Living, Mexico Essentials, Transportation

Mexico and US Impose Land-Border Crossing Restrictions

The Mexico-US land border is now said to be "restricted" and only "essential" crossings are allowed. This article lists the definitions of essential and non-essential crossings

US Mexico Land Border on Map

Mexico and the United States announced travel restrictions across the US-Mexico land border —the busiest land border in the world— due to the COVID-19 event. The restrictions came into force as of midnight on March 20, 2020.

The Mexico-US land border has not been “closed” but travel across it is now said to be “restricted” with “non-essential” crossings prohibited.

According to a legal document published as a Notice on the US Federal Register, “essential travel” (permitted crossings) are defined as:

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the
    United States);
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work);
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or
    other emergencies);
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico);
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S.
  • Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.

According to the Notice, the following activities do not fall under the definition of “essential travel” and are prohibited:

  • Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

The document goes on to state that:

“At this time, this Notification does not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel between the United States and Mexico, but does apply to passenger rail and ferry travel between the United States and Mexico. These restrictions are temporary in nature and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 20, 2020. This Notification may be amended or rescinded prior to that time, based on circumstances associated with the specific threat.”

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  1. JOHN J DUPREE says

    I’m with newly attained Residente Permanente status. When wrapping up processing of my visa, I inquired about the requirement for a form documenting my exit from Mexico to present upon reentry and how that is achieved driving into USA. The INM agent grimmaced and said not to worry about it, only when walking through to USA I should get the form with no comment about my driving back into Mexico with no form. This discussion occurred prior to the COVID -19 pandemic. I understand that Mexico will let me return but will I be required to have official documentation of my prior exit now? Must I park on the Mexico side and risk the exposure walking out and returning in the ssme manner?

  2. Russ says

    Although it is recommended that you stay where you are, people are still crossing the border. As it relates to Canadians there has been a great exodus to the north and none are being denied entry into the USA if they are travelling home (provided they have the right to be in the USA)

  3. Therese Cappadonia says

    I cannot find information regarding returning to México from USA. We have our 3 year temporals. If we should need to go NOB during this time, will we be allowed to return on those temporals?

  4. John Griffiths says

    It sure would be nice to see at least one news agency US or Canadian let the loads of Canadians that winter here in Mexico know if they are able to cross the US/MEX border on their way back to Canada. Even the Canadian Embassy her does not say anything, not that I can find. All talk is about flying home.


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