As the world slowly adjusts to a new normal, the US land borders with Canada and Mexico has been approaching its deadline for reopening for June 22nd. After two extensions of the border closure, many have been anticipating being able to visit family or go back to their jobs. However as of June 16th, DHS’s Acting Secretary Wolf has extended non-essential travel restrictions with the Canada and Mexico borders for another 30 days set to expire July 21st. Essential trade and travel will continue between the three countries.
Essential travel includes cross border trade (such as commercial vehicles with cargo), anyone crossing the border for medical treatment in the US, emergency response teams traveling the US to contain COVID-19 or other emergencies, and those in the armed forces along with their spouses or children. Moreover, Canadians can still get TN and L-1 NAFTA permits at the United States’ port of entry, and the United States is still allowing Canadians over the border through air travel.
In spite of the extension, Canada has begun to slowly relax local restrictions and has made changes on crossing the border as of last week. While a total reopening would come as a welcome development in our slow return to normalcy, Canada is allowing a select few to cross, albeit with some stipulations.
First, the scope of who can cross the border to Canada is very narrow. So narrow in fact, that only immediate family members including children, spouses, legal guardians, or parents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents will be allowed to cross the border. Be advised that if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you will be turned away regardless. Second, you must quarantine for at least 14 days upon crossing the border. If you happen to break the quarantine while in Canada, you could be subject up to $750,000 in fines and six months in prison.
The border closure has impacted the professional and personal lives of the citizens on all sides. As we are observing the flattening of the curve, we must remain diligent in our efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus. Secretary Wolf’s statement as well as additional resources regarding the above can be found here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/06/16/acting-secretary-wolf-s-statement-extension-non-essential-travel-restrictions-canada
It’s worth noting that entry to Canada for work related to essential services is still possible though Americans may be required to take additional steps prior to entry to be admitted into Canada. Should you have any further questions on the above, please contact our office at 716-881-2600 for assistance.