TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA.- On Monday, November 8th, travel restrictions at the Mexican border will ease to allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter the United States for such nonessential activities as tourism and family visits.
Residents and businesses on both sides of the border heaved a sigh of relief at the announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last month. The restrictions were first imposed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening comes just as the holiday season ramps up, which could boost shopping — and might portend long waits in line.
For ports of entry that are open 24 hours, such as the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the changes will begin at 12:01 a.m. Monday. For all other California border crossings, the changes will be effective when those specific ports of entry first open at 6 a.m.
However, Customs and Border Protection asks that nonessential travelers please consider taking their nonessential trips across the border at nonpeak times to account for higher traffic volume.
At the California-Mexico border, that would mean after 9 a.m. on weekdays, according to a CBP spokeswoman.
U.S. authorities have warned that there will very likely be longer-than-normal wait times at land ports of entry as the border reopens for nonessential travel for the first time in about 19 months. U.S. border officials are asking cross-border travelers to have their travel documents and proof of COVID-19 vaccines readily available to expedite the process.
Travelers should plan on long lines at U.S. land border crossings on Monday, Nov. 8.
For cross-border traveling purposes, the vaccine has to be cleared by U.S. regulators or for emergency use by the World Health Organization.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the accepted COVID-19 vaccines are a single dose of Janssen/J&J OR a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
Those listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, which will also be accepted are Janssen/J&J, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, BIBP/Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
Some Mexican nationals have been vaccinated with drugs that do not have the WHO authorization, like Sputnik V (developed in Russia) or the CanSino vaccine (from China). Those vaccines are not currently listed on the CDC’s approved COVID-19 vaccines for cross-border travel verification purposes.
Source: Los Angeles Times