Covid-19: when will the US borders open?

Joe Biden
Joe Biden did not mention tourism during his speech on July 4, 2021. (Photo Gage Skidmore)

Covid-19 at the heart of Joe Biden’s speech

  • The suspense continues regarding the opening of the American frontier. While several European newspapers, including the Financial Times, believed that the issue of borders would be raised during Joe Biden’s July 4 speech, the expectation was again dashed.
  • In front of a thousand essential workers and military personnel invited to the White House to celebrate the American national holiday, the American president was content to recall the past year. “This year, the 4th of July is a day that marks a special celebration as we emerge from darkness, from a year of pandemic and isolation, from a year of grief, fear and painful loss,” said Joe Biden, “Remember from where we were a year ago.”
  • The American president also expressed his concern about the variants. “Don’t get me wrong: Covid-19 has not been defeated,” he said, “we all know that variants have emerged, including the Delta variant, but the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated.”
  • Not a word, however, about tourism or about opening borders for tourists from Europe.

Who can travel to the US now?

  • In the absence of a new directive given by Joe Biden, we therefore remain with the situation that has prevailed since March 13, 2020. The rule is as follows: anyone who has spent the last 14 days in Europe is prohibited from entering American territory, with very specific exceptions. If you live in Europe and want to vacation in New York or elsewhere in the US this summer, this is not possible as it stands.
  • You can find the full list of exceptions in my article on list of people who can travel to the US today.

When will US borders open?

  • Now that the long-awaited 4th of July speech has passed, what can we expect next? It is very difficult to attempt a prediction, as previous expectations have failed. For the record, the European press expected a response from Joe Biden during the G7 on 11 June, then during the summit with the European Union on 15 June, then until the end of June, according to French President Emmanuel Macron, then on 4 July. … Not to mention the European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who guaranteed that the European Union would be able to impose reciprocity, with American tourists having the right to come to Europe this summer.
  • What’s the next deadline? US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo discussed a new date at a June 24 seminar hosted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “We expect that after Labor Day we will see a good increase in business travel and international travel,” she said. Labor Day, Labor Day, falls on September 6 in the United States. This little sentence, however, lacks precision: Is Gina Raimondo talking about tourism in Europe? Is this a reopening date or will tourism resume sooner to allow this increase to be seen? The blur is complete.
  • There remains one last element that has been in the background in recent weeks, but which could darken the future of European tourists. Before the American president left for his trip to Europe in June, a White House spokesman had announced the creation of working groups to study the conditions for the resumption of tourist travel. These groups include experts from the US and EU, UK, Canada and Mexico. However, for now, no news of his work. And an official US source had hammered home that the US had no intention of changing the current rules quickly… The rise of new variants, in Europe but also in the US, still risks slowing things down even further.
  • A US administration official, interviewed on CNN yesterday, also insisted the goal was to reopen international tourism when it is possible to do so safely. There are also no details about the date.

Stay informed and prepare your trip

  • As since the beginning of this crisis, of course we will continue to follow the news from the White House. Do not hesitate to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest information on the situation, as well as tourist news in New York and news on the website. It’s free ! Enter your email address in the form below and click “Subscribe”.
  • And because we strongly believe in the opening of the American border by the end of 2021, know that you can already sign up for our guided tours of New York in French, in particular our unforgettable visit to Santa Claus in Brooklyn. Reservations are obviously modifiable and cancelable.
  • You can also fine-tune your next trip to New York by ordering our Destination New York guide, our 256-page paper guide to everything you need to know and see in New York. Everything you need to prepare your stay down to the smallest detail.
new york destination guide
The guide offers official New York City subway and bus maps. (Photo Didier Forray)
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A journalist specializing in tourism, I founded the website CNEWYORK in 1999. But my passion for travel obviously doesn’t stop in New York. And that’s how I created a website about the American West, London, Rome and France.

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