Key Points

  • North American borders will remain closed until March 21, 2021 due to COVID-19
  • U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders have been closed since March 2020
  • Travel restrictions apply to boat, train, and passenger ferry travel
  • Restrictions do not apply to sea and air travel
  • Only essential travel is permitted while the border closures remain in effect


Due to COVID-19, U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border closures will be extended through March 21, 2021. The border closures were set to expire on February 21, 2021.

What are the Changes?

North American land borders will be closed for another month to mitigate the risk of disease transmission.

Who is Affected?

The travel restrictions apply to individuals traveling by boat, passenger ferry, or train. The restrictions do not apply to air travel.

What Should Travelers Know?

Although the border closures have been extended, the provisions of the previous border closures remain the same. Travel is still restricted to essential travel only, which includes U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning home, individuals traveling to the U.S. for employment, individuals in lawful cross-border trade, and people traveling for education, public health reasons, medical treatment, or several other reasons.

Looking Ahead

March 2021 marks the one-year mark for North American border closures, which may continue to be extended based on epidemiological conditions. Global Immigration Associates (GIA) has advised that anyone with upcoming travel plans outside the U.S. contact their attorney for further guidance. Further updates will be provided as they become available.

Originally published 23 February 2021

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.