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The process of returning to Canada from Mexico- 19 June 2021


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Hello to my fellow Canadians, I am writing to share with you my wife and I's experience travelling from Mexico to Canada.  Just to put something in perspective, I live and work in Mexico for a Canadian company and needed to return to attend to some personal tasks that could only be completed in person. Our itinerary was Monterrey Mexico to Buffalo NY via Chicago, then drive across the border to our home north of Milton.  So let's begin!


Thursday, 17 June: We live about an hour southwest of Monterrey Mexico.  Our flight is relatively early in the morning and to avoid a 5am start, we stay at a hotel at the airport the night before.  Upon checking in, we walked to the terminal to have our Covid Test #1, an antigen test, to enter the US.  There are testing sites at the airport in Monterrey to perform antigen tests for travelling to the US.  Cost was $58.36 Canadian.  A short 30 minute wait in line the test is complete and we receive our tests via email within 30 minutes.  Printed them at the hotel to have hard copies, both negative so we are good to go in the morning. 


Friday, 18 June: Check in with our test results, fly through security (no pun intended) and on to our first flight to Chicago.  Arrive, cleared customs and we hang out in O'Hare to wait for our next flight.  Just a side note, we were stopped on the jetway and asked to present our negative test result.  First time we have had to do this so make sure you still have them handy.  Hard copies are the best.   We arrive in Buffalo at 8:30pm and the rapid testing lab is closed at the airport.  If you do arrive before 8:30pm in Buffalo, there is a rapid testing centre at the airport where you can have your RT-Lamp rapid test performed which is one of the tests required to enter Canada.  We unfortunately arrived too late so that forced us to spend a night in Buffalo.  Our hotel was located in Amherst and a rapid testing site was operating out of the parking lot which is why we chose the area.  On another note, we went for a beer and pizza at a local establishment.  People there were not wearing masks and social distancing was not evident.  Looks like they were basically back to normal.


Saturday, 19 June: Up at 8am and wandered over to the drive through testing facilities.  No appointment necessary but it is faster if you register online.  Showed ID and paid.  The total for the 2 of us for a RT-Lamp rapid test was $575.77 CND.  Our insurance should cover this, fingers crossed.  Received the results via email less than an hour later and printed them off at the hotel.  Covid test #2 completed.  Again, a hard copy is best as it is easier, we found, to hand paper to the CBSA officer for his validation.  

Our transportation from Amherst to home was $345.00 CND for an SUV plus tip of 10%.  We were picked up just after 11am and headed to Queenston-Lewiston bridge.  Arriving there there were 3 lanes open.  One had a couple of transport trucks and a guy towing a boat.  The other 2 were empty.  Got the the window where we presented our passports and then our testing documents.  Another side note, your test MUST be performed by a lab in the US.  No exceptions.  If you do not have the proper test you will face a fine.  Very important thing to keep in mind.  Made our declaration and good thing he wasn't playing tax collector that day as we were over on our alcohol exemption.  He read us the riot act on what will happen if we do not go straight home and quarantine for 14 days.  Then he pointed out an area to drive to where we will receive Covid test #3, about 3 hours after we had Covid test #2.  


We pulled up and opened the windows where a nice nurse(?) gave us 4 test kits and watched us perform a self test.  Yes she made sure we tickled the brain stem.  Handed our test back and off we went.  Straight home and currently quarantining.  In preparation of this we had beer delivered from Nickelbrook and Wellington so we have no reason to go out.  Our neighbours filled the refrigerator and we had Chinese food delivered last night.  All is good.  So no hotel quarantine and the expense is about half of what you would pay.  If you have any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer them.  


Oh, as of 24 hours later we are still waiting for the results of the test at the border.  

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Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you had it all covered, including most importantly the beer waiting for your arrival. 

We have both a cruise and a Mexico resort booked for next March at the same time. Mexico is the fall back for the cruise.  We can cancel that entire trip with no fees up to 3 days prior. As for the cruise final payment, it is in December so there is a lot of time between now and then.  We will continue to watch restrictions and hopefully by then things will be much clearer. 

Welcome home and hopefully you can get everything done that you need to while you are here. 


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Update:  So our test in Mexico was completed within 30 minutes.  The test in the US was done within the hour.  We just received the test we had at the border 2 days ago.  And of course it is negative.

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2 minutes ago, Magicat said:

Update:  So our test in Mexico was completed within 30 minutes.  The test in the US was done within the hour.  We just received the test we had at the border 2 days ago.  And of course it is negative.


If you were to have come home in a few days (July 5th) you could have flown directly home.  Seems like a change in the right direction.

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Posted (edited)

Yes we saw that.  Our fear was they would remove the restrictions on Monday and anyone arriving before would still need to quarantine. 

Edited by Magicat
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We are looking at this on a day by day basis.  Covid is still with us and very much still with other countries.   We are hoping to do 5-6 week in Greece this fall.   We have booked fares to Toronto but will not book the Athens part until a few weeks prior to blastoff (unless we see a good fare that is cancellable/refundable).


We have no way of knowing today what the situation will be in Sept/Oct.  Either in Greece or re-entry to Canada.  Things can change quickly.  Failing this, the backup is two three weeks in PV during the Nov/Dec timeframe.

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