The government of Canada has beefed up its travel requirements for citizens looking to return home from South Africa after Monday 13 December 2021.
Canada travel requirements for citizens returning from South Africa
In an update published on Tuesday, the Canadian government issued new details on measures citizens and holders of permanent residency must take to make it safely home from countries included in the red list.
The new entry requirement will force travellers returning from countries in Southern Africa, including Egypt, Malawi and Nigeria, to “obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result in a third country before continuing your journey to Canada, regardless of your vaccination status.”
This means that, in all likelihood, after receiving the first negative PCR test result from the country of departure, travellers must obtain another negative COVID-19 test result in a transit country — or at the location of the lay-over — before boarding a flight to Canada.
This strict measure is in place despite the fact that:
- certain countries do not allow entry or transit to passengers arriving from these countries or from passengers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19;
- COVID-19 testing for passengers in transit might not be available in all international airports or third countries; and
- if you test positive during transit, you may be quarantined or sent back to your point of departure.
Furthermore, the government indicated that a temporary exemption is in place, where these strict travel requirements will not apply until Monday 13 December 2021.
To be eligible for the exemption, travellers must:
- obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test from an accredited laboratory in South Africa no more than 48 hours before the aircraft’s initial scheduled departure time or a positive test result, issued by an accredited laboratory, obtained at least 14 days and no more than 180 days before the aircraft’s initial scheduled departure time;
- fly from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Frankfurt, Germany, on a Lufthansa flight that departs on or before December 13, 2021; and
- transit through Frankfurt airport to travel on a direct Lufthansa or Air Canada flight to Canada
At this juncture, with the spread of Omicron not relenting, Canada has yet to issue a directive on its travel ban on South Africans.