The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that beginning tomorrow, Jan. 22, all non-U.S. individuals entering the country at land ports of entry or ferry terminals will need to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Key Points:

  • The new vaccination requirement will apply to both “essential” and “nonessential” travelers entering the country from Canada or Mexico.
  • The requirement will not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
  • The requirement will also not apply to non-U.S. children under the age of 18 and a limited number of others, including those with medical contraindications or individuals issued a humanitarian or emergency exception by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The full list of exceptions is available here.

Background: In November,  the U.S. reopened its land borders for “nonessential” travel for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19. At the time, DHS said it would extend the vaccination requirement to “essential” travel in January; the agency has now confirmed Jan. 22 as the effective date. Information about the vaccines that are accepted, the type of proof required and what it means to be “fully vaccinated” is available on the DHS and CDC websites.

BAL Analysis: Non-U.S. individuals planning to enter or re-enter the U.S. by land or ferry should be sure they are familiar with the vaccination rules and are prepared to provide the required proof. BAL continues to urge foreign nationals to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel. For more information on the immigration outlook in 2022, sign up for BAL’s Jan. 27 webinar here.

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

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