Border Updates

COVID-19: Updates On Crossing the Border

March 24th, 2020

After it was announced that the USA and Mexico would restrict non-essential travel between the two countries, many people were left wondering what exactly that meant. With the news changing by the hour, it can be hard to keep up with the most current information. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding crossing the USA - Mexico border.

What is "essential travel"?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, essential travel through land ports of entry and ferry terminals includes, but is not limited to:

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico);
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
What is "non-essential travel"?

The Department of Homeland Security defines non-essential travel as individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

How long will the restrictions on border travel last?

As of right now, the restrictions are expected to last until April 20th, 2020 11:59 EDT. The restrictions may be adjusted prior to that time as determined necessary.

I am an American citizen returning from Mexico. Will I be abe to cross back into the United States?

Yes, American citizens returning to the US would be considered essential travel according to the Department of Homeland Security.

I plan to travel to Mexico. What can I expect when crossing the border southbound?

According to the Instituto Nacional de Migración, people entering Mexico may be subject to:

  • A medical revision in which a laser will be used to measure your temperature
  • An interview regarding your current state of health and the countries to which you have recently traveled

Federal Register
Department of Homeland Security
Gobierno de México