US to open land border to North Americans in November, other travellers in January

Oct 13 2021, 10:53 am

The US government announced more details Wednesday about when fully vaccinated Canadians, and other foreign nationals will be allowed to cross the land border.

The US will allow fully immunized Canadian and Mexican citizens to drive across its land borders for non-essential reasons this November, after what will be a record-breaking 20-month closure due to COVID-19.

Starting in January 2022, citizens of countries outside North America will also be allowed to enter the US at land crossings in Canada and Mexico — provided they’re fully vaccinated.

“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,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a news release.

The new rules also apply to ferry crossings.

The US government announced that people who are not citizens of the US, Canada, or Mexico would need to prove they’re vaccinated whether they’re travelling for essential or non-essential reasons.

“This approach will provide ample time for essential travellers such as truckers, students, and healthcare workers to get vaccinated.”

Right now, essential travellers to the US who are Canadian or Mexican don’t need to prove they’re immunized. The mandatory vaccination rules only apply to Canadians and Mexicans who are travelling for recreation or tourism purposes.

“This new travel system will create consistent, stringent protocols for all foreign nationals travelling to the United States – whether by air, land, or ferry – and accounts for the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccinations,” the US government said.

These latest announcements about land and ferry border crossings are in addition to new rules about vaccination for air travellers. Starting in November, adults travelling to the US who are not US citizens will need to prove they’re immunized.

The US has not yet said whether mixed vaccine doses or the AstraZeneca shot, which thousands of Canadians received, will be accepted.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair welcomed the US’ announcement that it will reopen its border next month, adding the two countries will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation.

“Our two governments have worked closely since the beginning of the pandemic to slow the spread of COVID-19, and today’s announcement is one more step toward returning to normal,” he said in a statement.

Canada reopened its land border to US citizens on August 9.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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