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The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) recently announced the decision to continue to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada border as well as to continue to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Mexico border. Such travel will continue to be limited to “essential travel,” as defined below. The travel restrictions went into effect at 12 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on May 21, 2020 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 22, 2020.

On March 24, 2020, DHS published notices of the Secretary’s decision to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Canada and Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada and United States-Mexico borders to “essential travel.” DHS later published notices continuing such limitations on travel until 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 20, 2020.

According to DHS, “essential travel” includes, but is not limited to:

• 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 Canada and 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 Canada and 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.

DHS’ notices provide that individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events) does not fall within the definition of “essential travel.”

DHS further provides that the notifications do not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel between the United States and Canada or between the United States and Mexico, but does apply to passenger rail, passenger ferry travel, and pleasure boat travel between the United States and Canada and between the United States and Mexico.

Companies and individuals with ongoing or prospective immigration processes and their employees, colleagues or family members who may be affected by these notifications should consult with counsel on individual situations. We remain available to answer your questions.

If you have any questions, please contact Gunster attorneys Sarah Tobocman, Mariana Ribeiro, Beatriz Osorio, and Maria Romero.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.


About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 12 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With nearly 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at www.gunster.com.

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