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U.S. will lift border travel restrictions on Nov. 8 for fully vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 travel restrictions at the border  will be lifted on Nov. 8, for fully vaccinated travelers, the White House  announced Friday.

Since March 2020, the United States has enforced strict travel limits at its land borders with Mexico and Canada, only permitting so-called “essential travel,” and barring crossings for tourism, recreation, shopping or visiting loved ones. That’s taken a major toll on  border communities.

Now, travelers who can show they are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine will be able to cross starting on Nov. 8. However, many people in Mexico have received vaccines that have not received authorization from the CDC or the World Health Organization, including Russia's Sputnik V and CanSino from China. Mexico's president has said he will push the WHO to authorize those vaccines quickly.

Those traveling for essential reasons — including truck drivers, people crossing to go to school or work or for medical reasons — will have until January to become fully vaccinated.

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.