Breakthrough: US to reopen Canada and Mexico land borders in November

By Luke Barras-hill |

Land border duty free stores will look forward to higher traffic volumes – and sales – from November. Source: Shutterstock/ Daniel Avram.

Fully vaccinated travellers from Canada and Mexico will be able to cross the US land border from November, the White House has announced.  

The news represents a huge boost for the duty free border shops business by permitting visitors to the US through land and ferry ports of entry for non-essential reasons, bringing to an end a travel ban that has been in place since March 2020.

In a Twitter post, US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said: “We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

Canada partially reopened its land border to fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents on 9 August, but the move was not mirrored by the US and last month it extended restrictions on its land borders.

Reacting to the development, Canada’s Frontier Duty Free Association – which represents the interests of independently owned land border duty free stores – praised the ‘very welcome news’ after releasing results of a survey yesterday highlighting businesses’ continued malaise.

Source: Twitter/Alejandro Mayorkas.

“Finally, FDFA would like to thanks Congressman Brian Higgins, U.S. Representative for New York’s 26th congressional district, for his tireless effort to raise this issue with the White House,” it added.

FDFA continues to press Canada’s federal government in two key areas: eliminating ‘expensive’ PCR tests for fully vaccinated US visitors crossing the land border – an approach it says ‘makes no scientific sense’ – and pressing Parliament to implement the Bridge Programme aimed at the hardest-hit businesses, including those within travel and tourism.

Last month, the DF&TR industry received encouraging news as the Biden administration announced it would relax curbs on foreign air travel in November for fully vaccinated visitors from 33 countries including Brazil, China, Great Britain and most of Europe.

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