It has recently been announced by President Biden that discussions are underway regarding travel restrictions to the USA, which have now been in place for almost 18 months. Speaking at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Mr Biden said that discussions on when travel restrictions for Europe could be lifted were “in process now”, adding that he expects to be able to answer “within the next several days what is likely to happen”. However, is this the good news that UK residents have been hoping for?

Although President Biden does state these discussions are underway, this is not the first time he has stated this. President Biden referenced these discussions after meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Cornwall, southwest England, before the start of the G7 Summit in early June. Since this date, although there have been changes to the National Interest Exception policy, there have been no changes for non-business travellers. Furthermore, in his speech the President refers to restrictions being lifted in Europe and not the UK.

To further disappoint UK residents, the country has recently been upgraded to “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning, due to the increasing number of COVID rates, whereas many neighbouring European countries including France and Germany are level 3 or level 2, respectively. This is despite the high number of UK vaccinations.

It remains to be seen whether changes will be introduced, by when and what is the criteria for lifting travel restrictions. Despite trade being valued at an estimated $273.0 billion per annum between UK and USA businesses, Senior Executives may have to continue to apply for National Interest Exceptions for entry to the USA, while hopes for summer tourism trips to the USA may be dashed altogether.

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