October 14, 2021
The United States plans to ease restrictions on travel for fully vaccinated visitors from Canada and Mexico starting in early November, relaxing bans that have been in place for more than 18 months, according to senior administration officials, reports CNN.
The new rules—which are similar to those announced for international air passengers—will be rolled out in a phased approach:
- The first phase, kicking off in early November, will allow fully vaccinated visitors traveling for nonessential reasons, like visiting friends or for tourism, to cross U.S. land borders.
- The second phase, starting in early January 2022, will apply the vaccination requirement to all inbound foreign travelers, whether traveling for essential or nonessential reasons.
“These new vaccination requirements deploy the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will create a consistent, stringent protocol for all foreign nationals traveling into the United States whether by land or air,” a senior administration official told reporters.
The United States has been limiting nonessential travel on the ground along its borders with Canada and Mexico since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. Air travel between the US and those countries has been possible. The restrictions don’t apply to cross-border trade, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, or to people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.
The latest set of restrictions is due to expire on October 21. Senior administration officials said the limits on cross-border travel will remain in effect until a soon-to-be-disclosed date in November.
A Trump-era public health order that’s allowed for the swift expulsion of more than 958,000 migrants also will stay in effect. Those restrictions, while also based on public health, are necessary because of concerns over migrants in congregate settings when undergoing processing, officials said.
The travel restrictions had come under heavy scrutiny by lobbyists, lawmakers and border mayors who implored the Biden administration to adjust limits to meet the evolving landscape.
Research contact: @CNN