Just in time for snowbird season, the U.S. border is finally re-opening to non-essential travelers in Canada and Mexico after being closed for more than a year and a half.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced travelers from Canada and Mexico who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have the appropriate paperwork can enter the United States via land and ferry ports of entry.

“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

The border reopening will occur in two phases over the next few months. First, in November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico or Canada to enter the United States at land and ferry ports. Travelers will be required to show proof of vaccination. Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel for non-essential purposes.

Beginning in early January 2022, DHS will require all inbound foreign national travelers crossing U.S. land or ferry ports – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination. This approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers, students, and healthcare workers to get vaccinated.

"This reopening will be welcome news to countless businesses, medical providers, families, and loved ones that depend on travel across the northern border," said Senator Gillibrand.

Travel along the U.S.-Canadian border has been severely restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. The closure and loss of Canadian business have cost the U.S. economy $1.5 billion each month and $665-855 million annually in Erie County alone.

The Canadian border opened to non-essential travelers who were fully vaccinated on August 9.

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