In November 2021 the US/Mexico border re-opened for fully vaccinated non-essential travelers. According to this page there is no testing requirement if crossing into the US by land.

However, the "fully vaccinated" requirement is only for adults 18 years and older. Children and teens under 18 don't currently have to be vaccinated if crossing the border with a fully vaccinated adult.

Which raises the question, do these children/teens need to provide a negative test at the land port-of-entry to be admitted into the US, since they aren't vaccinated?

*Note that this is asking specifically about non-essential travelers - ie not US citizens, residents, workers etc. who have a different set of requirements that nobody in my family qualify for.

1 Answer 1



When entering the US by land from Mexico, those under 18 years of age are exempt from testing and vaccination requirements.

The whole shebang:

This Travel.SE Community Wiki gathers the latest information about entry into the United States. After reciting that vaccination is required for entry, the page summarizes exemptions from those current vaccination requirements as follows:

The entry vaccine requirement does not apply to US citizens, US nationals, or lawful permanent residents (green card holders). The entry vaccine requirement does not apply to immigrant visa holders entering the US by air; however, a separate requirement as part of the existing medical exam requirement, means that new immigrants must also receive the COVID vaccine prior to receiving such a visa.

The following exceptions are permitted:

  • air and sea crew members adhering to industry standards
  • diplomats and foreign officials
  • children under 18
  • those who can't receive vaccines due to medical reasons
  • participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • those in countries where COVID-19 vaccine availability is limited, seeking to enter the US on a nonimmigrant visa other than B-1/B-2 visitor visa those granted exceptions by officials US military members and their immediate family

Foreigners who are not fully vaccinated but allowed to enter the US due to the above exceptions must agree to comply with certain health precautions, and (with some exceptions) must agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the US within 60 days of entry.

The Wiki cites several Department of Homeland Security webpages as authority for the Wiki's assertions. The easiest to follow is this one, which contains the following:

Updated Date: January 20, 2022

Beginning on January 22, 2022, DHS will require non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and > U.S.-Canada borders to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationwide.

These new restrictions will apply to non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for both essential and non-essential reasons. They will not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.


Below is more information about what to know before you go, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about cross- border travel.


Q: What are the requirements to enter the United States for children under the age of 18 who can't be vaccinated?

A: Children under 18 years of age will be excepted from the vaccination requirement at land and ferry POEs.


Neither the DHS statement (partially quoted above) nor the FAQ mention pre-entry testing. While one can't prove a negative, it's reasonable to conclude that "no mention" here means "no requirement."

Finally, remember that rules and regulations change frequently. This is true right now, but might not be correct next week...or even tomorrow.

  • "Neither the DHS statement (partially quoted above) nor the FAQ mention pre-entry testing" - that's precisely why I asked, nothing I've found online has said anything about testing for unvaccinated children (required or not required), so hopefully you're correct that if it's unsaid then it's unrequired.
    – Midavalo
    Jan 24, 2022 at 17:26
  • @Midavalo I understand your concern. I read all three of the DHS docs (cited in the WIki) that apply to land crossings from Mexico > US. None referred to a testing requirement. Jan 24, 2022 at 17:52

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