The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a document on March 20, 2020 regarding the Temporary Travel Restrictions between the U.S. and Canada at Land Borders due to the spread of COVID-19. Due to DHS’s heightened concern regarding the risk of the continued transmission of COVID-19 between the U.S. and Canada and the “threat to human life” and the “national interest”, a temporary travel restriction will be imposed for individuals traveling from Canada to the U.S. at land borders for 30 days, effective 11:59 p.m. EST on March 20, 2020 until April 20, 2020.
Accordingly, U.S. and Canadian officially mutually agreed that travel through land ports of entry and ferry terminals (not applicable to air, passenger rail, or ferry travel) along the U.S. / Canada border will be limited to “essential travel”, for entry into the U.S., including:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
- Individuals travelling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
- Individuals travelling to attend educational institutions (study visas);
- Individuals travelling to work (work visas) in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Canada in furtherance of such work);
- Individuals travelling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the U.S. to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the U.S. and Canada);
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
Those individuals traveling for tourism, such as sightseeing, recreation, gambling or attending cultural events will be considered “non-essential” travel and will be denied land border entry; however, Canadians working and attending school in the U.S. will be permitted to enter the U.S. Guidelines will be prepared and provided to CBP personnel.