Everything you need to know about next week's US land border reopening

Nov 5 2021, 4:08 pm

Fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to cross land and ferry borders into the United States for non-essential travel starting on November 8.

The reopening date was confirmed in mid-October by White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munz. Further details were shared by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week.

“For the first time since March 2020, non-citizen travellers will be permitted to enter the US through a land border or ferry terminal for a non-essential reason, provided they are fully vaccinated and can present proof of COVID-19 vaccination status,” the DHS says on its website.

In addition to proof of vaccination, anyone crossing the US border should also be prepared to declare their reason for travel.

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Individuals who are travelling for essential reasons, however, such as lawful trade, emergency response, or public health purposes do not need to be vaccinated at this time.

“We are pleased to take another step toward easing travel restrictions at our borders in a manner that strengthens our economy and protects the health and safety of the American public,” Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement. “We continue working closely with our international partners to sustainably implement new rules for resuming travel.”

DHS adds that with international travel resuming, “travel volumes and wait times are expected to increase.” Anyone planning for cross-border travel should plan for longer than normal wait times and long lines at US land border crossings.

Can you travel with mixed doses?

Canadians who received mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses will be able to travel to the United States when the border reopens next month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the policy last month.

Individuals who receive “any combination” of two doses of an FDA or WHO approved vaccine will be “considered fully vaccinated,” the CDC stated at the time.

It was also confirmed that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which has been approved by the WHO but not the FDA, would be acceptable for entry to the US.

There are nearly four million Canadians with mixed shots and more than 200,000 Canadians have received at least one dose of AstraZeneca.

What you need to enter or return to Canada

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reminding travellers that border measures are also in place for individuals entering or returning to Canada.

“Fully vaccinated travellers coming to Canada must complete the mandatory pre-arrival molecular COVID-19 test and submit their mandatory information including their digital proof of vaccination,” CBSA says in an email.

Proof of vaccination can be submitted using the AriveCAN app or website within 72 hours of arriving in Canada.

The CBSA adds that antigen tests, or rapid tests, are not accepted and fully vaccinated travellers can be subject to mandatory random testing on arrival.

For trips that are less than 72 hours, Canadian citizens, people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents, and protected persons travelling to the US can take a pre-arrival molecular test before they leave Canada.

If the test is more than 72 hours old upon re-entering, however, they will need to get another test.

With files from Zoe Demarco and Megan Devlin

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