Exciting news for fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico and Canada! The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the United States will be lifting travel restrictions on nonessential travel for Canadian and Mexican nationals who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) so that they may enter the United States at land ports of entry along the United States/Canada and United States/Mexico border.
Further, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas has said that the new measures have been made to align “with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November.” According to Mayorkas the United States, “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.” This will be a significant step in reopening the economy as “cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in [U.S.] border communities and benefits our broader economy.”
These new measures will occur in two phases over the next few months. First, in November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico or Canada to enter the United States at land and ferry ports of entry for non-essential reasons. Travelers will be required to have appropriate paperwork that provides proof of vaccination. Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel for non-essential purposes from Canada and Mexico into the United States via land and ferry ports of entry.
Second, beginning in early January 2022, DHS will require that all inbound foreign national travelers crossing U.S. land or ferry ports of entry – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination. This approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers, students, and healthcare workers to get vaccinated.
When will travel restrictions be lifted for vaccinated nonessential travelers?
The travel restrictions on nonessential travel for fully vaccinated Canadian and Mexican nationals will be lifted on November 8, 2021 – the same date that the relaxation will apply to fully vaccinated air travelers. Travelers crossing U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico for non-essential reasons will be required to present proof of vaccination to a Customs and Border Protection officer upon request. More details will be released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the coming weeks.
Why were the travel restrictions implemented in the first place?
As you may remember, on March 24, 2020, to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security made the decision to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Mexico and Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the border to “essential travel,” only.
DHS later published a series of notifications continuing such limitations on travel until 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 21, 2021. Now these restrictions are being relaxed only for those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
What can I expect regarding these new policies?
In accordance with new White House plans announced in September that revise the standards and procedures for incoming international air travel, such as enabling the air travel of fully vaccinated travelers beginning in early November, the government will also be easing restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadian and Mexican nonessential travelers crossing the land border.
As stated in the Federal Register Notice, “On October 12, 2021, DHS announced that it intends to do the same [as easing air travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers] with respect to travelers crossing the land border from Mexico and Canada [into the United States], so as to align the treatment of the land and air ports of entry and allow those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to travel to the United States for non-essential purposes.”
What about travelers from Canada and Mexico who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, can they engage in non-essential travel to enter the United States?
No. The Department of Homeland Security will continue to temporarily limit the non-essential travel of individuals from Mexico and Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the U.S. border who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The travel restriction on non-essential travel at U.S. land border ports of entry with Canada and Mexico for individuals who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 remains in effect from 12 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on October 22, 2021, until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on January 21, 20222, unless amended or rescinded prior to that time.
We applaud these new measures taken by the U.S. government to help facilitate travel by land and air for individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We will provide additional details regarding these new announcements right here on our blog.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
- Federal Register announcement lifting travel restrictions for fully vaccinated non-essential travelers Canada/Mexico
- Secretary Mayorkas to Allow Fully Vaccinated Travelers from Canada and Mexico to Enter U.S. at Land Borders and Ferry Crossings
- U.S. to lift restrictions Nov 8 for vaccinated foreign travelers
- CBP Travel Guidance
- CDC Guidance for International Travelers
- US will re-open Canadian and Mexican borders to fully vaccinated visitors
- COVID 19 Proclamations
- NAFSA Analysis of COVID-19 Proclamations
- Blog Post on Proclamation 10014
- Blog Post on Proclamation 10052
- List of Embassies and Consulates
- ImmigrationU Membership
- Success stories
- Youtube channel
JOIN OUR NEW FACEBOOK GROUP
Need more immigration updates? We have created a new facebook group to address the impact of the new executive order and other changing developments related to COVID-19. Follow us there.
For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.