Travel to Germany during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Travel to Germany during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go


Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on June 3.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Germany, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Germany’s border policies have been changing swiftly as the country regularly updates its lists of high and moderate risk destinations. However, on March 3 the high risk list was wiped, meaning there are no destinations now classified as high risk — anywhere.

From June to the end of August, the vaccination entry requirements will be relaxed. This means anyone can enter the country during high season.

What’s on offer

Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt have long been cultural big hitters. But there’s more to Germany than its superb cities — from hiking in Bavaria to wild forests on the French border and a hugely underrated coastline in the north. Throw in excellent public transport and road links and this is a country ripe for those keen on a long, free-form vacation.

Who can go

Effectively, everyone. From June to the end of August, all entry restrictions have been dropped. Anyone can come into the country other than those destinations designated to have a “variant of concern” — although the listing of those countries is also on hiatus (see below).

From September, the following rules will return:

In principle, residents of EU member states and the Schengen-associated states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may enter Germany without restrictions — although if they become classed as high risk, or having a variant of concern, restrictions apply. They must also present either evidence of vaccination or a negative test.

Arrivals from other countries depend on the epidemiological situation and vaccination status. Currently, tourists are allowed without restrictions from six non-EU destinations: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macao, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan. See here for a full list.
Arrivals from countries not on that list, other than any ones under a temporary travel ban, are allowed if fully vaccinated — see here.
However, special measures are in place when traveling from countries deemed high risk or having variants of concern — see here for a list. This can entail quarantine for the latter, though the list was wiped in March, effectively meaning that the country is open to all vaccinated travelers.

What are the restrictions?

Until the end of August, there are no restrictions, other than for arrivals coming from an area of a variant of concern.

If you have been in an “area of variant of concern,” there is a ban on entering via rail, ship, plane or bus. Essentially, you must drive, and then quarantine for 14 days. This is the only restriction that remain in place between June and September 2022.

From September, the following rules will apply again:

All arrivals must complete a digital registration form before travel. Those entering by plane must provide either a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel, or proof of completed vaccination. A list of approved vaccinations is here. Note that those coming from non-EU destinations must be vaccinated if arriving for leisure travel. Only essential travel is permitted for non-vaccinated non-EU arrivals.

Travel for EU and Schengen-related residents is unrestricted — though you must use your EU Digital Certificate to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test.

If you have been in a country designated to have a high level of risk within the past 10 days, you must provide a negative test result, and you must travel directly to your destination and quarantine there for 10 days. Those from a high-risk area may end quarantine early if they test negative after five days, while children between 6 and 12 may end quarantine on day 5 without testing. Children younger than 6 are exempt from quarantine. The quarantine requirement is waived upon proof of vaccination or recovery.

The list was last updated March 3, when the high risk list was wiped completely. In other words, there are currently no areas of concern or high risk destinations anywhere on the planet.

The full list, updated March 3, is here.
Anyone entering from countries not on the “safe list” must be fully vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson, with the last dose having been administered at least 14 days before travel — see here for requirements.

If not vaccinated, only those traveling for essential reasons can enter. Unvaccinated children younger than 12 can enter if traveling with a vaccinated parent.

What’s the Covid situation?

Infection rates have dropped from their March peak, when a record 300,000 new infections were reported in one day. A record rate of 1,651 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days was reported on March 17. In comparison, when the Omicron variant arrived in November 2021, infections were at 312 per 100,000. Before that, the previous all-time record had been 197.6 in December 2020.

As of June 3, there have been 139,313 deaths and nearly 26.5 million cases to date, with over 250,000 in the past week. Over 77{3b930a6ca12a59604e1bbadfc55b7d1b7a0aa8613f1ab9377cace0d5afcb5fb9} of the population is now fully vaccinated, according to John Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker.

What can visitors expect

Despite rising infection rates, nearly all Covid-19 restrictions were dropped on March 20 on a national level. However, individual regions and states can still impose their own restrictions, and many have done so.

The national rules are as follows: Masks are no longer required indoors, except for on public transport (including flights to and from Germany, where the masks must be FFP2 grade) and healthcare settings.

You will no longer need to show proof of vaccination to enter shops, hotels, bars and restaurants.

You may only travel on public transport or by air if you are vaccinated, have a certificate of recovery or have been tested. You must also wear an FFP2 mask. Taxis are not included in this rule, and children under six do not have to mask.

Otherwise, restrictions across the country vary between the 16 states. You can find links to each state’s regulations on this government page.

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