Starting Saturday, non-US citizens need to be fully vaccinated before entering the country by land or ferry, even if they are traveling for “essential” purposes.
The change was first announced in October and more closely aligns with air travel vaccination requirements to enter the United States. Travelers visiting the country could previously cross land ports or ferry terminals without proof of vaccination for essential reasons such as work and trade.
“These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a Thursday statement.
Unvaccinated US citizens, lawful permanent residents and US nationals will still be able to enter the country via ferry or land port.
► CDC warns US travelers to avoid countries:Do people care?
I’m entering the US by land or ferry. What do I need to bring?
Non-US citizens entering the country via land port or ferry terminal must:
- Verbally attest their COVID-19 vaccination status. “Full vaccination” is considered two weeks after a final dose in a single- or two-dose vaccination series, a full series in a clinical trial or two doses of any “mix-and-match” series.
- Provide proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination.
- Present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant document such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card or Enhanced Tribal Card.
- Be prepared to present any other documents a US Customs and Border Protection officer may request.
- Meet all other entry requirements not related to COVID-19.
Travelers entering the US by land or ferry will not need to take a coronavirus test.
The DHS said it will expel travelers attempting to enter the United States through any illegal means or without proper documentation.
I’m a US citizen/permanent resident. Does anything change for me?
The new entry requirements do not apply to US citizens, lawful permanent residents or US nationals. However, the DHS says these travelers should remember to bring a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant document (such as a passport) when traveling.
► From vaccines to testing:What travelers need to know about the new US travel system
What are the rules if I fly into the US as a non-citizen?
While there are limited exceptions, most travelers who are not US citizens, permanent residents or US immigrants must be fully vaccinated to enter the country by plane.
Travelers must be able to show proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 90 days or show a negative coronavirus test taken no more than one day before travel. Children under 2 years old do not need to test.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.