On March 24, 2020, Office of the Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security published in the Federal Register a document that announces the decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry and ferries along the US-Mexico border and a separate document temporarily limiting the travel of individuals from Canada into the United States at land ports of entry and ferries along the US-Canada border to “essential travel” as further defined in the document. The restrictions went into effect at 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 20, 2020 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 20, 2020.
Given the definition of “essential travel,” this temporary alteration in land ports of entry operations should not interrupt legitimate trade between the two nations or disrupt critical supply chains that ensure food, fuel, medicine, and other critical materials reach individuals on both sides of the border.
The term “essential travel” includes, but is not limited to—
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
- Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the US and Canada or the US and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
- 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 supporting the movement of cargo between the US and Canada or the US and Mexico);
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
- Members of the US Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the US Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
The following travel does not fall within the definition of “essential travel” for purposes of this Notification—
- Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).
At this time, this Notification does not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel between the US and Mexico or US and Canada, but does apply to passenger rail and ferry travel between the US and Mexico and the US and Canada.