The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend the bans on nonessential land travel across the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico, but is preparing to lift them next month for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Federal Register notices published today.

The bans had been set to expire at the end of the day today. The White House announced last week that the U.S. would lift the current international air and land travel restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals on Nov. 8.

Key Points:

  • The Federal Register notices state that land border restrictions will be extended until 11:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 21, 2022; however, the notices also states that DHS “intends to lift these limitations for individuals who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19” in alignment with anticipated changes to entry rules for air travelers next month.
  • According to previous White House and DHS announcements, fully vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico will be able to enter the U.S. for “nonessential” purposes beginning Nov. 8. Individuals who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be afforded entry only if their travel is “essential.”
  • The list of individuals engaging in “essential travel” includes:
    • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) returning to the U.S.
    • Individuals traveling for work in the U.S. (e.g., agricultural workers), engaging in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers transporting goods), or those traveling to attend school, receive medical treatment, for public health purposes, or a limited number of other reasons.
  • The bans do not apply to air or sea travel, but do apply to passenger rail travel, passenger ferry travel and boat travel for pleasure.

Additional Information: The U.S.’s bans on nonessential travel across land borders have been in place since March 2020 and extended for 30-day periods since then. The most recent Federal Register notices are available here and here.

BAL Analysis: While the U.S. will allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter starting Nov. 8, the current restrictions will remain in place until then. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning any international travel.

BAL attorneys will be speaking at a webinar on “Lifting the Travel Bans, Holiday Travel & Planning: What to Expect in the Coming Months” on Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. CDT. Find details and register here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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