US Extends COVID Vaccine Requirements for Noncitizens at Land Borders

By David Shepardson

April 22, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Biden administration on Thursday said it was extending a requirement that non-U.S. citizens crossing land or ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The requirements were first adopted in November as part of reopening the United States to land crossings by foreign tourists after the borders had been closed to most visitors since March 2020. Unlike international air travelers headed to the United States, people traveling at land or ferry crossings do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Foreign air travelers must present proof of vaccination to airlines before traveling to the United States as well as a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day. Foreign nationals crossing U.S. land border crossings must be prepared to provide proof of vaccination.

DHS said the decision came after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which says vaccines remain the most effective public health measure to protect people from severe illness or death from COVID-19.

"The Biden-Harris administration is committed to protecting public health while facilitating lawful trade and travel, which is essential to our economic security," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

Major airlines, businesses and travel groups want the White House to end COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated international passengers traveling to the United States.

They argue that the testing requirements are unnecessary and deter Americans from traveling abroad because of the cost of testing and the risk that they could be stranded abroad if they test positive.

"People simply are unwilling to take the chance that they will be unable to return to the U.S.," the groups wrote the White House in February.

Britain, France, Canada and many other countries have dropped pre-departure testing requirements for fully vaccinated visitors.

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