The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that the United States would lift restrictions on the country’s land borders with Canada and Mexico next month, allowing fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the country at crossings for the first time. in 19 months.
The Department of Homeland Security said it will reopen travel through ports of entry in November for non-essential purposes, such as visiting friends or for sightseeing. Travelers will need to show proof of coronavirus vaccination.
The rules will extend to all incoming foreign travelers in January. These visitors will also need to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to enter through level crossings. Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be prohibited from entering the United States via borders with Canada and Mexico.
The exact date of the change in November will be announced in the coming days.
“Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our economy at large,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “We are happy to take steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”
This decision was quickly hailed by lawmakers in border states. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) told Reuters the pandemic had sparked an era of “pain and economic hardship” that was now “about to end.”
The New York Times reported the change would align the country’s border policies at all ports of entry and build on President Joe Biden’s announcement last month that lifted bans on foreign travelers arriving by air. from abroad. The effort was seen as a boon to the languishing travel tourism industry as well as a step in reuniting families separated by the pandemic.
The country’s travel restrictions were first instituted in March 2020, although many people have been exempted from the rules, including returning US citizens.