The United States land borders with Canada and Mexico have been largely closed to any nonessential crossings since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 19-month freeze on travel is now due to end in November for fully vaccinated foreign nationals, according to a release from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that said the U.S. “will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for nonessential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings.”

The new rules are similar but not identical to planned requirements announced in September for international air travelers. The White House announced on Sept. 20 that the United States, in early November, would lift travel restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries, including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe, who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It also said it would extend the vaccine requirements to foreign air travelers from all other countries.

Unvaccinated visitors will still be barred from entering the United States from Canada or Mexico at land borders, the announcement said. The precise date in early November when the restrictions will be lifted on both land and air travel will be announced soon, Mayorkas said.

In early January, the United States will begin to require essential visitors, like truck drivers or healthcare workers, to be vaccinated to cross land borders, Homeland Security officials said.

Canada began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors to cross its border on Aug. 9. Mexico has not put in place any COVID-19 entry procedures for travelers.

The U.S. land border restrictions have not barred U.S. citizens from returning home.

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