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US Announces Upcoming Conditional Opening of Land Borders

UPDATE: We now know the exact date! US Land border will re-open to fully-vaccinated travellers on November, 8, 2021.

While foreign travelers have been eligible to fly to the US from Canada throughout the pandemic without any sort of “essential travel” requirement, the land ports-of-entry have been closed to all but essential workers and those whose travel is essential, which is all within the discretion of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The good news?

On October 12, 2021, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas stated that, beginning on November 8, 2021, the Administration “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.”

So, who will be able to enter the US via land ports-of-entry?

  • US Citizens and US Lawful Permanent Residents (vaccination status irrelevant);
  • Visitors/Non-Essential Travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19;
  • Prior to January 2022, Essential Workers are admissible (within the discretion of CBP) without proof of vaccination; and
  • As of January 2022, Essential Workers will only be admissible if fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to Secretary Mayorkas, Canadians seeking admission to the US at a land port-of-entry will be questioned about their vaccination status but won’t be required to show proof of vaccination unless the traveler is sent to secondary screening. Regardless, being dishonest about vaccination status with CBP could result in a permanent bar from the US. Furthermore, fully vaccinated travelers will be exempt from showing a negative COVID-19 test result.

Under current US Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, a person is considered “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 if they meet the following requirements:

  • Two (2) weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; or
  • Two (2) weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Stay tuned for the latest from the Moodys immigration team as we closely monitor these restrictions and other significant changes in US and Canadian immigration!