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U.S. to reopen land borders to fully vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico

In March 2020, the United States closed the land border to non-essential travel in an effort to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. On October 12, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the U.S. is lifting the COVID-19 restrictions starting in November 2021. The U.S. will allow travel for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family for tourism, via land and ferry. An exact date in November has not yet been announced. However, it is expected to be announced very soon.


Travelers entering the U.S. at the Mexico or Canada border will be questioned by Customs and Border Protection officers about their vaccination status before being allowed to enter. The officers will have the discretion to send travelers to a secondary screening for the vaccination documents to be checked. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to give an update on what sort of proof of vaccination will be accepted.


Additionally, beginning in January 2022, the United States will require essential travelers, including commercial drivers, students, and healthcare workers, to show proof of vaccination when crossing land borders.


The decision to open the U.S. land border and to require proof of vaccination coincides with the U.S. reopening for foreign air travelers. The White House announced on September 20, 2021 that the U.S. will lift travel restrictions in early November for air travelers from 33 countries including, China, India, Brazil and most of Europe. All non-U.S. air travelers will need to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test to enter the U.S. By contrast, land and ferry travelers will not need to provide a negative COVID test result.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the U.S. will accept COVID-19 vaccines from visitors who received vaccines authorized by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization. Currently, this includes two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A remaining question is whether travelers who received mixed doses will be considered fully vaccinated.


Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any questions, or email us at info@grahamadair.com.

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