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

25 Sep

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 August 14, 2020. On September 23, 2020, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency 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 borders will continue to be closed to non-essential travel through October 21, 2020. The restriction expressly exempts air, freight rail, or sea travel (but not ferry services); however, some U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers are also questioning 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. However, in some cases, CBP appears to be evaluating individuals applying for admission for work purposes based on whether the worker would be considered an essential worker, and some officers are not admitting those 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