The U.S. land border is open. Here’s what you need to know

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It’s a day many Canadians have been waiting for: When the clock struck midnight on Monday, the US land border reopened to fully vaccinate Canadian travelers after a 19-month shutdown.

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The United States has closed its shared land border with Canada to non-essential travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

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But on Monday, the US began welcoming recreational travelers by land and passenger ferry – as long as people 18 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Small passengers are exempted from the requirement.

Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to the US and returning home.

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US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says its border crossings will be deployed at pandemic level starting Monday, but warns there may be longer wait times than usual.

“For travelers traveling to the United States, we ask our officers to be patient with us,” said Matthew Davis, CBP’s Executive Director, Acceptance and Passenger Programs. “To help reduce waiting times and long lines, we encourage travelers to have the correct documents ready.”

Travelers entering by land will not have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, but they must be prepared to certify their vaccination status and present their vaccination documents upon request.

“We’re going to ask you if you’ve been fully vaccinated,” said Jeffrey Toth, program manager for CBP’s Buffalo, NY, division. “You may be asked to provide evidence.”

US immigration lawyer Len Saunders questioned why the US has chosen not to automatically check the vaccine documents of all travelers.

“I feel [it’s] Ripe for abuse,” said Saunders, whose office sits close to the Canadian border in Blaine, Wash. “If they need people to be vaccinated, how hard is it to require someone to show their vaccination card?”

businesshala News asked CBP why vaccination screening would only be sporadic. The agency did not directly respond to the question and instead said that the vaccine documents of the passengers would be checked if they were judged for further inspection.

If an official finds that a traveler does not have proof of vaccination, they will be denied entry into the US, the agency said.

look | What to expect when the US-Canada land border reopens:

Relief for Canadian travelers

In March 2020, Canada and the US agreed to close their shared land border to non-essential travel to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

On August 9, Canada reopened its land border to fully vaccinated Americans, while the US remained silent on its border plans. that anger and frustration broke out Among Canadians eager to move to America

So when the US announced last month that it would reopen its land border on November 8, many Canadians immediately began making plans.

Determined to get to Florida as quickly as possible, Snowbird Shelton and Karen Pappel of Brentford, Ont., crossed the US border this morning.

“We’re happy,” Shelton Pappel said from the street on the way to the couple in Fort Myers, Fla., where they have a winter home.

Pappal said a CBP officer checked his vaccination documents, and he only had to wait 20 minutes before crossing the border.

“They had all kinds of lanes open. There was no traffic.”

Jeremy Lessard of Wayland, Ont., waits until the end of the month to cross the border. Her fiancé, Tracy Zwojdak, lives in Buffalo, NY, about 40 kilometers from Lesser’s home. But due to border closures, he hasn’t been able to make the 40-minute drive to Czwojdak’s house for 19 months.

Lesser plans to go to Buffalo on November 25 to celebrate American Thanksgiving with her fiancé.

“It’s that little ray of light in an otherwise dark few years,” he said. “I’m very looking forward to being able to get back to some normalcy.”

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Canadians will still have to take the return test

When returning to Canada, all recreational travelers over the age of four a. must give proof of Negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours their return flight or planned arrival at the land border.

Canada will only accept nuclear tests like PCR test – which can cost hundreds of dollars.

Travelers going to the US for short trips are allowed to have their molecular test done in Canada and then use it upon return – as long as it is less than 72 hours old.

But travelers will still have to pay for the test, and some say the extra fee isn’t worth it.

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Faye Chamberlain lives in Stansted, Ky., which shares a border with Vermont. She says she used to enter the US several times a week in the pre-pandemic times.

Even though the land border has now reopened, Chamberlain says she will not return to the US for short visits.

“I’m definitely not going to cross for the day, not to test, and it will probably cost about $200,” she said.

“To me… it’s almost pointless,” Chamberlain said of the land border reopening.

Canadians who enter Canada without taking an exam can be fined up to $5,000. according to the federal government1,708 passengers received such fine.

Fully Vaccinated Canadians Entering Canada can leave Canadian 14-day quarantine requirement. Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age can also leave quarantine, but they can’t attend School, camp, daycare or crowded setting for 14 days.

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America’s new air travel rules on November 8

Since the start of the pandemic, recreational Canadian travelers have been able to fly to the US, but starting Monday face strict rules.

Canadian air travelers entering the US need to show evidence A negative molecular or antigen test no later than three days prior to the departure of their flight.

Starting Monday, all foreign air travelers, with a few exceptions, must also show proof that they have been fully vaccinated.

Children under the age of 18 will be exempted from the proof-of-vaccination requirement, but those between the ages of two and 17 must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

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