As we confirmed in our last advisory, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that non-citizen travellers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation will be permitted to enter the United States via land ports of entry (POE) and ferry terminals starting on November 8, 2021. This shift eases long-standing restrictions on non-essential travel, consistent with public health guidance.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has now released further details related to the November 8th land border reopening for non-essential travel.
Starting November 8, when arriving at a U.S. land POE or ferry terminal, non-citizen travellers should be prepared to (1) provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website; and (2) verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection. U.S. CBP will accept digital and paper copies of provincial and territorial vaccination receipts.
In accordance with CDC guidelines, international travellers will be considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
- 2 weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccine; or
- 2 weeks (14 days) after you received 2 doses of any “mix-and-match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart.
Accepted vaccines include: Janssen/J&J, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, BIBP/Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Covaxin.
It has been verified that fully vaccinated travellers entering the United States at a land crossing will not require a negative COVID-19 test. Travellers entering the United States by air are still required to present a negative COVID-19 test. Detailed information on this requirement can be found here, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.
All non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. immigrants traveling to the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All air passengers to the United States will also be required to provide contact information to airlines before boarding flights to the United States. This strengthens a travel process already in place to rapidly identify and contact people in the U.S. who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, such as COVID-19.
As travel begins to resume, travel volumes and wait times are expected to increase. Travellers should plan for longer than normal wait times and long lines at U.S. land border crossings when planning their trip. Border wait time estimates from U.S. CBP can be accessed here, https://bwt.cbp.gov.
After arriving in the United States, the CDC recommends that travellers should get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after travel. COVID-19 testing locations in the United States can be accessed here, https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/community-based-testing-sites/index.html.
The CSA is actively lobbying the Government of Canada to eliminate the pre-arrival testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning to Canada. At this time, both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada are required to provide a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their departure flight or arrival at the border if they are entering Canada at a land crossing.
In May, the COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel recommended that the federal government eliminate pre-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada as travellers who have been vaccinated pose a lower risk of importation and transmission of SARS-CoV-2. We believe that the Government of Canada should adopt this recommendation from their own advisory panel immediately.
For a complete list of the current requirements for re-entry back into Canada, please see the following website, https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid. These requirements are subject to change and it is recommended that members review this site prior to their return to Canada.