City Officials Prepare for Border to Reopen for Non-Essential Travel

Non-Essential Travelers Required to Provide Proof of Vaccination, Verbally Attest to Travel Reason and Vaccination Status

EL PASO, Texas — The City of El Paso is prepared for the Texas-Mexico border to reopen, Monday, November 8, 2021, for non-essential travelers for the first time since March 2020. The Texas-Mexico border was closed for 20 months to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but now with the abundance of the COVID-19 vaccine and a reduction of positive cases, the White House moved away from the country-by-country restrictions.

Individuals crossing the border must adhere to the following requirements when crossing the border into the US at all ports of entry:

  • Present proof of COVID-19 vaccination as outlined on the CDC website; and,
  • Verbally attest to their non-essential travel and COVID-19 vaccination status.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has determined that for purposes of travel to the United States, vaccines accepted will include current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved or authorized vaccines and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed vaccines. To date, there are currently seven vaccines that meet the CDC’s requirements, including:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Oxford–AstraZeneca
  • Sinopharm BIBP
  • Sinovac
  • Covishield

Individuals 18 years of age and those engaged in essential travel will not be required to be vaccinated at this time; however, beginning in January 2022, all travelers—whether for essential or non-essential reasons—must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination.

“In anticipation of the reopening of the border we have consistently been in communication with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be fully prepared for the increase in crossings. We are also in close coordination with our Police Department to ensure that we have enhanced traffic control plans to better manage congestion near the ports of entry,” said David Coronado, Managing Director of International Bridges and Economic Development. “We strive to keep our community safe and will ensure to have extra CBP officers so that the agency can have additional lanes open during peak and help stabilize wait times as we enter into this new phased reopening.” For more COVID-19 information to include testing, vaccination, data and prevention, visit

For the City of El Paso Press release, please visit:

City Officials Prepare for Border to Reopen for Non-Essential Travel

Update to Travel Restrictions

DHS to Require Non-U.S. Individual Travelers Entering the United States at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals to be Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

New Requirements at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals Will Protect Public Health While Facilitating Cross-Border Trade and Travel

WASHINGTON – Beginning on January 22, 2022, DHS will require non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationwide. These new restrictions will apply to non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for both essential and non-essential reasons. They will not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.

“Starting on January 22, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security will require that non-U.S. individuals entering the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals along our Northern and Southern borders be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and be prepared to show related proof of vaccination,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy.”

These changes – which were first announced in October 2021 and made in consultation with the White House and several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – will align public health measures that govern land travel with those that govern incoming international air travel. Non-U.S. individuals traveling to the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals, whether for essential or non-essential reasons, must:

  • verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status;
  • provide proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the CDC website;
  • present a valid Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, such as a valid passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card; and,
  • be prepared to present any other relevant documents requested by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer during a border inspection.

COVID-19 testing is not required for entry via a land port of entry or ferry terminal.

Although these new vaccination requirements do not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals, all travelers are reminded to bring a WHTI-compliant document when re-entering the United States. Non-U.S. individuals attempting to enter the United States irregularly, through any illegal means or without proper documentation, will continue to be expelled pursuant to CDC’s Title 42 public health order.

To help reduce wait times, travelers can take advantage of facial biometrics and CBP One™, which is a single portal for CBP mobile applications and services.

To learn more about the updated requirements for travelers, review the DHS fact sheet.

Texas Department of Public Safety
The Borderplex Alliance
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Juarez Municipality
Asociación de Maquiladoras
El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization
U.S. House of Representatives
Texas Department of Transportation
City of El Paso
El Paso International Bridges
FIDE Puentes
Texas A&M Transportation Institute