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US Extends Land Border Travel Restrictions

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Whilst we are now a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, restrictions imposed across the world show no sign of slowing down. Instead of opening up, many countries instead doubling down on their existing restrictions in order to try and prevent the spread of the more easily transmitted Covid-19 variants that have plagued many countries around the world.

That’s certainly the case with the US, which has decided to extend the travel restrictions on its land borders. Here’s a reminder of what those restrictions are, more details about what the latest extension entails and how else travelers can make the trip.

us canada flags

Land Border Restrictions – Information for Travelers

The US, Canada and Mexico have closed their borders to all but essential travel since March last year. Despite the original closure being in place for only 30 days, it has been extended month after month, as the situation has failed to improve to the extent that re-opening the border has been the proper course of action.

us mexico border

The border was closed in order to halt the spread of Covid-19 from one of the three countries into the other. Despite the countries showing a general improvement with their daily case rates over the past few months, the prevalence of more easily-spread virus variants have given the border restrictions a new sense of purpose.

us mexico border flag

The borders between the three countries are not completely closed as they remain open for essential travel. This includes medical purposes, to attend educational institutions, for emergency and public health purposes and for lawful cross-border trade. The US Customs and Border Protection website also points out that supply chains, including trucking, will not be affected by the restrictions. Those who do travel for essential purposed are also exempt from any need to self-isolate once they have crossed the border into another country.

us tijuana border

Border Restrictions Updated – What Travelers Should Know

Late last night, the US government announced that its land border restrictions with Canada and Mexico would be extended for a further 30 days. The extension will last until March 21st at the minimum, marking the one-year anniversary since the restrictions were first introduced. Originally introduced by President Trump, this most recent extension will be the first such extension by President Biden, who has dedicated the early weeks of his tenure as president to overturning some of the travel bans and restrictions imposed by his predecessor, such as the controversial “Muslim Ban”.

traveler with US passport airplane

This means that travelers will not be able to cross from one of the three countries into another for non-essential purposes. The extension also comes in the wake of Canada’s testing new requirement for those making the land border crossing, where travelers must have a negative Covid-19 test taken 72-hours before they cross the border. The new mandatory hotel quarantine is only currently in effect for travels arriving by air.

How Else Can Travelers Make The Trip?

Flying from one to another remains a viable option for travelers wanting to make the trip – though that too has been subjected to further restrictions in recent weeks.

US Extends Land Border Closure with Canada and Mexico for Another Month US Extends Land Border Closure with Canada and Mexico for Another Month

Last month, the US government introduced a restriction that meant nearly all international arrivals into the US would require a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than three days before their flight departs. Canada also introduced strict measurements, requiring travelers to not only be tested prior to arrival but to be tested on arrival and again when they stay in government-authorized quarantine facility. Travelers to Mexico can fly without needing to do a test or quarantine, but they must complete a health declaration form prior to arrival.

Canada Considers Ban On Outbound International Travel

Read More: 

Canada Announces 3 Tests And New Hotel Quarantine Rules

Air Canada Suspends 17 More Flight Routes

Canada Will Now Require Negative Test For Land Border Crossing

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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

Glen D Christensen

Saturday 20th of March 2021

There are exceptions to the rule in the United States. If you are an illegal and test positive for COVID you are fine to enter. Border patrol will even give you an airplane ticket to fly to Dallas or where-ever you want to go.


Saturday 20th of February 2021

What does it mean that quarantine is not mandatory for overseas travellers? Is this coming into Canada?


Saturday 20th of February 2021

@Kashlee Kucheran, Wow!!!!

Kashlee Kucheran

Saturday 20th of February 2021

It was a typo ;)


Saturday 20th of February 2021

Very ironic that the new Secretary of State addresses other countries saying America is back, trying to distance itself from previous policy whilst at the same time the Biden administration adopts a more and more isolationist set of policies keeping foreigners out if the USA and disincentivizing US citizens from going anywhere foreign. Interesting to see where this conflict leads.

Stephen White

Monday 22nd of February 2021

@Rich, Right? Biden came into office swearing to undo everything Trump did, except this. Thanks for nothing, Biden. (but don't hold your breath expecting him to credit Trump with a single thing) I grow more and more hopeless about travel every single day.