Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

New vaccine requirements at US borders take effect Jan. 22

Matthew Bowler
Traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the world, is congested even with COVID-19 restrictions, Nov. 3, 2021.

New vaccine requirements are going into effect on Saturday for non-U.S. citizens at the nation’s land border crossings.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be requiring all non-U.S. citizens entering the country to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

This includes all land ports and ferry terminals along both the Canadian and Mexican borders.


RELATED: Long waits, bureaucratic hassles loom as border set to reopen

Wilson Portocarrero with Customs and Border Protection said before there were some non-U.S. citizens that were excluded from having to show vaccine proof.

Most of these cases involved people traveling for essential reasons.

“Before you had truck drivers or individuals who constitute the country like Visa holders that were allowed to come in without being vaccinated,” he said.

New vaccine requirements go into effect for non-US citizens at the nation’s land border crossings

These new changes will include everyone except U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and lawful permanent residents.

DHS said travelers must verbally attest to their COVID-19 status and provide proof of a CDC approved vaccination.

“We’re gonna require you to verbally attest to the vaccination status , but be prepared to present that proof upon request by an officer,” Portocarrero said.

He recommends all travelers have their documents on hand to help decrease border wait times.

RELATED: Holiday season giving new life to long-suffering San Ysidro merchants

Manuela Ochoa Hernandez was standing in line for 30 minutes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry Friday morning.

She was coming back from visiting family in Tijuana.

Although she is a U.S. national and doesn't need to show vaccination proof upon crossing into the U.S., she showed us her vaccine card.

“You never know when you will need it,” she said.

Hernandez said asking for vaccine proof is the right thing to do for everyone’s safety.