travel to NYc

ALL you need to know 

UPDATED 1st may 2021

What can visitors expect?

New York's busy streets fell quiet at the start of the pandemic and recovery has been slow in the year since, although many areas, including Brooklyn, are busy again. 

For social gatherings in public spaces, capacity limits for indoor events have increased to 100 people and outdoor event capacity is now at 200 people.

Increased capacity is being phased in for places such as movie theaters, museums, zoos, and arenas, and event venues.

Indoor dining expanded to 50% capacity on March 19. Bars and restaurants must close by midnight.

Museums are open but have started mandating timed reservations, in a bid to comply with lower capacity rules. MoMA, the Museum of Natural History, and the Whitney are all operating a policy of pre-bought tickets only. Visitors should expect temperature checks on arrival.

Nonessential retail is open. Masks are mandatory in public, however, and social distancing guidelines must be adhered to at all times.



People coming from the following countries can't enter the United States, and so even in New York. There are some exceptions.

People from all the other countries can enter the United States, and so even in New York, but they have to follow certain rules. Find below.

The travel guidelines require all New Yorkers, as well as those visiting from out-of-state or another country, to take personal responsibility for compliance in the best interest of public health and safety.

Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 10, 2021. Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.

All travelers must complete the Traveler Health Form unless the traveler had left New York for less than 24 hours or is coming to New York from a contiguous state. Contiguous states to New York are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

Irrespective of quarantine, all travelers must:

  • Monitor symptoms daily from the day of arrival in New York through day 14;

  • Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through Day 14 (even if fully vaccinated); and

  • Must immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.

  • Fully vaccinated is defined as being 2 or more weeks after the final dose (e.g., first for Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, second for Pfizer and Moderna) of the vaccine approved by the FDA or authorized by the FDA for emergency use. Vaccines that are not authorized by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use or approved by the FDA  do not satisfy this definition.

  • Recently recovered is defined as 1) recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 by meeting the criteria for discontinuation of isolation, 2) within the 3-month period between the date of arrival in New York and either the initial onset of symptoms related to the laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection or, if asymptomatic during the illness, the date of the laboratory-confirmed test, and 3) asymptomatic after travel or new exposure.


New York City is composed of five boroughs.  While Manhattan and Staten Island are islands, Brooklyn and Queens are geographically part of Long Island, and the Bronx is attached to the US mainland. The islands are linked by bridges, tunnels, and ferries. Check here for NYC maps. 

Manhattan is roughly 13.4 miles long and about 2.3 miles wide at its widest. Except at its northern and southern tips, the borough’s avenues run roughly north and south, and streets run east and west. One-way thoroughfares are common, with traffic moving east on even-numbered streets and west on odd-numbered streets. Fifth Avenue divides the island into east and west sides (for example, locations on 57th Street west of Fifth Avenue are designated “W. 57th St.,” and east of Fifth Avenue, they’re “E. 57th St.”). As you move farther east or west from Fifth Avenue, street addresses increase, usually in increments of 100 from one block to the next. For north-south avenues, 20 blocks equal a mile, and the street numbers increase as you go uptown. Blocks can be a useful measure of distance, but keep in mind your direction: walking uptown from 1st Street to 6th Street is about a quarter of a mile, but walking the same number of blocks crosstown, from First Avenue to Sixth Avenue, is approximately a mile.

Time Zone

New York City is on Eastern Standard Time (Greenwich mean time minus four hours during daylight saving time, from about mid-March into early November, and minus five hours the rest of the year).

International Visitors and Arrivals from

Abroad Visas
Visitors to New York City from outside the United States may need a visa to enter the country. For details, visit the US Department of State’s website

Trusted Traveler Programs
Fly through the lines at JFK, LGA, and Newark. The Department of Homeland Security has introduced several programs that can help expedite security and customs screenings when traveling to and from the US, including New York City. The programs, customized based on travel needs and designed to enhance the passenger experience, are available for US citizens and residents as well as those from certain foreign countries. Visit to learn more about the options and their benefits, and see a chart that compares the features of each.

US Customs and Border Protection
Recent improvements by US Customs and Border Protection have helped decrease wait times to enter the United States for both visitors and citizens coming from abroad. Among these are the Trusted Traveler Programs listed above, as well as self-service kiosks located in the international arrivals terminals at area airports and an app for smartphones and tablets. Discover what to expect when arriving from an international destination by watching “You Have Arrived,” a short instructional video; to learn more about the self-service kiosks and app, watch “Global Entry – The Quickest Way Through the Airport!”

Tours and Visitor Passes

New York CityPASS

New York City Explorer Pass

The New York Pass

The New York Sightseeing Pass

NYC Tours
Seeing the City by double-decker bus, City-Bike, boat, or helicopter—or just being led on foot by a knowledgeable guide—can make for a memorable trip, and there are convenient, affordable ways to visit all of NYC’s major attractions. 

Seasonal Events and Attractions

There’s guaranteed to be something fun happening during your visit.  Overview of the holiday season in the City also provides essential information as well as details about how locals celebrate.

Local Laws

If you’re headed out for a night on the town, you should know that the drinking age in NYC—and throughout the United States—is 21, and smoking is banned in public places throughout the City, including bars, restaurants, subways and taxis, and public parks and beaches. Cigar smoking is permitted at cigar bars. In NYC, only those who are 21 or older can purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. Under current law, marijuana remains illegal in the City (and state), though a government-backed push toward its legalization may change things as early as 2019.

Useful Phone Numbers

Here are some important phone numbers to keep handy during your NYC visit. Here are some important phone numbers to keep handy during your NYC visit.
• Emergencies (police, fire or ambulance): 911
• NYC government agencies and any questions or requests about City services (nonemergency): 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (639-9675)
• Directory assistance: 411
• Printed NYC literature: 800-NYC-VISIT (692-84748) or 212-397-8222 (the latter is for international callers only), Mon.–Fri., 7:30am–5:30pm CT. 


In New York City and throughout the United States, the dollar is the standard currency. Google converter calculator allows you to determine the value of other currencies compared with the dollar. Below are two of the many places where you can exchange your currency for American dollars.

Associated Foreign Exchange
870 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019; 212-757-9280
805 Third Ave., Ste. 1210, New York, NY 10022; 646-231-7820


New York is America’s safest large city, but visitors should still use common sense to protect themselves and their property. Be aware of your surroundings, and make sure to always use licensed, reputable businesses for any services you need. For example, don’t hail livery cabs (as opposed to taxis) at the airport, and don’t rent bikes from companies that seem suspicious.