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Congressman Higgins Confirms U.S. to Lift COVID Vaccine Mandate at US-Canada Border on May 11

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) has received confirmation from the White House that on May 11th the United States will lift its requirement for Canadians crossing into the United States to be vaccinated against COVID. 

Higgins said, “For over three years now there have been barriers to cross-border travel. It has kept families apart and impeded economic recovery. While long overdue, this last lifting of pandemic restrictions is certainly welcome news and critically important as we seek opportunities to encourage a robust cross-border exchange that delivers shared prosperity.”

The President previously indicated plans to lift COVID emergency orders on May 11, 2023, but it was unclear up until this point how this would impact the lingering vaccine mandate on Canadians crossing land borders into the United States. In recent weeks Higgins’ office has been reaching out to the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Homeland Security, and the White House for guidance.

In March 2020, the border between the United States and Canada effectively closed to non-essential travel due to the pandemic. Families were separated and border communities were economically devastated.

Over the last three years, the U.S. and Canadian governments changed border policies, beginning to remove restrictions, in a very slow and disjointed way. Canada ultimately lifted its vaccine requirement on October 1, 2022. The United States continued to require proof of COVID vaccination for Canadians crossing the border into the U.S.

In several actions including letters, meetings, an amendment, and bipartisan legislation that would end the vaccination requirement for Canadians, Higgins has advocated strongly for a return to pre-pandemic border management, including lifting the U.S. proof of vaccination requirement on Canadians.

The United States & Canada share the world’s longest international border, 5,525 miles with 120 land ports of entry, including four in Western New York. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Canada is the largest international inbound market to the U.S., with nearly 21 million visitors spending $20.8 billion in 2019, before the pandemic.

Congressman Higgins, whose Western New York district borders Southern Ontario, serves as co-chair of the Canada – U.S. Interparliamentary Group and the bipartisan Northern Border Caucus.