The United States will reopen its land borders to non-essential travel next month. Thereby, ending a 19-month closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government seeks to require all international visitors to take coronavirus vaccines.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, vehicle, rail, and boat travel between the United States, Canada, and Mexico reduced to essential transit, such as trade. Starting in early November, a similar reduction of restrictions is going to take effect for air travel into the country. The new guidelines will be out on Wednesday. It would allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the United States regardless of their reason for travel. Even vital travelers seeking entry to the US, such as truck drivers, will need to take all necessary doses by mid-January.
On the condition of anonymity to talk ahead of the formal announcement, senior administration officials gave a sneak peek at the new policy late Tuesday.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, both Mexico and Canada have pressured the United States to loosen travel restrictions. They have divided families and reduced leisure excursions. The latest action comes after the US said last month that it would remove country-based air travel bans. Instead, it will require foreign citizens seeking entry by plane to be vaccinated.
Both policies will go into force in early November, according to officials. They didn’t provide a specific date. But the US will reopen land borders for everyone with rules and restrictions.
Title 42 authority
The new laws apply only to legal immigration into the United States. Officials warned that anybody attempting to enter the country illegally will still face deportation under the so-called Title 42 authority. It was first used by former President Donald Trump. Immigration groups criticize it for removing migrants before they can request asylum. According to one of the authorities, the strategy is being maintained because overcrowding in border police facilities poses a COVID-19 concern.
Travelers entering the United States by car, rail, or ferry will be asked about their vaccination status. It is a part of the routine US Customs and Border Protection admissions process, according to officials. Travelers’ proof of vaccination will validate in a secondary screening process at the discretion of officers.
Air travel requires documentation of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to enter the United States. But no testing is necessary for visitors entering the US by land or sea as long as they complete the immunization requirements.
World Health Organization-approved vaccinations
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States will accept completely vaccinated visitors with any of the World Health Organization-approved vaccinations for emergency use, not just those used in the United States. This means that the commonly used AstraZeneca vaccination will get approval.
Officials said the CDC was still working on formalizing protocols for admitting people who had two separate vaccine doses, as was frequent in Canada.
The delay in the vaccine requirement for necessary cross-border travel intends to give truck drivers and others more time to get the vaccine. Thereby, reduce the possible economic impact of the mandate, according to officials.
Overall, the new procedures move away from less targeted country-based restrictions and toward a policy based on individual risk profiles.
The foreign national vaccination demand comes as the White House moves to implement sweeping vaccination-or-testing requirements. It may affect up to 100 million individuals in the United States to persuade holdouts to receive injections.
The US Department of Labor completed the first draft of an emergency regulation on Tuesday. It will force firms with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccination or testing weekly. The Office of Management and Budget is currently reviewing the directive before putting it into effect.
COVID-19 entrance requirements for passengers does not implement in Mexico. Individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have documentation of a negative test completed within 72 hours of entering the country are allowed to enter Canada