Come on in! US lifts border restrictions to Canada

Proof of vaccination will be required

Come on in! US lifts border restrictions to Canada

Canadians and Mexicans wanting to enter the United States for non-essential purposes will now be permitted do so, according to the latest announcement from the US Department of Homeland Security.

"In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travellers 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 Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Mayorkas added that there’ll be a two-phase plan for the easing of restrictions, with the first to take effect in November but without any specific date announced yet. In November, fully vaccinated travellers from Mexico and Canada will be allowed entry to the US through land and ferry ports of entry for non-essential reasons. They will need to present necessary paperwork that will provide proof that they are fully immunised against COVID-19.

Later in January, the proof-of-vaccination requirement will be expanded to essential travellers, such as truckers, students, and healthcare workers. Essential travellers were never prohibited from crossing the borders, BBC said in a report, but they will need to start complying to the vaccine mandate starting next year.

Read more: Canadians say vaccination proof must be required of all travellers: poll

Mayorkas explained the later requirement for essential travellers, saying that the approach will give them "ample time" to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"This new travel system will create consistent, stringent protocols for all foreign nationals traveling to the United States – whether by air, land, or ferry – and accounts for the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccinations," Mayorkas said.

The guidelines were unveiled after senior US officials announced on Tuesday night the reopening plan, but details were not yet ironed out at the time, CBC reported.

Officials said in the announcement that it remains unclear whether the US will recognise those who received mixed COVID-19 doses or those who received the AstraZeneca jabs since the US has not approved them yet.

An official, however, claimed that the CDC will recommend the acceptance of air travellers vaccinated with AstraZeneca as they have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation, CBC reported, adding that a similar rule is also expected for land travels.

Canada reopened its borders to the US back in August, as long as they are fully immunised against COVID-19.

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