U.S. to lift Canada, Mexico land border restrictions in November for vaccinated visitors

The U.S government has said it will lift the restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals to come through its land borders with Canada and Mexico in early November.

This move will bring an end to the historic curbs on non-essential travelers in place since March 2020 to address the Covid-19 pandemic, two U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Officials have said the rules will cover land borders and ferry crossings. The rules will be formally announced by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas today.

What this means

When the restrictions are officially lifted, non-essential foreign visitors (tourists) crossing U.S. land borders, will be able to visit as long as they are vaccinated. The exact date in early November when the restrictions will be lifted is yet to be announced.

However, in early January, the United States will require essential visitors, like truck drivers, to be vaccinated to cross land borders, the officials said.

Officials from President Joe Biden’s administration have indicated that the White House would not be lifting the “Title 42” order implemented by former President Donald Trump’s administration which essentially cut off access to asylum for hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking to enter from Mexico.

U.S Lawmakers from New York have commended the move to lift these restrictions. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, “Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures. That pain is about to end”.

Since March 2020, U.S. lawmakers have been pushing for the restrictions that have barred non-essential travel by Canadians across the northern U.S. border to be lifted by the White House, and many border communities have been hit hard by the closure. Mexico has also pressed the Biden administration to ease restrictions.

However, foreign visitors crossing the border into the United States either by land or ferry will be required to get vaccinated but will not need to show proof of vaccination unless referred for secondary inspections by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.