You are currently viewing What it was like to enter the United States by land yesterday

I entered the US 8 times in 7 months between November 2021 and April 2022, but yesterday was the 1st time I redid it since. So I wanted to give you an update, even though it was an unsurprising experience (since absolutely nothing has changed in the US pandemic rules for a long time — it should definitely change “in the coming weeks” though).

There are plenty of great destinations that you can drive to, but my girlfriend and I entered the US specifically to fly out of Boston airport (BOS) tonight (and to take the opportunity to do a roadtrip and to revisit Boston, a city we love).

There are many good reasons to fly out of an American airport these days, but most importantly it’s to be able to fly mask-free, for those who are not at risk and who prefer to have the choice to wear it or not.

There’s a reason why almost all European countries have also removed their mask requirement for planes several months ago (it’s not just a case of “evil Americans”): this requirement is anti-science and makes no sense.

It’s worth repeating since so many people are so misinformed: it’s just completely irrational to require a mask in the place that factually has the best air quality (an airplane cabin) when there is no longer a mask requirement in any other indoor location (places where the science clearly says the risk is higher than in a packed airplane cabin — contrary to what those suffering from Covidanxiety and/or those who really don’t know the facts about air quality at all seem to think).

But anyway, here’s what it was like to enter the US by land.


My experience entering the United States

We entered yesterday afternoon through the Derby Line border crossing (Québec Autoroute 55), where there is sadly no express lane for savvy travelers who have the NEXUS card (there isn’t one everywhere by land, unlike by air). But we waited less than 5 minutes.

The wait at Derby Line (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)


And going to the US by land is very very simple.

Here is a complete list of the pandemic-related requirements I was asked about:

  • (blank)

In other words: nothing at all.

Exactly like the only other time I entered by land in April, despite the official US entry rules.

No, the US is NOT one of the 80+ countries that have finally gotten over this and eliminated ALL travel restrictions, as recommended by the World Health Organization experts over 7 months ago now.

But unsurprisingly, the customs officer didn’t even ask about our vaccination status at all. For almost all travelers entering by land, the customs officers simply don’t check vaccination (although sometimes they verbally ask to confirm that you are vaccinated without asking for proof, which is what I experienced the 1st time).

It’s why for months now, many of the Canadian travelers who are not vaccinated have been entering the United States by land without any problem. It’s quite well known, even though it’s not officially allowed under the (current) US entry rules. With the news that came out recently, one that will lead to the US vaccine requirement being lifted, it’s even more likely that the customs agents won’t ask anything now.

By air, the airlines do apply the rules though (all 7 times I went and based on all the testimonials). But even that can obviously be circumvented by entering by land and then flying out of a US airport.


The current US entry rules

As a reminder, in terms of pandemic rules for travel to the United States, it’s very simple:

  • No requirements for domestic flights (like every country in the world)
  • No test requirement for anyone (by land or by air)
  • No vaccination requirement for those under 18 (by land or by air)
  • Vaccination requirement for those 18 and over (not often enforced by land)

You can read all the details in our guide that is always up to date (and will be kept up to date).


The upcoming change to US entry rules

The US vaccine requirement will almost certainly be lifted “in the coming weeks.”

Everyone always wants shorter posts, so I’ll do a separate one about that. It will be published later this week.

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Entering the US by land still gives the impression that the US has eliminated all pandemic-related travel rules, even though this is not yet officially the case. That will almost certainly change soon though.

What would you like to know about entry into the United States by land? Tell us in the comments below.


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Featured image: Approaching Derby Line border crossing (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Seida

    My husband and I tried to cross into the US by car on Sept. 5 at Del Bonita, AB. First question, where are you going, 2nd question, What are you doing there and 3rd question, are you vaccinated. We said no. He flagged us as vaccinated. We tried crossing south of Fernie the same day and got threatened with a 10 year suspension for entering the US. Both border guards were very abrupt and mean I would say. So for the time being we are not going to try crossing again. We haven’t seen our daughter and family in 2 years and we were all very upset and frustrated. I say it is the luck of the draw of who you get. We did not get the nice guys. I hope you are right that the restrictions will be lifted soon because we want to see our daughter. Let me know as soon as that happens.

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Unfortunately, of course they will deny your entry if you tell them you are not vaccinated: they require vaccination to enter. The thing is, not all customs agents ask. But most importantly, those who ask don’t often ask for proof.
      So what many are doing is telling the agents they are vaccinated, and they get in since they aren’t asked for proof. Not everyone is comfortable lying to a customs agent, but that’s literally the only chance you have: if you tell them you’re not vaccinated, they most definitely will not let you in.
      But yeah, now it’s definitely best to wait for the rules to change since you told them. Hopefully it’ll be soon :S

  2. Alana

    Do we need to be vaccinated in order to fly from Canada to Maui Hawaii?

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