Beginning Saturday, all people who aren’t U.S. citizens or permanent residents will have to provide proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when crossing into the country at land borders.
The policy was announced in October and initially applied only to non-citizens entering the U.S. for “non-essential reasons” when the border reopened in November after 21 months of pandemic travel restrictions. Starting this weekend, the vaccination requirement will extend to non-citizens who are crossing the border for essential reasons, such as seeking medical care or going to school.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not required to show proof of vaccination to cross at land ports of entry.
“These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
In a news release, the Department of Homeland Security said all non-U.S. individuals traveling to the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals must:
- Declare their COVID-19 vaccination status.
- Provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Present a document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, such as a valid passport or Trusted Traveler Program card.
A DHS fact sheet offers more information about vaccine requirements at land border crossings.
Feature photo: Mexican citizens lined up on the Paso del Norte Bridge in early November 2021 as the border reopened for the first time in 21 months.(Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters)