The COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty in global travel, including in Germany as well, which has been keeping strict measures to contain the spread of the virus.
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Even though stringent entry restrictions remain in place, Germany’s borders are open for travel from third countries and the EU/Schengen Area countries, even now, amid the spread of the new COVID-19 virus, now named Omicron.
Germany has started to permit entry from several countries since July 2020. However, at the moment, it is possible to enter the latter’s territory for tourism purposes as a non-EU/EEA national, only for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as those who have recovered from the virus.
Learn about the most recent changes in Germany travel rules amid the spread of the new COVID-19 virus variant – Omicron.
Travellers From Which Countries Are Permitted to Enter Germany?
Based on the data provided by the German Federal Ministry of Interior, Building and Home Affairs, entry to Germany is permitted to European Union Member States and Schengen-associated countries, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
Travellers from the EU and Schengen Area countries placed on the “high incidence areas” list must register online and provide a negative COVID-19 test result carried within 48 hours before arrival in Germany. Additionally, they will be required to stay self-isolated for ten days.
Travellers from EU and Schengen Area countries placed in the “risk areas” are subject to the same restrictions as those mentioned above.
Nonetheless, travellers from these areas who provide proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 or proof of recovery are allowed to skip testing and quarantine requirements.
For those who are required to provide a negative PCR test, the result should not be older than 72 hours. The testing certificate is recognised if available in either German, English, French, Italian, or Spanish.
>> Germany Imposes Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Requirement for Unvaccinated People
For vaccinated persons, the vaccination certificate is recognised in the same languages. The approved vaccine doses by Germany include Comirnaty, Moderna, Vaxzevria, and Janssen, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In addition, based on the EU Council’s recommendation, travellers from the following third countries and regions are allowed to enter Germany restriction-free:
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- China – as soon as the mutual entry possibility is determined
“Residents of other non-EU countries are only permitted to enter Germany if they serve in an important role or if they have an urgent need to travel or if they are fully vaccinated,” the Ministry’s statement notes.
Even though Germany now allows more non-vaccinated travellers from third countries to enter its territory for tourism purposes, the UK has been left out due to the high number of COVID-19 cases.
Arrivals From Highly Affected Countries
In order to make a simpler distinction between COVID-19 affected countries, Germany has established a system that separates countries and regions into different areas, more precisely into virus variant areas and high-risk areas.
“As of August 1, 2021, risk areas only distinguish between two categories: High-risk areas and areas of variants of concern. The category of “basic” risk area no longer applies. The cessation of the “basic” risk area category does not mean that there is no longer any risk of infection during stays in these areas. An appreciably increased risk of infection currently exists worldwide,” the statement of the German authorities reads.
Which Countries Are Considered as Profoundly Affected by COVID-19?
High-risk areas list consists of countries with more than 100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants during the last seven days. Consequently, stringent rules apply to arrivals from countries placed on this list when entering Germany.
The following EU/EEA countries are currently part of Germany’s high-risk list:
- Austria – with the exception of the municipality of Mittelberg and Jungholz and Rißtal in the municipal area of Vomp and Eben am Achensee (high-risk area since November 14, 2021)
- Belgium (high-risk area since November 21 2021)
- Bulgaria (high-risk area since October 24 2021)
- Croatia (high-risk area since October 24 2021)
- Czech Republic (high-risk area since November 14 2021)
- Estonia (high-risk area since October 10 2021)
- Greece (high-risk area since November 21 2021)
- Hungary (high-risk area since November 14 2021)
- Ireland (high-risk area since November 21 2021)
- Latvia (high-risk area since October 10 2021)
- Lithuania (high-risk area since October 1 2021)
- Netherlands – excluding Sint Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao – (high-risk area since November 21 2021)
- Romania (high-risk area since October 1 2021)
- Slovakia (high-risk area since October 31 2021)
- Slovenia (high-risk area since September 26 2021)
Virus variant areas consist of countries in which COVID-19 mutations have widely spread and are being transmitted at a fast rate.
“There is a ban on transport to countries in which virus mutations are widespread (so-called virus variant areas). Transport companies, e.g.Airlines or train companies, are not allowed to transport people from these countries to Germany,” the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads.
The following countries are currently considered virus variant areas:
- Botswana (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
- Eswatini (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
- Lesotho (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
- Malawi (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
- Mozambique (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
- Namibia (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
- Zimbabwe (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
- South Africa (virus variant area since November 28, 2021)
Entry Rules for Arrivals From High-Risk & Virus Variant Areas
All persons wishing to enter Germany after staying for more than ten days in a high incidence of virus variant area are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result, proof of vaccination against the virus, or proof of recovery. Nonetheless, certain exceptions apply to persons who have travelled through high-risk areas without making a stop.
