The Biden administration plans to mandate that by January 22, essential non-American travelers entering the U.S. by land must be vaccinated, the Associated Press reports.
The U.S. already requires vaccination for non-essential travelers – people coming to America for vacation, shopping, or other personal affairs. However, throughout the pandemic, essential travelers have not had a vaccine requirement, provided that they follow other pandemic protocols.
According to the U.S. government, the following purposes constitute an “essential” border crossing:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S.
- Cross-border trade
- Medical treatment
- Emergency/public health response
The rule is only expected to apply to non-U.S.-nationals, although unvaccinated American travelers may still face heightened testing requirements when crossing the border.
Organizations whose operations or supply chains rely on cross-border travel should pay particular attention to this announcement and prepare accordingly.
An administration official told AP that this move was coming, but the White House has not yet released a formal announcement or policy. The BNP will share formal details once they are released.
As the U.S. grapples with supply chain disruptions, the BNP is particularly concerned about a policy that would reduce the availability of commercial transportation workers and further disrupt the flow of cross-border commerce.
The BNP continues to advocate for reciprocal border policy that allows for freer flow of traffic between the U.S. and Canada.