The Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from Mexico and Canada to enter the country in early November, lifting a historic ban on non-essential visits first imposed in March 2020.
Throughout the pandemic, Mexican and Canadian citizens were allowed to travel to the U.S. for school and certain commercial purposes. Next month – as long as they’re vaccinated – they’re free to visit family and friends or simply spend leisure time.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures. That pain is about to end,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
The changes, announced by members of New York’s congressional delegation, come after the White House previously announced its intention to begin allowing airline passengers from a broad swath of countries – including Canada, Mexico, and Europe – to enter the country with proof of vaccination and a coronavirus test in early November.
The New York Times adds:
The lifting of the bans will effectively mark the reopening of the United States to travelers and tourism, signaling a new phase in the recovery from the pandemic after the country closed its borders for nearly 19 months.
But the new requirements also indicate that the United States will welcome only visitors who are vaccinated. Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be banned from crossing the borders with Mexico or Canada, officials said. Those who were never banned from traveling across the land borders, including commercial drivers and students, will also need to show proof of vaccination when crossing starting in January — an effort to provide them time to adjust to the new rules, officials said.
Biden administration officials told reporters that the new policy does not impact Title 42 restrictions on asylum seekers.
Administration officials also indicated that foreigners inoculated against COVID-19 via vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as AstraZeneca’s, would be allowed into the country, even though if those jabs haven’t been approved by U.S. regulators.