DHS eases restrictions for US port and ferry entry to vaccinated travelers

Oct 30, 2021

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Starting Nov. 8, the United States will allow non-citizen travelers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation to enter the U.S. via land ports of entry (POE) and ferry terminals. The news came in an announcement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Oct. 29.

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When arriving at U.S. land POE or ferry terminals, non-citizens will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination per the Centers for Disease Control website and verbally verify their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection.

“We are pleased to take another step toward easing travel restrictions at our borders in a manner that strengthens our economy and protects the health and safety of the American public,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas in the release. “We continue working closely with our international partners to sustainably implement new rules for resuming travel.”

In March 2020, the U.S. implemented temporary restrictions limiting travel at land POE along the northern and southern borders of the country to essential travel. The latter category included lawful trade, emergency response, and public health purposes.

Rules remain in place for those engaged in essential travel. Specifically, they do not have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at this time. However, those rules will change as of January 2022. That’s when all inbound foreign national travelers seeking to enter the United States via land POEs or ferry terminals – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination.

The DHS reminds U.S. citizens to bring a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) document, such as a valid U.S. passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Enhanced Tribal Card, when re-entering the country and be prepared to present a WHTI-compliant document if requested by a CBP Officer during a border inspection.

Related: Renewing your Global Entry? CBP is allowing select travelers to schedule remote interviews

Additionally, be prepared for travel volumes and wait times to increase in coming months. To help reduce wait times and long lines, travelers can take advantage of innovative technology, such as facial biometrics and the CBP One™ mobile application, which serves as a single portal for individuals to access CBP mobile applications and services.

Related: 10 new countries receive highest travel warnings from US government

To learn more about the updated travel requirements visit the DHS fact sheet for travelers entering by port or ferry terminals.

Featured image by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

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