US to lift travel restrictions on Canada and Mexico borders next month

The move will allow families separated for 19 months to finally reunite.

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Cars line up at the San Ysidro crossing port to cross from Tijuana in Mexico to San Diego.

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The US government will next month lift COVID-19 travel restrictions along its land borders with Mexico and Canada for fully vaccinated travelers, allowing non-essential travel for the first time since lockdowns began in March 2020.

Travelers who can provide proof of vaccination and are looking to visit families or friends or shop in the US will be allowed to enter the US in early November, senior Biden administration officials told reporters during a call Tuesday. The move mirrors one made by the Biden administration a few weeks ago that allows passengers who have been vaccinated to travel to the US from the EU and UK.

"This is an important step that will further enhance the safety of international travel and the safety of Americans at home," senior administration officials said in the call, according to several news accounts of the call. "These new vaccination requirements deploy the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Travelers without proof of vaccination will be refused entry if their travel is deemed to be "non-essential."

The US will require all travelers, including those engaged in essential travel, to show proof of vaccination before entering a land border crossing beginning in January, the officials said.

"This phased approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers and others to get vaccinated, enabling a smooth transition to this new system," an administration official said.

The news comes 19 months after then-President Donald Trump issued a blanket ban on travel to the US from the EU and UK. Under the current policy, only US citizens, their immediate families, green card holders and those with national interest exemptions can travel to the US if they have been in the UK or EU in the previous two weeks.

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