The White House is going to announce today that the United States authority will lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals, effective 8 November, at land borders and for air travel, a White House official said. Curbs on non-essential travellers at land borders have been in place since March 2020 to address the Covid-19 pandemic. They were first imposed on air travellers from China, the country of origin of coronavirus and the pathogen’s suspected creator, in early 2020 and extended to more than 30 other countries.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had said in a statement two days ago that the administration would next month “begin allowing travellers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings.”
The White House had announced on 12 October that it would lift restrictions at its land borders and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November. They are similar but not identical to the requirements that the United States had announced last month for international air travellers.
Unvaccinated visitors will still be barred from entering the United States from Canada or Mexico across the land borders.
Canada had on 9 August 9 began allowing fully vaccinated visitors from the United States for non-essential travel.
“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. That pain is about to end,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
The White House had announced on 20 September that the United States would lift restrictions on air travellers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe in early November. It did not disclose the precise date at the time.
It also said it would apply vaccine requirements to foreign nationals travelling from all other countries.
Non-American air travellers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight. They will need to show proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test.
The officials from President Joe Biden’s administration emphasized that the White House would not lift the “Title 42” order put in place by former President Donald Trump’s administration, which has essentially cut off access to asylum for hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking to enter from Mexico.
Homeland Security said the administration was creating “consistent, stringent protocols for all foreign nationals travelling to the United States — whether by air, land, or ferry.”