Non-US travellers need to be fully vaccinated to enter at land ports and ferry terminals

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the US government has introduced new restrictions to protect public health while facilitating cross-border travel and trade.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on
Image: Guillermo Arias/Getty Images

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that from January 22, all non-US travellers entering the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals at the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders will need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The new restrictions will apply to both travellers for essential and non-essential reasons.

"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," DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said.

Upon entry to the US via land ports or ferry terminals, non-US individuals will need to not only verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status, but also provide proof of a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-approved COVID-19 vaccination and present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document, such as a valid passport.

COVID-19 testing will not be required for entry via a land port of entry or ferry terminal, however.

These changes were first announced by DHS in October. The mandate also aligns with public health orders for incoming non-US international air travellers, who are also required to be fully vaccinated as well as show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.

At the time of writing, the World Health Organisation reported that there have been more than 67,000,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US and 849,200 deaths.  

Introducing such proof-of-vaccination mandates follow in the footsteps of other nations, such as Australia, which has made its position around the need to show proof-of-vaccination upon entry into the country clear. Australia recently drew global attention following the saga involving the world's number one men's tennis player Novak Djokovic and his COVID-19 vaccination status. 

Editorial standards