On May 19, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that the US-Canada and US-Mexico land border restrictions (in place since March 21st due to the COVID-19 outbreak) will be further extended through June 22, 2020. Only essential travel across the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders is permitted. “Essential travel” includes travel by US citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to work in the United States (i.e., those in TN or L-1 visa statuses), among others. However, these travelers should expect delays at the border due to additional screening measures in place and should be prepared to explain the “essential” nature of their trip. Foreign nationals who attempt to travel via the Visa Waiver Program (i.e., ESTA) and other business travelers are also likely to face increased scrutiny by US Border and Customs Patrol (US CBP) to determine whether travel is “essential.” “Non-essential travel” includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature, and these individuals remain barred from entering the U.S. due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Click here to see the original April 23, 2020, immigration alert.