Travel and living internationally

Every time you donate, we ask about where you may have previously lived or travelled. This is because the places you’ve been, can sometimes expose you to infections that may be transmitted through blood transfusions.    

For instance, after return from travel outside of Canada, the continental U.S., Europe (including St. Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland) and Antarctica there is a waiting period of 21 days before donating blood, platelets or plasma. These criteria help identify donors who have a higher chance of acquiring certain blood borne illnesses such as Chikungunya.

Other deferrals include those for malaria.

If you travelled to a malaria risk area, the wait may be longer.

More information on travel related infections

What countries have no waiting period?

Countries and their territories located in continental Europe or North America (listed below) currently do not have a 21-day waiting period to donate blood, platelets or plasma, after travel. Travel to all other countries will require at least a 21-day wait.   

  • Albania  
  • Antarctica (all countries)  
  • Andorra  
  • Armenia  
  • Austria  
  • Azerbaijan  
  • Belarus  
  • Belgium  
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina  
  • Bulgaria  
  • Croatia  
  • Cyprus  
  • Czech Republic  
  • Denmark (includes Greenland)  
  • England  
  • Estonia  
  • Finland  
  • France (includes St. Pierre and Miquelon)  
  • Georgia 
  • Germany  
  • Greece  
  • Holland (Netherlands)  
  • Hungary  
  • Iceland  
  • Ireland  
  • Italy  
  • Kazakhstan  
  • Kosovo  
  • Latvia  
  • Liechtenstein  
  • Lithuania   
  • Luxembourg  
  • Macedonia  
  • Malta  
  • Moldova  
  • Monaco  
  • Montenegro  
  • Netherlands  
  • Northern Ireland  
  • Norway  
  • Poland  
  • Portugal  
  • Romania  
  • Russia  
  • San Marino  
  • Scotland   
  • Serbia  
  • Slovakia  
  • Slovenia  
  • Spain  
  • Sweden  
  • Switzerland  
  • Ukraine  
  • United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Channel Islands)
  • United States excluding Hawaii and territories (e.g. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands)  
  • Vatican City  

What countries have a waiting period due to malaria?

Canadian Blood Services uses the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) malaria information to determine which regions have occurrences of malaria that are high enough to require medications to prevent infection. Check this list to determine if the region you’ve recently lived in or travelled to has a high occurrence of malaria.

I’ve travelled to, or lived in, a region where medications are recommended to prevent malaria. How long do I have to wait to donate blood or platelets?

Your waiting period to donate whole blood or platelets will depend on the length of your stay in certain regions. This is because the risk of infection diminishes over time.

  • If your stay was less than one day, you may be able to donate depending on where you were.
  • If your stay was less than 6 months, you will need to wait 3 months from the date you left a malaria-endemic region.
  • If your stay was 6 months or more, you will need to wait 3 years.

If your visit lasted less than 24 hours, please call us at 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) to discuss your eligibility. 

Have you had a malaria infection?

If you’ve had malaria more than six months ago or are in the waiting period to donate whole blood or platelets because of recent travel, you may be eligible to donate plasma. Plasma is vital for manufacturing life-saving medications. This type of donation is available at some Canadian Blood Services clinics.

You may also be eligible to be a stem cell donor.

If you are interested in making a plasma donation, joining the stem cell registry, or have any questions about your eligibility to donate, please call us at 1 888 236-6283 for more information.

Unfortunately, we cannot collect whole blood or platelets from someone who has had malaria.

This is because the parasites that cause malaria can lie dormant for decades. No matter how much time has passed, there remains a small chance that someone who has been exposed to malaria at some point in their lives may still carry malaria parasites in their blood, even if they never experienced symptoms. Even just one malaria parasite in donated blood can lead to malaria being transmitted to a recipient, which could cause severe illness.

Canadian Blood Services has reviewed alternative approaches to manage the risk of malaria on the blood system. As a result of our most recent review, we are striving to evaluate and implement a test that will determine if a person has any malaria parasites in their blood at the time of donation.

Currently, there is no Health Canada-approved blood donor screening test available for malaria. Until testing can be put in place, the existing donor screening process for malaria will remain in place to ensure the safety of the blood supply.