Biden Administration Optimistic for May Travel Despite U.S.-Canada Border Remaining Closed

"There is going to be a sea change in mid-May when vaccines are more widely available to everyone," a senior administration official said this week.

The Biden administration is hopeful that international border restrictions could be relaxed by mid-May, even as the land border closure on non-essential travel between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was extended once again on Thursday.

"There is going to be a sea change in mid-May when vaccines are more widely available to everyone," a senior administration official told CNBC this week about lifting restrictions on travel from U.K., Europe, and Brazil, as well as land borders restrictions with Canada and Mexico.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, didn't seem quite as optimistic on Monday, telling reporters restrictions would be lifted "eventually."

"We're all eager to be able to travel again," Trudeau said, according to CTV News. "But I think we're all going to wait patiently until such time as the health situation allows us to loosen border restrictions internationally. That'll be eventually, but not for today."

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed the border between our neighbors to the north and south would remain closed to non-essential travel until at least April 21. The border has been closed for more than a year to all but essential services like trade since March 2020 and extended on a monthly basis since.

US-Canada border
Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"Informed by science and public health guidance, we will work with our counterparts to identify an approach to easing restrictions when conditions permit and with the protection of our citizens from COVID-19 at the forefront of our minds," the agency tweeted.

The extension comes a month after Canada started requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test for land crossings, a second test upon arrival, a 14 day quarantine, and then another test. Canada also requires anyone flying into the country to test negative three days before their flight, get tested again upon arrival, and then quarantine at a hotel for up to three days.

In January, Biden extended a ban on non-American citizens coming from the UK, many European countries, and Brazil, as well as blocked most travel from South Africa amid the spread of new variants of the virus.

While several countries have started waving restrictions for vaccinated travelers, the virus is far from over in Europe. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he doesn't expect international travel to resume until at least mid-May, and France imposed a month-long lockdown on Friday on several parts of the country, including Paris, to combat rising cases.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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