By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Starting Saturday, non-U.S. travelers who wish to enter the United States via ferry terminals or land ports of entry at the U.S.–Mexico or U.S.–Canada borders must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced.
The land borders had been closed to non-essential travel for 20 months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Non-essential foreign visitors were allowed to enter the United States starting Nov. 8, 2021—including across land borders and ferry terminals—if they were vaccinated against COVID-19.
At the time, essential workers, such as truck drivers and nurses who were crossing land borders, were not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
The DHS said on Jan. 20 that the update in policy—to apply for both non-essential and essential travelers—”will align public health measures that govern land travel with those that govern incoming international air travel.”
“These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy,” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
The requirement will not apply to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or U.S. nationals.
Unlike air travelers, people crossing land borders or ferry terminals are not required to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.
To enter the United States by air, foreign nonimmigrant travelers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. There are some exceptions that will allow the person to come in without needing to be fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).