DHS Requires Non-U.S. Individuals Entering the United States by Land or Ferry from Canada or Mexico to be Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

On January 22, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began requiring all non-U.S. individuals entering the United States by land or ferry across the U.S./Mexico or U.S./Canada borders to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new guidance applies to those non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for both essential and non-essential reasons but will not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.

Any non-U.S. individual entering the United States through land point of entries or ferry must provide proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination and present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document. These documents can include a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or an Enhanced Tribal Card. Additionally, travelers must verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status and be prepared to present any further relevant documentation that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may request at the time of inspection. There is no COVID-19 testing requirement for land border or ferry travel.

The following groups of non-U.S. individuals are exempt from the land border vaccination requirement:

  • Children under the age of 18;
  • Individuals with medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine;
  • Individuals issued a humanitarian or emergency exception by the Secretary of Homeland Security;
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security;
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under the age of 18);
  • Certain participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials; and
  • Certain categories of individuals on diplomatic or official foreign government travel.

Those who cannot present proof of vaccination will not be admitted to the United States but will be allowed to withdraw their application for entry. These restrictions will remain in place until April 21, 2022, but it is anticipated that they will be extended.

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