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COVID-19: entry and quarantine regulations in Germany

Travellers in front of a corona Test-center at an airport.

Travellers in front of a corona Test-center at an Airport., © dpa / Sven Simon

02.05.2022 - Article

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions for entry into Germany from many countries apply. Persons entering must complete a digital entry registration. They also have to provide a negative test result or proof of immunity.

Entry restrictions

General entry restrictions

EU-wide entry restrictions remain in force. For Germany, these restrictions are issued by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI). Please check with the BMI prior to your trip to find out what regulations apply specifically with regard to the country from which you plan to enter Germany.

In principle, entry is possible from:

  • EU member states
  • states associated with Schengen: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
  • other countries from which entry is possible in light of the epidemiological situation assessment by the EU.

Entry from any other country for any purposse (including visits and tourism)  is only possible for fully vaccinated people. The vaccination must have taken place with one or different vaccines approved by the European Union with at least two doses. In countries outside the European Union equivalent vaccines may be used. A list of these vaccines is available here.

For people not yet vaccinated entry from other countries is only possible in exceptional cases and is conditional on there being an urgent need.

Travel bans from countries affected by coronavirus variants​​​​​​​

A travel ban is in place for countries with widespread occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants of concern (referred to as areas of variant of concern). Transport companies, e.g. air carriers and railway companies, may not transport any persons from these countries to Germany. There are only a few, strictly defined exceptions to this travel ban, namely for:

  • German citizens and persons who are resident in Germany with a current right to reside in the country, as well as their spouses, partners (if entering Germany from outside the EU or the United Kingdom / Northern Ireland: only partners living in the same household) and minor children
  • persons catching a connecting flight who do not leave the transit zone of a passenger airport and
  • few other special cases.

Persons qualifying for these exceptions must nevertheless complete a digital entry registration before entering the country, undergo mandatory testing or provide proof of immunity, and comply with the applicable quarantine regulations for travellers entering the country. Further information is provided below.

Travellers can find more information about the travel ban on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI),the website of the Federal Ministry of Health and this information leaftlet.  The list of areas of variant of concern is published on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.

Digital entry registration

Travellers who have visited a high-risk area or area of variant of concern in the last ten days must register at www.einreiseanmeldung.de before arriving in Germany and carry proof of registration with them upon entry. Exemptions to this registration requirement apply in particular to persons who

  • have only passed through a high-risk area or area of variant of concern without a stopover,
  • are only passing through Germany, or
  • in the case of border traffic: persons who have spent less than 24 hours in a high-risk area oder area of variant of concern or are only entering Germany for a period of up to 24 hours.
  • cross-border commuters and border crossers as specified on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health

Additionally, persons entering Germany following a stay in a high-risk area (but not an area of variant of concern) are exempt from this requirement for stays of less than 72 hours to visit close relatives (parents, children), spouses and partners who do not belong to the same household, or for the purpose of shared custody.

If, in exceptional cases, it is not possible to complete a digital entry registration, travellers must instead fill out a substitute registration on paper.

Travellers can find more information in the following fact sheet (also available in other languages) as well as on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Mandatory testing or proof of immunity from COVID-19

From 3 March 2022, every person over the age of 12 is obliged to carry proof of their COVID‑19 status when entering Germany. Persons over the age of 12 must therefore have a negative test result or proof of recovery or vaccination when entering Germany. As a rule, COVID‑19 test results (antigen or PCR tests) must not be more than 48 hours old at the time of the (planned) entry. However, if entering Germany with a carrier (e.g. an airline), PCR tests may be taken a maximum of 48 hours before the (scheduled) start of the journey (e.g. departure time). But antigen tests must not be taken more than 48 hours before the (scheduled) time of arrival in Germany even if travellers are being transported by a carrier.

Travellers who are only transferring at an airport in Germany are also required to present proof of their COVID‑19 status. This applies both to non-Schengen transit from or to third countries outside the EU and to transit from or to Schengen states.

The negative test result, proof of recovery or proof of vaccination must be shown to the carrier for examination prior to departure. Only in the case of cross-border rail travel or cross-border short sea transport may the relevant documentation be presented during transit. Proof must also be shown to the German border authorities upon entry if requested.

Travellers entering Germany from areas of variant of concern must present a negative PCR test result: in this case a rapid antigen test or proof of recovery or vaccination is not sufficient. If using a carrier to enter Germany, the PCR test result must be less than 48 hours old at the time of the (scheduled) start of the journey. Furthermore, the German authorities may require travellers to take additional PCR tests after entering the Federal Republic of Germany, in particular at their point of arrival (e.g. at the airport).

Cross-border commuters are only required a negative test or proof of immunity after a stay in a high risk area, in an area of variant of concern or when entering Germany by air travel. In these cases a new negative test only needs to be provided twice per week.

In the case of border traffic, persons who have spent less than 24 hours in a high-risk area or area of variant of concern or who are only entering Germany for a period of up to 24 hours, a new negative test only needs to be provided twice per week.

More detailed information is available on the website of the Federal Minsitry of Health.

Requirements for tests and proof of vaccination or recovery

Detailed information on the requirements for tests and proof of immunity is available on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

In principle, the following forms of proof are accepted:

  • Proof of a negative test result:

A negative test result obtained using nucleic acid amplification technology (e.g. PCR, PoC- PCR) in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish. The test must have been carried out no more than 72 hours prior to entry (time of swabbing).

