WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will lift travel restrictions at the land borders with Canada and Mexico starting in November for fully vaccinated travelers, reopening the door of the United States to tourists and separated families that had been sealed from the country during the pandemic.
Those who provide proof of vaccination and are looking to visit families or friends or shop in the United States will be allowed to enter next month, senior administration officials said, just weeks after President Biden announced he would lift a similar sweeping ban on foreigners looking to travel to the country from overseas.
The lifting of the 19-month ban at the land borders will not only reconnect the United States to its neighbors, but is one of the last steps to opening the country’s borders to vaccinated travelers throughout the world. After more than a year of cutting off the country from international tourism, the administration has now turned the country into a welcome destination for the vaccinated — while making clear that all foreigners who choose to not get a shot will face stringent restrictions to enter the United States.
Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be barred from crossing the borders with Mexico or Canada.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, commended the Biden administration’s decision to reopen the Canadian and Mexican borders and welcome back those deemed “nonessential travelers,” such as relatives looking to visit family or those looking to shop in the United States.
“Finally, the New York-Canadian border will be open again to vaccinated travelers from both nations,” said Ms. Gillibrand, adding that the loss of Canadian business cost the U.S. economy $1.5 billion each month. “This reopening will be welcome news to countless businesses, medical providers, families, and loved ones that depend on travel across the northern border.”
The travel restrictions, implemented in March 2020 as coronavirus spread throughout the United States, have not applied to commercial traffic, returning U.S. citizens or students. But as vaccine distributions have increased throughout North America, political leaders representing communities along the U.S. borders have pleaded with the White House for months to lift the restrictions to provide a reprieve for business owners.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said in a statement that the administration would reopen the border in November.
“Kudos to president Biden for doing the right thing and increasing cross border travel between Canada and the U.S.,” Mr. Schumer said.
Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.