Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel

Travel guidance and restrictions, including the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) and process for entering Nova Scotia.

Restrictions on travel to Nova Scotia

People from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador can only enter Nova Scotia for essential travel or if they’re a permanent resident of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador. You’re not allowed to enter Nova Scotia for non-essential travel.

Criteria for essential travel

Essential travel includes:

  • permanent residents of Nova Scotia who are returning home
  • people who live in Nova Scotia and travel to their primary employment in another province or territory
  • participating in essential legal proceedings outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador when virtual attendance isn't possible
  • post-secondary students coming to study in Nova Scotia
  • post-secondary students returning to their primary or family residence in Nova Scotia and their parents who accompany them
  • parents dropping off or picking up a student in Nova Scotia
  • people following the COVID-19 Child Custody Protocol (PDF), including dropping off, picking up or visiting
  • rotational workers, specialized workers and Temporary Foreign Workers
  • people who are moving permanently to Nova Scotia
  • people following the COVID-19 Exempt traveller Protocol (PDF)
  • people travelling between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for work, school or other necessary tasks that can’t be done virtually; they need to follow the COVID-19 Nova Scotia-New Brunswick Travel Protocol (PDF)
  • people who are granted an exception by the Chief Medical Officer of Health

Permanent residents of Nova Scotia

Permanent residents of Nova Scotia need to live in the province at least 6 months and 1 day per year. When permanent residents arrive in Nova Scotia, they need to provide proof of permanent residency that shows their permanent home address, including:

  • government-issued identification card
  • driver's licence
  • passport
  • utility bill or bank statement that shows your permanent home address

Right now, people can’t move to Nova Scotia to live in property they owned before 2021 or to live with family or friends. You can only move to Nova Scotia if you can provide:

  • purchase and sale agreement to purchase a residential property in 2021 that’s located in Nova Scotia and the purchase and sale agreement is dated on or before 21 April 2021 and the closing date is on or before 20 May 2021
  • minimum 1-year residential lease signed on or before 21 April 2021 and the start of your tenancy (lease) is on or before 20 May 2021
  • letter of acceptance for new employment in Nova Scotia that’s dated on or before the date you travel; you also need to provide your plan for self-isolation during your stay, including details about how food and supplies will be delivered, how you’ll maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others where you’re staying (if applicable) and how you’ll follow public health measures and guidelines

Travel into Nova Scotia

Everyone who is allowed to travel into Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador into Nova Scotia (including if you’re travelling through Nova Scotia to another destination) must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Nova Scotia, or for the duration of their stay if it’s less than 14 days. If they have already self-isolated in Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, they may enter Nova Scotia without self-isolating again. You don’t need to self-isolate if you’re exempt from self-isolation.

Self-isolation means you go directly to your destination and stay there for 14 days, or for the duration of your stay if it’s less than 14 days. The day you arrive in Nova Scotia counts as your first day of self-isolation. You need to stay in the same location while you’re self-isolating (you can’t change locations). Avoid taking public transportation (like a taxi, bus or shuttle) if possible. If you do need to take public transportation, wear a mask and keep a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others, as much as you can. Only take public transportation if you don't have COVID-19 symptoms. Make plans to have groceries and other supplies delivered.

If you don't have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 on day 1 or 2 of your self-isolation. If you’re still in Nova Scotia, you should get tested again on day 12, 13 or 14. You can leave self-isolation to get tested. You need to self-isolate for the full 14 days, even with negative test results.

If you’re travelling through Nova Scotia to another province you should make as few stops in Nova Scotia as possible. You need to show proof that you’re only travelling through Nova Scotia (like airline, ferry or car rental reservations). You should self-isolate as much as you can and follow social distancing guidelines with people who are not travelling with you.

If you’re dropping off or picking up a student on campus, make sure to follow the school’s process. Individuals dropping off or picking up students must self-isolate for the period of time they’re in the province other than when they’re doing the drop off or pick up and follow social distancing guidelines and public health measures.

Learn more: how to self-isolate.

Self-isolating and your household

Everyone in the household needs to self-isolate for 14 days if you travel from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador for non-essential travel, unless there’s a completely separate space where you can self-isolate alone. The day you arrive counts as the first day of their 14-day self-isolation.

How long you need to self-isolate

If you’re legally required to self-isolate (including after travel), you need to self-isolate for the full 14 days or as directed by Public Health, even if you’ve tested negative for COVID-19 or get the vaccine.

Self-declaration

Every adult (18 or older) and post-secondary student travelling into Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador needs to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) before they travel to the province, including travellers who are exempt from self-isolation. You can complete your own form if you’re 16 or 17 (your parent or guardian can also complete the form for you). A parent or guardian needs to complete the form for someone 15 or younger.

Returning residents

Nova Scotia residents (18 or older) who have travelled outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador need to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) before they return to the province, including travellers who are exempt from self-isolation. You can complete your own form if you’re 16 or 17 (your parent or guardian can also complete the form for you). A parent or guardian needs to complete the form for someone 15 or younger.

