U.S.-Canada border expected to reopen to fully vaccinated travelers in November

Posted at 5:29 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 05:50:41-04

(WXYZ) — The 19-month blockade on U.S. land borders is expected to come to an end next month.

New details are set to be announced Wednesday that will end the closure of the U.S. border to citizens in Canada and Mexico.

Officials say they'll start to ease restrictions in two phases.

During the first phase in early November, people traveling for non-essential reasons will be allowed through the border as long as they show proof of vaccination.

The second phase in January, full vaccination status will be required for both essential and non-essential travelers.

Checking proof of vaccination will become a standard part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection entry process.

We're told foreign travelers will be able to show vaccination status in either a paper or digital format.

It comes after months of pleading with U.S. officials from families living on opposite sides on Canadian and Mexican border with the U.S.

Travel by car, ferry and train have been heavily restricted since March of 2020.

Now, instead of needing an essential reason to get across, foreign visitors will have to show they've reached full vaccination status.

The restrictions will ease in phases.

During the first phase, people traveling for essential reasons will still be able to cross the border regardless of vaccination status.

Once the second phase begins, the vaccine requirement will apply to everyone.

The lag in the vaccine requirement is meant to be a grace period so essential travelers like truck drivers and others have time to get their shots.

Officials are hoping this will minimize the impact on livelihoods and the economy as a whole.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will enforce the new travel requirements and will be spot-checking visitors proof of vaccination documents.

Those documents can be in paper or digital form.

The new rules only apply to legal entry to the U.S. Officials say those seeking to enter illegally will be punished under law.

Currently, Mexico has no COVID-19 entry procedures for travelers.

Canada allows entry of fully-vaccinated individuals with proof of vaccination as well as proof of a negative test conducted within 72 hours of entry to the country.

Specific dates for each phase have not yet been released.