Starting Jan. 22, 2022, the Biden administration will require foreign national travelers engaged in essential travel to be fully vaccinated when crossing U.S. land borders or ferry terminals. Essential travel includes travel for work or study in the United States, emergency response, and public health. The new rules apply to foreign nationals; U.S. citizens and permanent residents may still enter the United States regardless of their vaccination status but are subject to additional testing requirements.

The new rules for essential travelers are in line with those that took effect Nov. 8, 2021, when the Biden administration lifted travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated travelers engaged in non-essential (leisure) travel to enter the United States.

While much cross-border traffic was shut down in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential travelers have been able to travel unimpeded via land borders or ferry terminals. Starting Jan. 22, 2022, however, all foreign national travelers crossing U.S. land borders or ferry terminals – traveling for essential and non-essential reasons – must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination. Any exceptions to the vaccination requirement available to travelers at U.S. land borders are expected to be limited, just as exceptions currently available for air travel have been limited. See CDC guidance for details.