Fully vaccinated Canadians won't need COVID-19 test to cross U.S. land border: congressman

U.S. Representative Brian Higgins said Saturday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had confirmed to his office that fully vaccinated travellers entering the United States from Canada would not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test, as of Nov. 8.

Rep. Brian Higgins said Saturday that CBP had confirmed the policy with his office

Vehicles line up to cross the U.S.-Canada border in Blaine, Wash., on Aug. 9, after the Canadian government opened the border to vaccinated Americans. (David Ryder/Reuters)

Fully vaccinated travellers entering the United States by land from Canada will not need to present a negative COVID-19 test when the border reopens Nov. 8, according to a U.S. congressman.

Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat from New York state who co-chairs the U.S. Northern Border Caucus, said in a news release on Saturday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had confirmed with his office that a negative test would not be required.

Higgins's office told CBC News that it had received a direct communication from the CBP confirming that there will be no testing requirement for vaccinated travellers at the land border, unlike the policy for air travel. Those travelling to the U.S. by air will still be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test, though the U.S. accepts the cheaper and quicker antigen tests.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a news release on Friday saying that travellers entering the country by land over the northern border should be prepared to provide proof of vaccination and "verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection." The release does not mention the requirement for a negative test.

Rep. Brian Higgins, shown in April 2020 speaking in the U.S. House of Representatives, said in a news release on Saturday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had confirmed with his office that a negative COVID-19 test would not be required when the land border reopens. (House Television/The Associated Press)

"We are pleased to take another step toward easing travel restrictions at our borders in a manner that strengthens our economy and protects the health and safety of the American public," Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in the release.

In an email on Saturday, CBP said it would be releasing further details as early as next Tuesday.

The removal of a testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers at the U.S. land border would continue the long-standing practice of implementing different policies for entry into the United States depending on method of travel. The U.S. land border has been closed since March 2020, while Canadians have been able to fly to the country since that time.

Molecular test still needed to enter Canada

Travellers entering Canada still need to provide proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flights' departure or planned arrival at a land border. Molecular tests include PCR tests, as well as others such as a NAAT test.

Non-Canadians entering Canada will also need to be fully vaccinated, having received at least two doses of a Canadian government-accepted COVID-19 vaccine, a mix of two accepted vaccines or at least one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Non-vaccinated Canadians can enter the country but face additional testing and quarantine requirements. Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to isolate upon entry to Canada.

For trips that last less than 72 hours, Canadians, people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents and protected persons travelling to the U.S. can take their molecular test in Canada before travelling to the U.S. and use it upon return.

With files from The Canadian Press

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