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COVID-19: Can I cross the border into the U.S. to finalize a property sale?

Last Updated Apr 6, 2021 at 8:54 am PDT

FILE -- U.S. Customs officers stand beside a sign saying that the U.S. border is closed at the U.S./Canada border in Lansdowne, Ont., on March 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to all non-essential traffic, but Canadians can still fly into U.S., says lawyer

Governments continue to ask Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel amid the pandemic

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Virginia, one of our listeners, is buying a property in the U.S. She wants to cross the border to sign documents and inspect the property. She asks, “How can I legally do that if I live in Canada now? I’m a Canadian citizen. Also have my son living there and would like to visit him.”


While the land border remains closed, Canadians are allowed to fly into the U.S.  — you just need to get a negative COVID-19 test before going.

So yes, you can get into the U.S. by plane, and physically going to the property you’re buying is possible too.

We’ve confirmed this with Blaine-based immigration lawyer Len Saunders, who points out Virginia is also able to visit her son.

“In order to enter to the U.S., if she’s only a Canadian citizen with no status in the U.S., no Green Card, no work permit, her only option is to fly. That flying loophole is still available,” he explains.

If it’s simply documents that need to be signed, there is another option.

“If she needs them signed in the U.S., what I see a lot of Canadians doing, is enter the Peace Arch Park, so they’re on U.S. soil,” says Saunders. “What they’re doing is having a U.S. notary from Washington state — and there’s various notaries I know who travel to the park — so if she wants just documents signed in the park she can do that.”

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As for returning to Canada, you’ll need to get a negative COVID-19 test again. Under current orders, people entering Canada by air have to stay at a government-designated hotel for three days as part of their 14-day quarantine as they await the results of another PCR test, to be administered once they land.

Saunders explains you can avoid having to quarantine in a hotel if you cross by land rather than fly home. You will still have to quarantine at your home or other chosen location for the two-week duration.

He’s hearing of people flying to airports near the border, like in Bellingham for example, and then taking a cab to the border where they then walk across in order to avoid costly quarantine hotels.

British Columbians continue to be urged to avoid all non-essential travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find a full list of previously answered questions and submit your own on our Gets Answers page.