March 24, 2020

Homeland Security Limits Land Travel from Canada and Mexico

2 min

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Secretary of Homeland Security began to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Canada and Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry. Travel is now limited to "essential travel." The temporary restrictions are in effect until April 20, 2020.

The term "essential travel" includes:

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Canada/Mexico);
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. armed forces, returning to the United States; and
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.

The following travel does not fall within the definition of "essential travel":

  • Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

At this time, these travel restrictions do not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel, but they do apply to passenger rail and ferry travel between the United States and Canada/Mexico.