WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that non-citizen travelers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation will be permitted to enter the United States via land ports of entry (POE) and ferry terminals starting on November 8, 2021. This shift eases long-standing restrictions on non-essential travel, consistent with public health guidance. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will soon share additional information about the steps eligible travelers will need to take to enter the United States under the new rules.
“We are pleased to take another step toward easing travel restrictions at our borders in a manner that strengthens our economy and protects the health and safety of the American public,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We continue working closely with our international partners to sustainably implement new rules for resuming travel.”
Starting November 8, when arriving at a U.S. land POE or ferry terminal, non-citizen travelers should be prepared to (1) provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website; and (2) verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection.
Any non-citizen attempting to enter the United States through illegal means or without appropriate documentation may be subject to expulsion or removal. Travelers arriving at a U.S. land POE or ferry terminal should be prepared to present any other relevant documents as requested by a CBP Officer. U.S. citizens are reminded to bring a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) document, such as a valid U.S. passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Enhanced Tribal Card, when re-entering the country and be prepared to present a WHTI-compliant document if requested by a CBP Officer during a border inspection. To learn more about the updated requirements for travelers, click here.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, CBP implemented temporary travel restrictions on March 20, 2020, which limited travel at land POEs along the U.S. northern and southern borders to essential travel, including travel for lawful trade, emergency response, and public health purposes. Individuals engaged in essential travel will not be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at this time. Starting in January 2022, however, all inbound foreign national travelers seeking to enter the United States via land POEs or ferry terminals – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination.
As travel begins to resume, travel volumes and wait times are expected to increase. Travelers should plan for longer than normal wait times and long lines at U.S. land border crossings when planning their trip and are reminded to exercise patience.
To help reduce wait times and long lines, travelers can take advantage of innovative technology, such as facial biometrics and the CBP One™ mobile application, which serves as a single portal for individuals to access CBP mobile applications and services.