Key Points

  • U.S.-CA and U.S.-MX land border closures are extended due to COVID-19
  • North American borders will remain closed through February 21, 2021
  • Land borders have been closed since March 21, 2020
  • Non-essential travel by ferry and across land borders remains prohibited
  • Crossing land borders is permitted for essential reasons only
  • Land border closures may be extended based on epidemiological conditions


Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the current North American border closure will be extended for another month through February 21, 2021.

What are the Changes?

U.S. – Mexico and U.S. – Canada land border closures, which were scheduled to expire on January 21, 2021, will continue for another 30 days.


North American land borders were first closed on March 21, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The border closure, which was initially scheduled to expire on April 20, 2020, has been extended in monthly increments since then.

What are the Impacts?

The border closures apply to ferry travel and land border crossings. Air travel is not affected.

All non-essential travel is prohibited while the travel ban remains in effect, including travel that is tourism or recreational in nature, such as gambling, sightseeing, and attending cultural events.

Essential travel across North American land borders is still allowed under the restrictions. Essential travel includes US citizens and permanent residents returning home, lawful cross-border trade, work, medical purposes, education, emergency response and public health purposes, travel by members of the US military and their family members returning to the US, and other forms of travel as permitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on a case-by-case basis.

Looking Ahead

North American land border closures may be extended again based on epidemiological conditions. Global Immigration Associates (GIA) has advised that anyone with upcoming travel plans outside the U.S. contact their attorney for further guidance. Updates will be provided as available.

Originally published January 21, 2021

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.