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Restrictions of Non-Essential Cross-Border Traffic from Mexico and Canada Extended Through February 21st

19 Jan

Beginning on March 20, 2020, the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments announced their collaboration in restricting non-essential travel across their shared land borders. These restrictions were subsequently extended multiple times, most recently on December 22, 2020. On January 19, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced yet another extension of these restrictions for Canada and Mexico.     

Per the most recently announced extension, the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico land borders will continue to be closed to non-essential travel through February 21, 2021. The restriction expressly exempts air, freight rail, or sea travel (but not ferry services); however, some U.S. CBP officers continue to question the “essential” nature of travelers through pre-flight inspection stations in Canadian international airports.     

The published definition of “non-essential travel” remains unchanged and includes traffic for tourism or recreational purposes, so travel for work and the movement of goods and services should continue to remain exempt from these restrictions as that would not be non-essential travel. However, in some cases, CBP appears to be evaluating whether individuals applying for admission (entry) to the United States for work purposes would be essential workers, and some officers are not allowing entry to those foreign nationals who they consider to be non-essential workers.     

Foster will continue to monitor travel restrictions and other actions related to COVID-19 and will provide additional updates on the immigration-related impacts of COVID-19 via our firm’s website at