US-Canada Temporary Resticting Non-Essential Travel Across Its Borders
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US-Canada Joint Initiative: Temporary Restriction of Travelers Crossing the US-Canada Land Border for Non-Essential Purposes

The US-Canada land border serves as an economic engine that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) dollars in trade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In each of our countries, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.

“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

The United States and Canada recognize it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Americans and Canadians also cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted.

This decision will be implemented on March 21, 2020, at which time the US and Canada will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the US-Canada land border. The measure will be in place for 30 days, at which point it will be reviewed by both parties.
3 Replies
Is visiting family in Canada considered non-essential travel?
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DHS guidance says critical activities are food, fuel, and life-saving medicine.  They also define "essential workers" here. Transport Canada's definitions are here.  I don't see where visiting friends and relatives is "essential" on either side of the border.
Hi Russell,

It appears that visiting immediate and extended family members in Canada is listed under the exemptions to border restrictions, but you will have a few hoops to jump through. One of them being that you'll need to demonstrate that you plan on entering Canada for at least 15 days, and in the case of extended family you'll need a declaration from the Canadian citizen you plan on visiting and be authorized by "Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada" . You can view the restrictions and requirements set forth by the Canadians here