By: Gladys Gervacio
Beginning January 22, 2022, all non-US travelers entering the United States by land or ferry from Canada or Mexico will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination. The new policy will not apply to US citizens, lawful permanent residents, or US nationals.
The policy, unless extended, will be in effect until April 21, 2022.
new policy requirements
The land border vaccine restriction will apply to non-US travelers, including anyone traveling for essential purposes. Therefore, the policy requires vaccination for travel and education purposes, in employment-based nonimmigrant classifications, under the Visa Waiver program, and for public health response, emergency response, and cross-border trading. Business travelers and nonimmigrants entering with H, L, O, E, and B visa status will also be required to provide proof of vaccination.
Nonessential travelers must still provide proof of vaccination as per the previous policy from November 8, 2021.
Certain exemptions are available for the vaccine requirement, including:
- Minors under the age of 18.
- Anyone with a medical restriction to receiving the vaccine.
- Certain nonimmigrant visa recipient citizens of countries with limited access to COVID-19 vaccines as listed by the CDC.
- This exemption does not apply to B-1 and B-2 visa holders.
- Certain diplomatic and official foreign government travelers.
- Participants in some COVID-19 vaccine trials.
- Anyone who has received official humanitarian or emergency exception by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
- US armed forces and their spouses or children under the age of 18, if specified by the CDC.
- Travelers entering the US in the country’s national interest.
at the border
The essential traveler vaccine requirement will follow the same steps as the nonessential travel requirement. Travelers will be asked to verbally confirm vaccination status and provide proof of vaccination. The United States will continue to use the CDC definition of “fully vaccinated.”
There are currently no testing requirements for land and ferry travel from Canada and Mexico.
For case-specific questions on how this new policy impacts your travel, please contact the Chugh LLP, immigration professional that you work with. Our team will closely monitor the development of this policy and release updates when they are available.