The United States will lift Covid-19 restrictions at its land and ferry borders next month to fully vaccinated, discretionary travelers from Canada and Mexico.
On Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced that, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will amend Title 19 regulations to allow non-essential travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation to enter the United States via land and ferry ports of entry (POEs) across the U.S. border.
“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 Mayorkas.
“Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The White House said the land border reopening would happen in two phases.
Initially, vaccines will be required for “non-essential” trips — such as visiting family or tourism — though unvaccinated travelers will still be allowed into the country for “essential” trips as they have been for the last year and a half.
A second phase beginning in “early January” 2022 will require all visitors to the United States to be fully vaccinated, no matter the reason for their trip.
“This phased approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers or others to get vaccinated, enabling a smooth transition to the new system,” the White House said.
Mexico hailed Washington’s decision. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called it “good news,” while Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that it will allow “activating and accelerating economic growth in Mexico’s northern border region.”