Travel outside Nova Scotia

If you travel outside Nova Scotia, the destination you travel to may have different rules and public health measures in place to protect residents from COVID-19. You need to follow the rules in place at your destination and the public health measures when you return to Nova Scotia. Do your research before you travel so you’re prepared for when you arrive at your destination.

Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) to enter Nova Scotia

Every adult (18 or older) and post-secondary student who is allowed to travel into Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, needs to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration), including travellers who are exempt from self-isolation. You can include someone under 18 who is travelling with you on your form if you’re staying together at the same Nova Scotia address. You can complete your own form if you're 16 or 17 and travelling alone (your parent or guardian can also complete the form for you). A parent or guardian needs to complete the form for someone 15 or younger.

When you arrive in Nova Scotia you need show that you submitted the form by providing the confirmation email you receive after submitting the form to border officials. You also need to provide a government-issued identification card, driver's licence, passport, utility bill or bank statement that shows your permanent home address. People who are moving permanently to Nova Scotia can also provide purchase and sale agreement for a residential property, signed residential lease or letter of acceptance for new employment in Nova Scotia.

Online form

Complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) online if you’re travelling into Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador.

Start now

When you don’t need to complete the form

You don’t need to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) when you:

  • live in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador and are travelling within Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador
  • have already self-isolated in Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador
  • travel into Nova Scotia from New Brunswick and are following the COVID-19 Nova Scotia-New Brunswick Travel Protocol (PDF)
  • are a professional truck driver
  • have a compassionate or business exception from self-isolation

Compliance checks and enforcement

Once you’re self-isolating in Nova Scotia, you need to complete a digital check in each day of your isolation period. If you don’t check in daily, police will visit the address you provided for self-isolation in Nova Scotia to confirm. If you’re a post-secondary student, the university or college will be notified and they’ll try to help you comply with the check in.

You could be fined $2,000 for a first offence.

Exceptions

If you’ve been granted an exception in advance of travelling to Nova Scotia, when you arrive in Nova Scotia you need show the email you received from the Government of Nova Scotia granting you an exception to border officials. If you have been granted an exception you don’t need to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration).

Travel within Nova Scotia

Right now, you can only travel outside your community when it’s absolutely necessary. Your community is your municipality. If you live in a large municipality (like Halifax Regional Municipality), your community is considered to be no further away from your home than you need to travel to access essential products and services (like the closest grocery store or gas station). Learn more: Direction of Minister – Municipal Travel Restriction (PDF).

You can book a COVID-19 test or vaccine at the closest location to your home. You can also travel within your county for outdoor physical activity.

Essential travel outside your community includes travelling for:

  • child custody
  • childcare
  • compliance with a court order
  • essential products or services (like food, gas and medications), including both providing or getting
  • funeral or end of life visit
  • healthcare
  • school
  • work that can’t be done at home or virtually

Travel within Atlantic Canada

If you travel within Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador you don’t need to self-isolate when you arrive in or return to Nova Scotia.

If you live in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, you need to show proof of residency when you enter Nova Scotia. You don’t need to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) before you travel to the province. When you arrive in Nova Scotia, every adult needs to provide a government-issued identification card, driver's licence, passport or a utility bill or bank statement that shows their permanent home address. You also need to follow public health measures while you’re in Nova Scotia.

If you have already self-isolated in Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, you may enter Nova Scotia without self-isolating again. You also don’t need to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) before you travel to the province.

New Brunswick travel

People travelling between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick need to self-isolate when they arrive in Nova Scotia. They also need to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) before they travel to the province, including most travellers who are exempt from self-isolation.

If you routinely travel between Nova Scotia or New Brunswick to work or attend school, you need to follow the COVID-19 Nova Scotia-New Brunswick Travel Protocol (PDF 638 kB). People who need to travel between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to drop off or pick up people or things, or accomplish other tasks that are necessary and can’t be done virtually also need to follow the COVID-19 Nova Scotia-New Brunswick Travel Protocol (PDF 638 kB).

Some people are exempt from the self-isolation requirement when travelling between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Even if you’re exempt, you still need to follow the COVID-19 Exempt traveller Protocol (PDF 175 kB).

International travel

Departing Canada

The Government of Canada has issued a travel advisory asking Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.

Entering Canada

Travellers entering Canada must follow Government of Canada rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act, including testing and quarantine requirements. Learn more: entering Canada by air and entering Canada by land.

After starting quarantine at your point of entry into Canada, you can complete the rest of your quarantine in Nova Scotia once you receive your first negative test result and if you meet the criteria for essential travel. You need to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days in Canada, even with negative test results. Your quarantine period ends after 14 days if you receive your second (day-10) negative test result.

International travellers who complete their quarantine outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador before coming to Nova Scotia need to self-isolate for another 14 days when they arrive in Nova Scotia.

Every adult (18 or older) travelling into Nova Scotia needs to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) before they travel to the province, even if they're exempt from self-isolation. You also need to follow public health measures while you're in Nova Scotia.