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Cross-border travel remains… complicated

Interstate, international restrictions imposed or extended

Editor's note: This article was updated June 27 to include information about the requirements pilots must comply with in seeking permission to fly to Canada.

With COVID-19 infections increasing in many places, the U.S. government extended restrictions on non-essential travel to and from Canada and Mexico, while three Northeastern states added quarantine advisories for travelers arriving from infection hotspots on June 24.

Notices published June 24 in the Federal Register extended through July 21 restrictions limiting transit of the borders with Canada and Mexico to commerce and other essential travel only.

According to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada, pilots who wish to fly to Canada must first obtain permission from the Canada Border Services Agency by calling CANPASS. Flights for the purposes of economic service and supply chains, health, and tending to sick family members in the country who have no other help are examples of travel purposes that would be granted. Traveling to visit family for vacation or to visit a secondary home (even for upkeep or maintenance) are not considered essential by the Canadian government and would likely not be permitted. For flights that are granted, pilots should keep in mind that Canada has strict quarantine requirements in place. Universal Weather and Aviation Inc. provides more details on the case-by-case nature of flight approvals.

Another notice, first published in March by CBP, initially required international arrivals from many European countries to use certain designated airports of entry, and has since been updated (most recently on May 28) to include Brazil, China, and Iran, and other countries in these mandatory arrival procedures. This notice does not pertain to travel for any particular purposes, however.

Confused yet? Individual states are also adding new layers of travel complexity.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on June 24 announced they will implement 14-day self-quarantines for travelers arriving from states with rising rates of COVID-19 infections, or positive tests. Those quarantine requirements will be voluntary in Connecticut, but mandatory (with possible fines imposed) in New York.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also carved out an exclusion for those who have had a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of their arrival in Connecticut. Elsewhere in New England, Maine requires non-residents to provide proof of such a test, within the same 72-hour time frame, or self-quarantine for 14 days.

Meanwhile, Axios reported June 23 that the European Union was preparing to continue a ban on arrivals from the United States after it reopens its borders to the rest of the world on July 1. 

Things may well have changed (yet again) by the time you read this.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Managing Editor-Digital Media
Digital Media Managing Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Cross Border, Mexico, Canada

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