US to reopen land borders in November for fully vaccinated
Traffic from Canada waits to cross the border into the US
The US will reopen its land borders to non-essential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the country moves to require all international visitors to be vaccinated.
Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the US and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic.
The new rules, to be announced on Wednesday, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the US regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to begin for air travel into the country.
By mid-January, even essential travellers seeking to enter the US, like truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.
The Ambassador Bridge connecting Canada to the US (Mark Spowart/The Canadian Press via AP)
Senior administration officials previewed the new policy with reporters late on Tuesday on condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement.
Mexico and Canada have pressed the US for months to ease restrictions on travel that have separated families and curtailed leisure trips since the onset of the pandemic.
The latest move follows last month’s announcement that the US will end country-based travel bans for air travel, and instead require vaccination for foreign nationals seeking to enter by plane.
Both policies will take effect in early November, the officials said. They did not specify a particular date.
The new rules only apply to legal entry to the US. Officials cautioned that those seeking to enter illegally will still be subject to expulsion under so-called Title 42 authority, first invoked by former President Donald Trump, that has drawn criticism from immigration advocates for swiftly removing migrants before they can seek asylum.
One of the officials said the US was continuing the policy because cramped conditions in border patrol facilities pose a Covid-19 threat.
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