A view of the border crossing station in Houlton, Maine. Credit: Alexander MacDougall / Houlton Pioneer Times

The United States has officially rolled out a plan to allow foreign visitors fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to fly into the country, but land borders with Canada and Mexico remain closed until at least Oct. 21.  

Fully vaccinated visitors from foreign countries such as those in the European Union and the United Kingdom will be allowed to fly to the United States starting in November, according to Jeffrey Zeints, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, who spoke Monday during a Zoom meeting.

But as reported by the Associated Press, Zeints also indicated that there will be no immediate changes regarding the current land border situation, in which the United States continues to bar non-essential travel from Canada or Mexico. The announcement means that Canadians living near border regions of the United States, such as along the Maine border in New Brunswick and Quebec, are still prohibited from taking road trips or daily visits to the states.

The U.S. had closed its land borders with Canada and Mexico in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Air travel had also been restricted from most countries for non-essential travel.

Canada has since reopened its land border with the United States, and European countries had also begun allowing Americans to visit again. But American travelers must be fully vaccinated, and produce a negative COVID-19 test done within 72 hours of traveling to Canada.

Those rules, combined with the still present virus, have meant that the number of Americans traveling to Canada is still far lower compared to before the pandemic.

Citing ongoing concerns about the pandemic, the U.S. has kept its borders closed to tourists and other non-essential travel for 18 months now.

The full details of the plan to allow vaccinated foreigners will be released at a later date.