Traveling from Seattle to Vancouver as fully vaccinated Canadians

This past weekend we went up to Vancouver to visit Mom and Sarah’s brother, Nick. It’s the first time we’ve been up in a very long time, and the new border rules were still new and uncertain. Overall, it was painless and we had no problems going either direction, aside from having to take an extra covid test because I misread the entry requirements. Below is our experience, please feel free to share if you know someone who would be interested.

There are a few variables that determine what the experience is going to be like. In our case, we are:

  • Canadian Citizens
  • American Permanent Residents
  • Fully vaccinated
  • Travelling from Seattle, to Vancouver, and back again
  • Travelling, by land, through Peace Arch
  • Of a middling age (there are special rules for older or very young travellers)

Before we could go north, we had to take a Covid test. The test has to be:

  • administered no more than 72 hours in advance
  • a molecular test (the fast and cheap antibody/antigen tests do not count)
  • administered by a professional (at home test kits do not count; although I’ve heard of folks who’ve fibbed a bit and made it work)

Once you get to the border, you will need to show your travel documents, proof that you are fully vaccinated for more than 14 days, and your negative test results. Because there’s a lot of extra paperwork, the crossing took longer than usual. We prefilled our information using the ArriveCan mobile phone app before arrival, and it still took ~10 minutes.

We had to provide a quarantine plan at the border even though we met the quarantine exemption. In our case, we said we would stay at Mom’s apartment and she would stay at her sister’s. We didn’t expect to do this because we were exempt, but it was a thing that could be done if required.

Before we left, the border guard handed us each a small box, containing our arrival tests. You have to provide test results when you cross, and must quarantine until you’ve submitted a second test. The test can be taken at home (you’ll need internet and the ability to video conference) OR you can take the test at the border if the testing tent is open when you arrive. We chose to test at the border so that by the time we drove away we were free from any masking or quarantine requirements.

I’ve now taken three covid tests, none were scary. The one we took at the Canadian boarder was the most invasive of the bunch – take a cotton swab and rub the inside of your right cheek ten times, then the left ten times, then swirl the same stick around in each nostril for 15 seconds per nostril. I did three of these kinds of tests over three days. I now have very clean nostrils.

And that’s how you enter Canada! 🇨🇦

The return trip was a little different. We drove up to the border, showed our green cards, commiserated with the guard about the lack of ketchup chips in America, and drove home. Super easy.

The only other thing worth noting is that we did NOT take Xavier. He’s too young to be fully vaccinated, and therefor would have had to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Canada. He spent the weekend in Seattle with his Grandparents.