The US will begin allowing fully vaccinated non-essential travelers from Canada and Mexico to enter the country next month, according to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
Mayorkas said in a statement late Tuesday that restrictions, which have remained in place since March 2020 due to the coronavirus, were lifted following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts.
"In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers 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 Mayorkas.
He said cross-border travel creates "significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy.
"We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner," he added.
In the first phase, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter at land and ferry POEs (ports of entry) for non-essential reasons.
"Travelers will be required to have appropriate paperwork that provides proof of vaccination. Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel for non-essential purposes from Canada and Mexico into the United States via land and ferry POEs," said the statement.
In the second phase, beginning in early January 2022, the Department of Homeland Security will require that all inbound foreign national travelers crossing US land or ferry POEs be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination.
"This approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers, students, and healthcare workers to get vaccinated," the statement added.