At the height of the pandemic, borders between nations were closed, restricted or tightened on an almost weekly basis, in response to growths in cases, variants being detected and fear of the virus spreading out of control. Whilst we are starting to see many of the restrictions slowly being eased back to normal, there are others that continue to be extended – such as the restrictions surrounding the United States’ land borders with Canada and Mexico. Here’s a look at why it has been extended, plus a guide on American travelers can still visit their neighbors to the North and South.
Extended Once More – What The Government Said
Closed to halt the spread of Covid-19 from one of the three countries into another, it has been a year now since the land borders were initially closed, with 30-day extensions coming month after month. Yesterday it was revealed that the restrictions would be extended for yet another 30 days, until April 21st.
Despite the Covid-19 situation significantly improving in all three countries, and the fact that Americans have been traveling en-masse recently without much of a hitch, the Department of Homeland Security stated that each of the countries determined that non-essential travel “poses additional risk of transmission and spread of the virus.”
After taking office, President Biden directed officials to reach out to the governments of Mexico and Canada in order to discuss health protocols for land ports of entry in January, sparking hope that the restrictions might be on the way out, but that has not yet proved to be the case. Yesterday’s announcement marked the second time President Biden has extended the restrictions.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also shown little interest in loosening the restrictions. Speaking at a news conference on Monday, he said:
“I think we’re all going to wait patiently until such time as the health situation allows us to loosen border restrictions internationally. That’ll be eventually, but not for today.”
Those with the right to travel into Canada must provide a negative test result taken within 72 hours of entry to Canada.
Exceptions To The Rule
There are several exceptions to the border restrictions. According to the US Customs and Border Patrol website, the exceptions include:
- Persons based on considerations of law enforcement, officer and public safety, humanitarian, or public health interests
- Those involved in the supply chain, including trucking
- Those who cross the border for essential work or with a need to cross for urgent or essential reasons
Those who cross the land border for essential reasons are also exempt from the need to self-isolate, and many are also exempt from the need to take a Covid-19 test – a full list of exemptions can be found here.
How To Visit Mexico and Canada
Whilst land borders aren’t an option for many, it’s still possible for Americans to visit Mexico and Canada. Travelers can simply fly into Mexico, without the need to take a Covid-19 test and without needing to quarantine upon arrival. Instead, travelers must simply complete a health declaration form and scan the QR code that is generated upon arrival and take heed of the restrictions in place in Mexico at present.
Whilst Americans cannot visit Canada for a holiday, travel is still permitted for a series of reasons, such as for essential travel or to visit immediate family members. Travelers must ensure they have a quarantine plan that shows how they will quarantine for 14 days – this plan is a mandatory requirement.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories