U.S. to Ease Travel Restrictions with Canada and Mexicoby Daniel McCarthy
The United States is finally loosening its travel restrictions on land-border crossings with both Canada and Mexico beginning in November.
Fully vaccinated travelers will once again be welcome to cross at the borders starting in November (no exact date was given by the Biden administration this week), marking a long-awaited reopening for both Canada and Mexico travelers who had been unable to travel into the U.S. since early in the pandemic last year, a little more than 18 months ago.
Starting then families will be able to be reunited and communities at the border who have relied on tourism from those international travelers will once again be able to welcome them.
All inbound travelers must have proof of vaccination at the border and officers from Customs and Border Protection will question those crossing the border about their status before allowing them to cross. Officers will also be able to sent individuals to secondary screenings where they will have their documents checked. No negative COVID-19 test will be required to cross the land border.
Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be banned from those border crossings.
The new rules at the land borders coincides with the new international air travel rules—the Biden administration in September announced that it would ease restrictions on European and U.K. travelers starting in November as long as they are fully vaccinated.
The news will finally allow the travel industry in the U.S. and North America to take another step forward in its COVID-19 recovery. Associations, organizations, and travel companies have long been pushing for a normalization of international travel and while the news this week doesn’t necessary fully return travel back to normal, it is a step in that direction.
According to U.S. Travel, which applauded the news in a statement on Wednesday morning, “the closed Canadian and Mexican land borders alone costs the U.S. economy nearly $700 million per month.”
In September, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) wrote, after reports of European travel restrictions broke, that "the travel industry as a whole will not recover from COVID until international travel restarts in earnest. We urge the Biden Administration in the strongest possible terms to do its part to make that happen.”
ASTA had also joined other associations including the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the European Travel Agents and Tour Operation Associations (ECTAA), and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), to release a joint letter highlighting the push for an opening and standardization of vaccine entry requirements worldwide.
“For well over a year, inconsistent government orders in a wide range of countries intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have created confusion and uncertainty among travelers, a chilling effect on future bookings and innumerable other challenges for our associations’ travel agency members and partners,” the letter read.