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U.S. border reopens to fully

vaccinated Canadians in November

   Emerson MB border
The Canada/U.S. border crossing at Emerson, MB. (Wikipedia photo)

Fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed to enter the United States at land and ferry border crossings starting in early November.

On October 12, U.S. officials announced a plan to reopen the land borders with Canada and Mexico, which have been closed for non-essential travel since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadians have been allowed to travel by air to the U.S. throughout the pandemic and trade and business travel at land borders has not been restricted.

The land border reopening will be rolled out in two phases. The first phase, starting in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians to enter the U.S. at land and ferry entry points for non-essential reasons. This includes visiting friends or family, or tourism.

The second phase in early January 2022 will require all inbound foreign national travellers entering the U.S. by land or ferry for essential or non-essential reasons to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have proof of vaccination.

Senior U.S. officials said several details are still being worked out, including what type of documentation will be accepted to prove a traveller’s vaccination status.

The American government is also waiting for guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concerning travellers who received mixed doses of COVID-19 vaccines and those received the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not approved south of the border. The U.S. has also not approved mixing vaccine doses for its own residents.

Nevertheless, one official has said that the CDC plans to recommend accepting air travellers who have received any vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, which includes AstraZeneca. A similar rule is expected at land crossings.

Canadians crossing the border will be questioned about their vaccination status by U.S. border agents. Proof of vaccination will only be required if a traveller is sent for secondary screening. If a traveller is fully vaccinated, a negative COVID-19 test will not be required.

However, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will require all returning travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken 14 to 180 days before their departure – even those who are fully vaccinated.

Various clinics in Winnipeg charge about $250 per person for those tests.