“The [United States’] new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8,” Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary, wrote on Twitter Friday. “This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”
Munoz did not elaborate on travel restrictions for children who are not eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Curbs on non-essential travelers at land borders have been in place since March 2020 to address the pandemic and were first imposed on air travelers in China—where the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, is believed to have originated—in early 2020 and has since been extended to more than 30 other countries.
On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that his agency, which oversees the Transportation Security Administration, would lift restrictions on land travel and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated individuals, starting in early November. Unvaccinated visitors will still be barred from entering the United States from Canada or Mexico at land or sea borders.
Mayorkas, whose agency has received widespread criticism amid an unprecedented surge of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, said travelers from those two countries will be mandated to show appropriate paperwork providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Two months ago, the Canadian government started allowing fully vaccinated American visitors to enter for non-essential travel.
Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland stated Thursday that Canadians returning from the United States still have to show a PCR test. She didn’t say whether the government is considering lifting that requirement anytime in the near future.
“Our government has been throughout the pandemic thoughtful about working with our public health authorities, working with scientists, working with doctors and our measures have been flexible and have adapted to changing circumstances,” Freeland told reporters in Washington, D.C. “That, of course, will continue to be the case.”
Then, on Sept. 20, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zeints said that the U.S. would lift restrictions on air travelers who are fully vaccinated from 33 countries, including Brazil, China, India, and many European countries. Previous U.S. restrictions had barred non-U.S. citizens who were in those countries within the past 14 days.
The Trump administration first implemented travel restrictions on China, most European countries, and other nations in early 2020, coming several days after the first COVID-19 cases were officially confirmed in the United States.