U.S.-Canada land border opening: The rules you need to know before crossing for the first time in over a year

·3-min read

Fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to cross the land and ferry border between the U.S. and Canada more freely in November, but the jury is still out about Canadians who received mixed doses.

No specific date has been announced for when these new rules come into effect.

"Great news that President Biden has heeded our call and is re-opening the Canadian border to vaccinated travellers," a statement from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reads.

"Families, communities, and businesses along the northern border will reconnect. And this will boost so many local economies."

What do I need to have with me to enter the U.S. by land or ferry?

On Tuesday night, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, announced that individuals who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can enter the U.S. through the Canadian and Mexican land border, or by ferry.

"In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings," the statement from Secretary Mayorkas reads. 

Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security

Travellers will have to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination verification will be part of the standard U.S. Customs and Border Protection process. Border officials will have the ability to send travellers to a secondary screening to have these documents checked, at the discretion of the officer.

Individuals who do not have proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will not be allowed to travel for non-essential purposes.

There is no requirement to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the U.S.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated have been allowed back to Canada since August, after waiting at least 14 days after they finished a full course of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

What vaccines are accepted by U.S. officials?

This announcement comes after U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided that Canadians who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can visit the U.S. when new travel rules come into effect next month.

Rules have not been released for travellers who received mixed doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

What do I need to do to re-enter Canada after visiting the U.S.?

The Canadian government has not announced any changes to the requirement for international travellers to show proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test to enter Canada.

Travellers arriving by car, bus, boat, ferry or train from the U.S. must take a molecular COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entry into Canada.

Acceptable molecular tests are polymerase chain reaction (PCR), nucleic acid test (NAT) or nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs), or reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.

Testing and proof of vaccination information can be uploaded onto the ArriveCAN system.

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