Alternatively, a negative antigen rapid test result in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish. Following a stay in a high-risk area, the test must have been carried out no more than 48 hours prior to entry. Following a stay in an area of variant of concern, the test must have been carried out no more than 24 hours prior to entry.

Details on the recognition of tests are provided on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.

  • Proof of vaccination:

Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish in digital or paper form (e.g. EU Digital COVID certificate; WHO vaccination booklet). Note that a photo of a proof in paper form is not sufficient.

The vaccination must have taken place with one or different vaccines approved by the European Union with at least two doses. In countries outside the European Union equivalent vaccines may be used. A list of these vaccines is available here.

A single dose of vaccine is sufficient only if:

  • an antibody test with proven infection with coronavirus prior to the vaccination, followed by administration of vaccination; or
  • a positive test by means of a nucleic acid test (for example, PCR) prior to the vaccination dose ; or

  • a positive test by means of a nucleic acid test (for example, PCR) taken at least 28 days ago and after first vaccination dose was administered;

The proof of vaccination must contain:

- personal data of the person vaccinated (at leat surname, first name(s) and birth date or number of passport / ID

- date and number of vaccinations

- name of the vaccine used.,

- name of the illness against which the person was vaccinated.

- characteristics that allow to identify the person of institution that was responsible for the vaccination or the issuance of the certificate, such as an official seal Symbol or name.

- where necessary: details on booster vaccinations and the corresponding date.

These requirements for vaccinations are in force until 30 September. From 1 October as a rule three doses of vaccine will be required.

  • Proof of recovery:

A positive PCR test result carried out at least 28 days but no more than 90 days previously. Detailed requirements are availble on the website of the Robert Koch-Institute.

Quarantine regulations

A requirement to self-isolate is in place in Germany pursuant to the Federal Ministry of Health’s Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations of 3 March 2022.

Under the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations, persons entering Germany following a stay in a high-risk area or area of variant of concern in the last ten days must

  • proceed directly to their destination following entry and
  • self-isolate there (quarantine). After a stay in a high-risk area travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, after a stay in an area of variant of concern for 14 days.

During this quarantine, travellers may not leave the house or flat or receive guests.

Quarantine ends automatically if the relevant country is no longe classified as a high risk area or area of variant of concern.

Exemptions from the requirement to quarantine:

Exemptions from the requirement to quarantine apply to persons who:

  • are under the age of six
  • have merely passed through a high-risk area (not an area of variant of concern) without a stopover,
  • are only passing through Germany and leaving the country via the fastest route available,
  • in the case of border traffic from high-risk areas (but not areas of variant of concern): persons who have spent less than 24 hours in a risk area or are only entering Germany for a period of up to 24 hours,
  • are cross-border commuters and border crossers as specified on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health from a high-risk area, or

  • are cross-border commuters and border crossers as specified on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health from an area of variant of concern with the proviso that the work they carry out is urgently required and critical to maintaining operational procedures.

  • are visiting close relatives from/in a high incidence area (but not an area of variant of concern) (parents, children, spouses and partners who do not belong to the same household, or for the purpose of shared custody) for less than 72 hours.

In addition, for high-risk areas (but not areas of variant of concern) the following applies:

Quarantine ends prematurely if a negative test result, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery is submitted via the entry registration portal (www.einreiseanmeldung.de). The individual link in the registration confirmation (PDF document) should be used to upload the relevant documents. In the case of a test, however, the test may be carried out no earlier than five days after entry. For children under the age of 12, the self-isolation period ends immediately upon submission of a negative test result. Without submission of a negative test result, the self-isolation period nonetheless ends automatically after five days. 

For areas of variant of concern the following applies:

Quarantine period cannot be shortened. However, if the area of departure is reclassified as a high-Risk area during the quarantine, the regulations for high-risk areas apply. In this case the quarantin may end early as explained above.

More information is available on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health and this Information leaflet.

How to conduct yourself when in Germany?

Mouth and nose must be covered aboard any public transport, in stores and busy outdoor places, where the minimum distance to others cannot be kept at all times. Masks must fulfill the requirements of FFP2.

If travellers develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 (coughing, a runny nose, sore throat or fever) they should get in touch by phone with a doctor or contact the hotline 116 117. Often travel guides or hotels can also help in such cases. Travellers should keep the contact details of their home country’s embassy or consulate in Germany in case they need to contact them.

Extensive information in English and other languages on current regulations is available here.

A overview on what to do to help protect yourself and others is available here:

Coronavirus – Informationen and practical advice.

Watch out for local regulations

Measures for fighting the spread of COVID-19 are subject to local regulation.

The international advice on reducing the spread of COVID-19 should be followed. This includes washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap for 20-30 seconds, sneezing into the elbow or the quick disposal of handkerchieves or tissues, keeping a distance from other people and avoiding shaking hands. Further information and details can be found on the World Health Organization’s Website.

Where possible, travel should be reduced and public transport avoided to further reduce the risk of infection.

Where to find more information

More information is available from the following institutions:

Information on coronavirus and regulations in English and other languages

Ministry of the Interior

Ministry of Health

The World Health Organization

Robert Koch Institute

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