vaccine that’s approved in Canada, you are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period. As of February 28, 2022, fully vaccinated international travellers will be randomly selected for on-arrival COVID-19 testing and will no longer need to quarantine while waiting for the results. However, you still need to have a quarantine plan in place in case you test positive upon arrival.

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 and are not fully vaccinated, 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. (Alternatively, starting February 28, 2022, negative rapid antigen test results obtained in the stop-over country, within 24 hours of your departure to Canada, will be accepted.)

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:

  • If you’re not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 in the third country and will 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.