Non-Essential Travel Limited Across Land Borders
This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
On September 18, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an extension until October 21, 2020, of measures to limit all non-essential travel across the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico. DHS said in a statement, “The U.S., Mexican and Canadian governments are taking necessary action to fight against this pandemic together.”
A DHS statement said that nonessential travel includes travel related to tourism or recreation. Essential travel includes travel to preserve supply chains between the countries. “These supply chains ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border,” DHS said. Americans, Canadians and Mexicans also cross the land borders every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be affected, DHS said. Also, U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and “certain other travelers” are exempt.
DHS said the measures, first announced in March 2020, were part of a collaborative “North American” approach intended to limit the further spread of coronavirus. They were extended multiple times throughout the spring and summer.