Frequently Asked Questions on the new testing obligation for persons entering Germany by plane

From 30 March 2021, in principle all persons entering the Federal Republic of Germany by plane are required to present their carrier with a negative test result before departure. This obligation to undergo testing and provide proof applies irrespective of whether or not the carriage took place from a risk area. The swab specimen indicated in the test result must have been taken within 48 hours prior to entry into the Federal Republic of Germany. The new obligation to undergo testing and provide proof initially applies until 12/05/2021 (inclusive).

In principle all persons wishing to enter the Federal Republic of Germany by plane, as of 0:00 a.m. on 30 March, are required to be tested before boarding.

The following airline passengers are not obliged to take a test before departure:

  1. Persons whose profession it is to transport people, goods or commodities across borders by road, rail, ship or plane, while adhering to appropriate safety and hygiene practices. Crew Members are included among them.
  2. Persons who, as a member of an official delegation, are returning to Germany via the government terminal at Berlin Brandenburg Airport or Cologne/Bonn Airport and have spent less than 72 hours in a risk area.
  3. Persons under the age of six years.

Yes, airline passengers who are simply changing flights in the Federal Republic of Germany must comply with the provisions of the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations. This applies to all flight-changing procedures and therefore to all airline passengers who spend time in international transit zones at German airports for the purpose of continuing their journey.

Testing is done at authorised locations abroad. If the person to be carried is unable to obtain a test certificate, the carrier may perform the test or have the test performed before departure and is allowed to transport the passenger if the result is negative.

The test result must be available before departure so that it can be presented to the carrier. The swab specimen indicated in the test result must have been taken within 48 hours prior to entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.

Travellers pay for the test themselves.

No, but an airline is only allowed to carry you if you are able to present a negative test result.

In principle, nucleic acid amplification techniques (PCR, LAMP, TMA) and antigen tests for the direct detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are recognised.

Antibody tests are not recognised.

Rapid antigen tests are recognised if they fulfil the minimum criteria recommended by WHO. These include tests that, as compared with PCR tests, meet ≥80% sensitivity and ≥97% specificity. The performance indicators of rapid antigen tests are always compared relative to a PCR test and vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (see package leaflet of antigen test).

The tests must be performed or supervised (also possible via video) by a third party that is legally authorised to perform or supervise such tests in the country in which the test is conducted. The third party must also verify and confirm the identity of the tested person with official photo identification. The certificate/test result must indicate what date the test was taken as well as the type of test carried out.

Proof of testing is to be provided in paper or electronic form in either English, French or German. For the competent public health offices to quickly ascertain whether the minimum criteria have been met, the (rapid) antigen test’s manufacturer details must be provided.

Detailed information can be found on the Robert Koch Institute’s website.

Carriers are only allowed to transport passengers with a negative test certificate. You must isolate yourself on your own responsibility according to local regulations.

The infection protection provisions depend on the legal provisions of the foreign state in which the person is staying. As a rule, travellers bear the quarantine costs themselves.

Only to airline passengers. For persons travelling from risk areas, entry by other means of transport is also affected.

Also with this new general testing obligation for airline passengers, the carrier is responsible for checking that a passenger is in possession of a test certificate. In addition, the authorities responsible under the Protection Against Infection Act (as a rule, the public health office) and the authority responsible for border control (as a rule, the Federal Police) may also ask for a test certificate.

It is forbidden to carry a person into the Federal Republic of Germany if the person to be carried fails to present a test certificate; this also applies if the data given are obviously inaccurate. Carriers are subject to a fine for failing to comply with these obligations.

The reporting obligation of the Protection against Infection Act applies to the persons and authorities in Germany named in section 8 of the Protection against Infection Act.

The new obligation to undergo testing initially applies until 12 May 2021 (inclusive).