Effective January 22, 2022, all noncitizen, non-LPR (Legal Permanent Resident) travelers seeking to cross the northern or southern land border (including ferry ports) into the U.S. must present proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, even if they are traveling for “essential” purposes.
Beginning in March 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) limited travel of individuals from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. via land and ferry ports for “essential” purposes only. The restrictions were meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across such borders. Essential travel included, among other categories, traveling to the U.S. for work. Beginning November 8, 2021, nonessential travel was once again permitted through the land and ferry ports of entry for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19. DHS also announced that this vaccine requirement would be imposed on essential travel beginning in January.
To be considered fully vaccinated, individuals must receive a full course of a vaccine that has been approved by the FDA or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is the only single-dose treatment; all other acceptable vaccines—Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca (including Covishield), Sinopharm (Beijing), and Sinovac—require two doses, although mixing-and-matching is permitted from amongst the approved vaccines.
There are a few exceptions to the vaccine requirement, including children under the age of 18, individuals participating in a COVID-19 clinical trial, and individuals with a medical contraindication to the vaccines. Satisfactory evidence must be presented in order to claim an exception.
The vaccine requirement does not apply to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or legal permanent residents. At this time, there is no COVID-19 testing requirement for traveling across the northern and southern borders by land or ferry.
Travel requirements can change rapidly and individuals are encourage to discuss the latest conditions with their T&S representative prior to making or embarking on international travel plans.