Essential Travel

What is “Essential Travel”?

The Secretary of Homeland Security made the decision to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada border to essential travel. US and Canadian officials mutually determined that non-essential travel between the US and Canada poses additional risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19. Essential travel includes (but is not limited to):

  • U.S. 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 Canada 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 Canada);
  • 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; and
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.

Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events) will not fall within the definition of “essential travel.” These restrictions will be temporary and remain in effect until April 20, 2020. The CBP Commissioner may, on an individualized basis and for humanitarian reasons or for other purposes in the national interest, allow individuals not engaged in “essential travel” to enter the United States.

This news regarding essential travel between the US and Canada comes after the US banned travel from Europe.