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Fact Sheet: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals

Release Date: 
October 29, 2021

Updated Date: November 23, 2021

As of Monday, November 8, 2021, new requirements apply to travelers entering the United States at land ports of entry (POEs) and ferry terminals.

For the first time since March 2020, travelers who are not U.S. persons (i.e., U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents) will be permitted to enter the United States through a land POE or ferry terminal for a non-essential reason (e.g., tourism), provided they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and can present proof of COVID-19 vaccination status, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Unvaccinated travelers may continue to enter the United States for essential travel, including lawful trade, emergency response, and public health purposes.

What To Expect

As travel begins to resume, travel volumes and wait times are expected to increase. The resources below are intended to prepare travelers and equip them with the information they need to improve their cross-border travel experience. Travelers should plan for longer than normal wait times and long lines at U.S. land border crossings when planning their trip and are reminded to exercise patience.

To help reduce wait times and long lines, travelers can take advantage of innovative technology, such as facial biometrics and the CBP OneTM mobile application, which serves as a single portal for individuals to access CBP mobile applications and services.

Arrival at Land Port of Entry or Ferry Terminal

Effective November 8, 2021, travelers who are non-U.S. persons can seek to enter the United States for non-essential travel via land POEs and ferry terminals if they are fully vaccinated and have appropriate documentation.

This shift eases long-standing restrictions on non-essential travel, consistent with public health guidance. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will soon share additional information about the steps eligible travelers will need to take to enter the United States under the new rules.

When arriving at a U.S. land POE or ferry terminal, travelers who are non-U.S. persons should be prepared to:

  • present proof of COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the CDC website; and,
  • verbally attest to their non-essential travel and COVID-19 vaccination status.

Individuals engaged in essential travel will not be required to be vaccinated at this time. Starting in January 2022, however, all inbound non-U.S. persons crossing U.S. land POEs or ferry terminals – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination.

Click here to see answers to frequently asked questions


In March 2020, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the U.S. government issued restrictions on travel into the United States. CBP implemented temporary restrictions limiting entry at the U.S. northern and southern land borders to persons engaged in essential travel, including lawful trade, emergency response, and public health purposes. The White House suspended entry to foreign nationals who had recently been in certain countries. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, various restrictions and requirements for foreign travel remained in place.

In October 2021, the White House announced that, starting November 8, the U.S. government would move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt travel policies that rely primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of travel.

CDC Resources

Additional Information

Last Published Date: November 23, 2021
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