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Canadian border reopens to vaccinated Americans

If you're looking to cross the U.S. northern border this week, there are few things you will need to keep in mind.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The long wait for many Western New Yorkers looking to cross the border is over. The Canadian government gave the OK for vaccinated Americans with a negative COVID-19 test to cross, starting August 9 at midnight. 

Whether you're looking to head over the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, or the Lewiston-Queenstown Bridge this week, the checklist will be the same.

For starters, if you're attempting to cross the border for non-essential travel, such as tourism or visiting family, you must be a fully vaccinated U.S. citizen and/or a permanent resident carrying proof of vaccination.

That's not all. According to the Canadian government, a strict list of requirements are also going to be enforced. They include:

  • You must live in and be traveling from the United States;
  • You must have a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 test before crossing the border. A diagnostic PCR test or a rapid diagnostic test is acceptable, not an antibody test that shows whether you had COVID in the past. A list of acceptable tests can be found here;
  • You must be asymptomatic;
  • You must register and submit all mandatory information on Canada's ArriveCAN app or website;
  • You must be admissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
  • And finally, you must take another COVID test after crossing over, if required.

As for U.S. Customs and Border Protection here in Buffalo, a spokesperson told 2 On Your Side, "People get processed the same from our end, we aren't affiliated with the Canadian government. If Canada refuses them, we will continue to do what have done for years when it comes to entry into the United States. What Canada decides is their decision."

According to NITTEC as of 8:00 a.m. wait times at the Peace Bridge and Rainbow Bridge going to Canada range from zero to 30 minutes. at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge wait times could be up to an hour.