In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, multiple travel restrictions are in effect for travel in and out of the United States and its neighboring countries.
Travel Between the United States and Mexico
Travel by Land: As of 11:59 p.m. on March 20, 2020, all US ports of entry on the southern border will be closed to all but “essential travel,” according to a draft Federal Register Notice by US Customs and Border Protection that is scheduled to be published on March 24.
This restriction is expected to remain in effect until April 20, 2020, and includes pedestrian, car, bus, ferry, and passenger rail travel, but not freight rail. Although tourism is specifically excluded, the exception for “essential travel” is broad and currently allows the following:
- US citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., farming and other agricultural workers who must travel between the United States and Mexico)
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
- Individuals traveling to receive medical treatment in the United States
- Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States 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 moving cargo between the United States and Mexico)
Travel by Air: At this time, neither Mexico nor the United States has restricted air travel between the two countries, other than restrictions for those who show symptoms of COVID-19.
Travel by Sea: At this time, neither Mexico nor the United States has restricted sea travel between the two countries, other than restrictions for those who show symptoms of COVID-19.
Travel Between the United States and Canada
Travel by Land: On March 20, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security officially announced that the United States and Canada were mutually closing land ports of entry on their shared border to “non‑essential traffic,” including tourism and other recreational travel. The restrictions will be effective on March 21 and will be mutually reassessed by the two countries in 30 days.
“Supply chain” traffic and individual travel for “essential work” or other “urgent reasons” will continue to be allowed between the two countries during the restricted period, although these terms are not operationally defined in the announcement. The Canada Border Services Agency has specified that “travel for the purpose of obtaining immigration services is non-essential.” This presumably includes travel by foreign nationals who live in the United States and wish to renew their work visas at a US consular post in Canada, although those posts are currently closed.
Travel by Air:
- Canada will not admit any air passenger who has been outside of Canada or the United States in the past 14 days, with the exception of Canadian citizens and permanent residents and their immediate family members, as well as diplomats and airline crew.
- The United States will not admit an air traveler from Canada who has been in or transited through one of the 30 countries listed below within the preceding 14 days, with the exception of US citizens and permanent residents and their spouses or close relatives, as well as diplomats and airline crew:
|Austria||Belgium||China (People’s Republic)|
|Sweden||Switzerland||United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside Europe)|
Travel by Sea: At this time, neither Canada nor the United States has restricted sea travel between the two countries, other than restrictions for those who show symptoms of COVID-19.
If you have questions concerning travel to the US or other countries during the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact one of our attorneys.