The U.S. will open its land borders to fully vaccinated nonessential travelers in early November, at the same time it beings allowing fully vaccinated and COVID-free foreign nationals to arrive by air, senior Biden administration officials said Tuesday night. The policy shift, following 19 months of closed borders with Mexico and Canada, will be formally announced Wednesday. Unlike air travelers, those arriving by automobile, rail, or ferry will not need a negative COVID-19 test, and proof of inclusion with any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization will be accepted.
While nonessential travel has been restricted from Mexico and Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic began, essential travel, notably trade, has been allowed. Truck drivers and other travelers deemed essential will have until mid-January to be fully vaccinated. Canada has already started allowing in fully vaccinated visitors from the U.S., with a negative test conducted within 72 hours of entry, and Mexico has been restriction-free all pandemic. Both countries have been pressuring the U.S. to open its borders.
The new rules apply only to those seeking legal entry at U.S. land borders, U.S. officials cautioned, and those seeking to enter without permission will still be subject to expulsion under the pandemic-related Title 42 public health order.