Starting next month, the United States will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to cross its land borders for non-essential purposes such as tourism or to visit friends and family.
Changes will allow foreign tourists to enter the US through land or ferry ports For the first time since March 2020. Government officials have yet to announce a date for the policy change, but have said it will happen in “early November”. In tandem with the country’s updated international air travel system.
“This is an important step that will further enhance the safety of international travel and the safety of Americans at home,” senior administration officials said in a call with reporters. “These new vaccination requirements deploy the best tools in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
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How does this work?
Wednesday’s update follows the White House20 September announcement It said the US would implement a new international air travel system in “early November”. foreign travelers allowed Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization to enter the country with COVID-19 vaccines.
“We want this country to have a coherent approach to both land and air entry. And so this is the next step to bring them in alignment,” senior administrative officials said.
The new land border travel restrictions will be broken into two phases, both of which introduce vaccine mandates:
- phase 1: The first phase will take effect in “early November” and allows fully vaccinated travelers to enter the US for non-urgent reasons. At this stage unvaccinated travelers can travel to the US only for essential purposes.
- phase 2: The second phase will begin in “early January” and will only allow travelers to cross the land border for both essential and non-urgent reasons if they have been fully vaccinated.
There will be no need for testing at any stage.
“This phased approach will provide enough time to vaccinate essential passengers like truck drivers and others, thereby making the transition to this new system easier,” said senior administrative officials.
Current land border travel restrictions – which ends on October 21 – Will be extended till the new policy is implemented. The specific dates for each phase have not been released yet.
How can travelers show proof of vaccination?
US customers and border security will enforce new travel requirements and check travellers’ proof of vaccination documents. Foreign nationals will also need an appropriate travel document to enter the country.
Foreign travelers will be able to show vaccination status either in paper or digital format. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to provide updates on what kind of paperwork will be accepted at the borders in the coming days.
Land Border Travel Restrictions:US extends land border restrictions with Canada, Mexico until October 21
Which vaccines will be accepted?
Government officials have not announced which vaccines will be accepted at the borders.
If land and ferry limits follow the lead of the new air travel system, foreign nationals should be able to cross with vaccines that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. It also includes:
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
It’s not clear whether travelers receiving the mixed dose will be able to enter the US, but officials said the CDC is “working” on that question for both land and air travel.
US officials’ actions Canada’s decision to reopen its land borders comes months after To fully vaccinate US citizens and permanent residents on August 9.
US grips on US travel restrictions on Canada counterattacked, given Canada’s high vaccination rates. About 73% of Canada’s population is fully vaccinated, compared to 57% in the US and 38% in Mexico, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
“We’ve been working for weeks on a plan to do this safely and not to pose a risk to Americans,” a senior administration official told reporters. “We’ve seen an increase in vaccine availability — apparently in Canada, which now has a very high vaccination rate, as well as in Mexico. … We think this system will make it safer for Americans in the long run.”
Follow USA Today reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @baley_schulz.