Restrictions on non-essential US border travel

Non-essential travel between the US and Canada and between the US and Mexico respectively has been limited.

The restrictions on shared border crossings were announced on March 18 with Canada and March 20 for Mexico.

The regulation notice between the United States and Mexico has included the following non-exhaustive exemptions to the restrictions:

  • US 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 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
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations

The restrictions took effect on March 20, 2020 and will remain in place for 30 days when the position will be revisited.

The US has also formally barred entry to migrants seeking to enter the US without proper travel documentation for both the northern and southern border.

Migrants who are apprehended at the border will either be quickly removed or repatriated. It is not clear if there will be exceptions.

The US Administration was keen to emphasize that both agreements were by mutual consent and that trade and economic activities between the countries would not be affected.

Travel advice

NNU Immigration is actively monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and coronavirus-related issues on US immigration policy and applications.

As the situation continues to develop on a daily basis, please contact our US immigration specialists for the latest advice for your specific circumstances.

Last updated: March 24, 2020