Crossing Canada While Border is Closed

Getting a contract in Anchorage Alaska as a Travel Nurse wasn’t easy but there was another hurdle we had to jump - getting across the closed Canadian Border. There were many hoops to jump through and a lot of information to wade through. We've decided to compile it here. This is based on our experience crossing through Coutts, Alberta en route to Alaska at the end of May 2021. Laws change quickly so they may differ. At the time of this posting, the border closure has been extended through July 21st, 2021 but could continue after that as it has already been pushed each month for several months in a row.



Canada has been closed to non essential travelers since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020. We know there are so many family members who have not been able to visit their loved ones on both sides of the border. It is not our intent to get political, brag, or complain when sharing this. Our hope is that it might be helpful for other essential travelers needed to cross while the border remains closed.


Items Required Due to Covid:


A copy of the essential employment contract


If traveling with a family, a letter from the employer stating exactly who is traveling with the employee. We are not certain who qualifies but as we live in our RV we were allowed to travel together. We needed each person's name listed in the letter.


Anyone over the age of 5 needs a negative Covid test within 72 hours of crossing so it would need to be timed just right.


You can only cross at a handful of locations. We chose Coutts because we hadn’t had a chance to explore Montana yet and hoped that we could do so on our way up. You can cross anywhere coming back into the US.


We were expected to complete the AriveCan App within 72 hours of crossing.


We were told we would need to present an itinerary of how we intended to go and where we would stay. They, however, did not ask to see it.



In addition to the Covid rules, there was of course the standard crossing rules as well.


Passports (Our Kids passports were expired! If you are entering by land or sea, kids under 16 only need proof of citizenship which can be done with a birth certificate.)


Pets would need a certification from a vet of recent rabies vaccination. The vet we visited in Butte said that we may need an International Health Certificate which must be done by a veterinarian with a special license. After another call to the Border, we found that this was unnecessary.


We could not bring in any fresh produce, a limited amount of alcohol, or unopened dog food with certain ingredients. We opted to have a fresh unopened bag of food and some cans of food with us so that none was opened but Cinder would have plenty after we crossed.


Since my Jeep was brand new I also need proof of registration.


We recommend checking out all the details on Canada's website. Although the officials at the border were not the friendliest, we had a good experience calling with our questions.



Restrictions while traveling through:


You must display the windshield tag at all times and return it along with the official transit document to the other border by the deadline.


Must take the most direct route and stick to it.


May not enter any business.


Pay at the pump, use drive-thru's, grocery pickup, or room service if in a hotel


Must respond to daily inquiries about how you are feeling


Must cross in the time allotted.


Each Province may impose it's own rules. We were surprised at the Yukon Border with a 24 hour time limit to cross the Yukon alone.


If you break down or cannot make your deadline you must have documentation in the form of receipts to prove it.


Penalties for being found off route or inside a business could result in fines, arrest, and deportation.


Watch our full episode here:






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