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The United States announced it would lift existing land border entry restrictions with Mexico and Canada for fully vaccinated foreign nationals, starting in early November.
According to Reuters.com, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said President Joe Biden and his administration would “begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the U.S. for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings.”
U.S. officials revealed the new rules are similar to planned requirements announced last month for international air travelers. The land border openings will end a ban on non-essential travelers that began in March 2020 to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Unvaccinated travelers will still be banned from entering the U.S. when restrictions are lifted. An exact date for the border reopenings would be announced “very soon,” according to government officials.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said. “That pain is about to end.”
Homeland Security said it was working with health officials to create “consistent, stringent protocols for all foreign nationals traveling to the United States – whether by air, land, or ferry.”
Canada reopened to vaccinated Americans on August 9 and Mexico never implemented a ban on U.S. travelers during the pandemic.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the lifting of non-essential travel bans in November:
“U.S. Travel has long urged a reopening of the U.S. land borders, and we applaud the Biden administration’s plan to ease entry restrictions for vaccinated visitors. This action will bring a welcome surge in travel from our two top source markets of inbound travel.”
“Declines in international visitation since the start of the pandemic have resulted in more than $250 billion in lost export income and more than a million U.S. jobs. The closed Canadian and Mexican land borders alone costs the U.S. economy nearly $700 million per month.”
“The full reopening of international travel to the United States to fully vaccinated individuals is overdue and will provide a jolt to the U.S. economy, travel businesses large and small, and to destinations across America.”