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September 17, 2020

US-Canada Border Closed Until September 21

In March, the United States and Canada agreed to temporarily close their borders to all non-essential travel. The closure has since been extended five times and remains in effect until September 21, with the possibility of yet another extension looming. Although not confirmed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the border remains closed through the end of the year.

The US-Canada land border serves as an economic hub that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) in daily cross-border trade. The joint initiative between the United States and Canada to suspend non-essential travel was implemented solely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Both countries are taking active measures to maintain a strong, secure economic supply chain. 

For example, non-essential travel was defined as any trip for tourism or recreational purposes only, such as sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events. Essential commerce and trade aren’t impacted. This means that anyone authorized to work in the United States can still enter the country, and Canadian citizens can still apply for TN and L-1 work permits with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the border.

In addition, it’s a common misconception that all non-essential travel to the United States is prohibited—fortunately, this is simply not true. The border closure and current travel restrictions only apply at land ports of entry (e.g., individuals driving across the US-Canada border) and don’t apply to air, rail, or sea travel. This means that Canadians seeking entry for non-essential reasons can still book a flight to the United States. 
 

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