As a result of the rapid global spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Jan. 20, 2022, amended vaccination requirements for all “non-U.S. individuals” entering the United States by land or ferry.
What does this mean for F and J students and their dependents?
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination had not previously been required of nonimmigrant student visa holders and their dependents traveling by land or ferry through the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexican borders under the “essential travel” designation.
However, the announcement made Jan. 20 mandates that all non-U.S. individual land and ferry travelers to the U.S. must now present proof of full vaccination in order to be admitted, starting Jan. 22, 2022.
Therefore, if you are an F or J visa holder traveling to the U.S. by land or ferry, starting Jan. 22, 2022, you must meet the following requirements to be admitted:
- Provide verbal attestation of COVID-19 vaccination status
- Provide proof of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccine administered in accordance with CDC guidelines
- Present valid travel documents, such as an unexpired passport and visa, if applicable
NB: Minors under the age of 18 who are unable to receive a vaccine in their home country are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
Is a negative COVID-19 test required for admission to the U.S. by land or ferry?
Unlike travel by air, written proof of COVID-19 testing is still not required for land or ferry travel regardless of citizenship. However, we expect this will change in the future.
If it does, an announcement will be posted to the DHS Fact Sheet: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals and Frequently Asked Questions pages.
Also, look for a new blog post on this site if the policy now in place is amended yet again.
We’re here to help!
Texas Global’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at The University of Texas at Austin is committed to providing international students and the wider international community with timely, accurate and helpful information and insights on the latest regulatory changes and related news and developments.
If you have any questions about the content in this post, we encourage you to leave a comment below for a member of the ISSS advising team to answer.