After more than 19 months of border closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States will allow fully vaccinated, non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada to enter the country via land and ferry ports of entry starting in November.
“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in a statement.
In September, the Biden administration announced that fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other foreign countries can enter the United States by air beginning next month. Travelers flying to the U.S. will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding flights.
As of now, a negative COVID-19 test will not be required to cross the U.S. border from Mexico or Canada by land or ferry.
Rules For Land Crossing Implemented In Phases
Government officials have not released a specific date in November for the new rules to go into effect, though Reuters has reported it will be in “early November.” That’s when fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico and Canada who are traveling for non-essential reasons can cross the border with the “appropriate paperwork” proving their fully vaccinated status.
Beginning in January, both non-essential and essential travelers crossing the border by land or ferry into the U.S. will need to provide proof of vaccination. This allows essential workers, including “truckers, students, and healthcare workers,” time to get vaccinated before the new rules go into effect.
In March 2020, while land borders closed between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for non-essential travel (e.g., visiting friends and family, vacationing, shopping), the borders have been open to essential travel that supports “health security, trade, commerce, supply security, and other essential activities while taking critical steps to protect our citizens and to curb spread of the virus,” according to the CBP website.
Vaccinations Are Key To Borders Reopening
The “wide availability of COVID-19 vaccinations” is allowing for relaxed travel restrictions for travel by foreign nationals via land, ferry, and air, according to Secretary Mayorkas’ statement.
“We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner,” said Mayorkas.