If travelling using air transportation, a negative Coronavirus test result should be provided before departure and another one upon entry. The airlines are responsible for checking the negative test result documentation before departure. The same rules also apply to those travelling by train, bus, or ferry.
Travellers who have stayed in a risk area are also required to fill in a digital entry registration form and carry the received confirmation code.
In addition, all travellers from high-risk areas and virus variant areas must register online and prove their registration upon their arrival in Germany. They are also required to download the Corona-Warn App and will be subject to health screening as soon as they enter German territory.
Who Is Required to Quarantine?
When deciding to travel to Germany, it should be noted that entry requirements depend on the country tourists are travelling from.
The quarantine requirement in Germany applies to all persons who have stayed in a high-risk area, or a virus variant area within the last ten days. Everyone coming from these areas is obliged to go to their accommodation immediately after arrival and stay self-isolated for ten days. However, those coming from virus variant areas have to stay self-isolated for 14 days instead of ten.
The quarantine period can be ended earlier for those entering Germany from a high-risk area if they present a negative COVID-19 test result taken on or after the fifth day of self-isolation.
During the self-isolation period, no one is allowed to leave their accommodation or receive visitors.
Nonetheless, the following categories of people are exempt from the quarantine requirement:
- Those who travelled through high risk or high incidence areas without making any stopovers
- Those travelling using the territory of Germany as a transit country
- Persons who have stayed in a risk area for less than 24 hours or who leave Germany within 24 hours of entry
It should be noted that travel restrictions in individual states of Germany differ from one another, and they can change at any time. Thus, the authorities suggest that everyone does their own research before deciding to travel to different parts of Germany. Entry conditions and quarantine requirements are also applied differently in other parts of the country.
Travel Insurance: A Must When Travelling to Germany
It is suggested that all persons wishing to travel to Germany or any other country during the COVID-19 pandemic purchase an extended travel insurance package that covers pandemic and epidemic situations.
Travel insurance for Germany ensures that in case the trip gets cancelled due to the Coronavirus, most of the money spent to make reservations is saved.
You can buy medical travel insurance protection for Germany at a very low cost from AXA AssistanceorEurop Assistance.
Germany’s EU Digital COVID-19 Passport
Germany joined the EU gateway successfully on May 10 after passing the technical tests. Weeks ahead of the July roll-out programme across the bloc. On June 1, Germany started issuing the first vaccination certificates for travellers.
“EU citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and they want to do so safely. Having an EU certificate is a crucial step on the way,” Commissioner of EU Stella Kyriakides said in this regard.
The EU COVID-19 Vaccination Passport has been established by the EU in order to restore freedom of travel within the bloc.
What Is Open in Germany?
Currently, the majority of places, including different attractions, restaurants, and hotels, are open for tourists in Germany. However, since each German federal state has its own COVID-19 rules, it is suggested that everyone does their research before deciding to travel to Germany.
A large share of attractions such as museums and other historic sites are open for tourists. Nonetheless, everyone should keep in mind that masks are required in indoor spaces. COVID-19 vaccination, recovery from the virus or test results are required in a large part of the country to access these places.
The same is required for access to restaurants.Masks should be worn at all times when entering or leaving the restaurants, as well as everyone, should keep a distance of two metres.
Germany’s leading and busiest airports, including the airport of Berlin Brandenburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg, are open and international flights have started to operate.
Current COVID-19 Situation in Germany
As one of the European countries that the pandemic has hardly hit, Germany has managed to keep the Coronavirus situation under control by imposing strict measures when needed.
As of November 21, Germany has identified 5,791,060 COVID-19 infection cases, with 29,364 of them being reported only during the last 24 hours. In addition, until now the country has registered 100,956 deaths.
So far the country has identified at least two cases of Omicron, the new COVID-19 virus variant.
According to the figures provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Germany has so far fully vaccinated 68 per cent of its population.
Planning to Visit Other EU Countries Soon? Here’s What to Expect
If planning to visit other European countries this summer, the following guides explain everything you need to know before booking your trip:
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Austria
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to the Netherlands
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Greece
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to France
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Italy
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Spain
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Portugal
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Switzerland
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Croatia
- COVID-19: Rules for Travel to Belgium
NOTE: This article was originally published on July 13. Since then, the same has been continuously updated with the most recent changes. The last changes to the article were made on November 29, in line with the most recent updates of the German authorities.