Canada-U.S. land border travel rules have changed, and here’s what you need to cross

If you’re planning a trip across the border in the near future, things might once again be a little different. Indeed, restrictions at the Canada-US border have been updated and almost everyone must now be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross.

On Saturday, January 22, the United States implemented a new requirement for all non-Americans entering the country through its land borders or ferry ports.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now requires all non-U.S. individuals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes Canadians crossing the border for essential and non-essential purposes.

This means that driving in the US has just become a little more complicated, as you will now need to prove your vaccination status before entering (or prove a valid exemption, if you have one).

There are “limited exceptions” to this requirement.

According to DHS, those crossing the land border from Canada should be prepared to verbally confirm their vaccination status, as well as provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 with a CDC-approved vaccine.

Those making the trip across the country should also be prepared to present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document. For many people, this would be a valid passport or a Trusted Traveler program card.

That’s not all, travellers. DHS advises that anyone entering the United States by land must be “prepared to present any other relevant documentation requested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer upon inspection at the frontier”.

All this applies whatever the reason for your trip.


The COVID-19 test is not mandatory to enter the country via a land port or ferry terminal, although it is required if you are flying.

DHS also says that as travel between the two countries increases, border wait times are likely to increase.

“Travelers should expect longer than normal wait times and longer lines at U.S. land border crossings when planning their trip and are reminded to exercise patience,” a notice reads. from DHS.

Drivers and passengers are requested to prepare their documents in advance, so that they are ready for border officials when they arrive.

Since January 15, fewer people are also eligible for vaccination exemptions at Canada’s borders. This means that it is more difficult for unvaccinated foreign nationals to enter the country.

Anyone preparing to enter Canada should be prepared to disclose their vaccination status and take a COVID-19 test prior to entry.

As of January 23, Canada’s global travel advisory remains in effect.

Before you go, check out our Guide to Responsible Travel to be informed, be safe, be smart, and most importantly, be respectful on your adventure.