The US will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the country moves to require all international visitors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Senior administration officials previewed the new policy late Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to speak ahead of the formal announcement.
Both Mexico and Canada have pressed the US for months to ease restrictions on travel that have separated families and curtailed leisure trips since the onset of the pandemic.
Both policies will take effect in early November, the officials said. They did not specify a particular date.
The new rules only apply to legal entry to the US Officials cautioned that those seeking to enter illegally will still be subject to expulsion under so-called Title 42 authority, first invoked by former President Donald Trump, that has drawn criticism from immigration advocates for swiftly removing migrants before they can seek asylum. One of the officials said the US was continuing the policy because cramped conditions in border patrol facilities pose a COVID-19 threat.
According to the officials, travelers entering the US by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard US Customs and Border Protection admissions process. At officers' discretion, travelers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process.