Restrictions Extended through January 21 for Nonessential Land Travel Across US-Mexico and US-Canada Borders

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By: Jacqueline Valle and Deepika Singh

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has extended restrictions limiting nonessential land and ferry travel across the United States borders with Mexico and Canada through January 21, 2021. Only essential travel is allowed, which includes travel for work, education, medical treatment, and certain supply chains. Air travel is not impacted by this restriction.

After being enacted on March 21, 2020, these border crossing restrictions have been renewed multiple times to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

which types of travel are permitted?

Tourist or recreational travel is considered nonessential and is not permitted. This travel may include things like sightseeing, attending cultural events, or gambling.

Essential land and ferry travel are permitted, and may include:

  • US citizens and green card holders returning to the United States.
  • Lawful cross-border trade.
  • Entering the United States for work.
  • To receive medical treatment, or other medical purposes.
  • Educational purposes.
  • Public health and emergency response efforts.
  • Returning to the US as a member of the armed forces, or their spouses and children.
  • Other forms of travel as approved by CBP on a case-by-case basis.

Business or visa waiver travelers may face additional scrutiny at the border.

next steps for business travelers

Business travel is still allowed across the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders by lawful permanent residents and foreign nationals. However, business travelers have been treated inconsistently at the border since the start of the travel restrictions. Foreign nationals should be prepared to answer additional questions about their employment or business activity in the United States.


Our professionals are closely monitoring new developments in cross-border travel and other COVID-19-related restrictions. We will release any updates as soon as they are available. Please contact your trusted Chugh, LLP attorney for case-specific questions.


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