U.S. set to begin vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers

January 21, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it will require non-U.S. individuals – including truck drivers – seeking entry into the United States from Canada and Mexico to provide proof of vaccination beginning Saturday, Jan. 22.

“Starting on Jan. 22, the Department of Homeland Security will require that non-U.S. individuals entering the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals along our northern and southern borders be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and be prepared to show related proof of vaccination,” Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a news release. “These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy.”

The vaccine restrictions will now apply to non-U.S. citizens for essential and nonessential reasons.

Non-U.S. individuals traveling to the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals, whether for essential or non-essential reasons, must:

  • Verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Provide proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the CDC website.
  • Present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant document, such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card or Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • Be prepared to present any other relevant documents requested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection  officer during a border inspection.
  • Meet all other existing requirements for entry not related to COVID-19.

For more information on the vaccine restrictions, the Department of Homeland Security created a fact sheet.

The department’s frequently asked questions section says there are some exemptions.

Those exemptions include:

  • Certain categories of individuals on diplomatic or official foreign government travel as specified in the CDC order.
  • Children under 18 years of age.
  • Certain participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials as specified in the CDC order.
  • Individuals with medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as specified in the CDC order.
  • Individuals issued a humanitarian or emergency exception by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age) as specified in the CDC order.
  • Individuals whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Canada mandate

Canada implemented a similar vaccine mandate preventing unvaccinated cross-border truckers from entering the country last week.

Each country’s rule prevents unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign national truckers from crossing the border. And both rules have received criticism that they could create more supply chain disruptions.

Canada’s rule requires American truck drivers to be fully vaccinated before crossing into Canada. It also includes requirements for Canadian truckers.

In order to be considered a fully vaccinated traveler into Canada, a person must have received at least two doses of accepted vaccines or one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days before entry.

Canada’s list of approved vaccines:

  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD
  • Bharat Biotech
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Sinopharm BIBP
  • Sinovac

Canada accepts any valid proof of vaccination, including those issued by Canadian provinces and territories, as well as international proof of vaccination documents. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.