FAQ regarding corona testing when travelling to Germany

People from risk areas are obliged to take the test when they enter Germany. Here you will find the most important questions and answers.


Anyone who enters the Federal Republic of Germany having spent time in a risk area up to 14 days before their arrival is obliged to proceed directly to their own home or another suitable accommodation and self-isolate there for 14 days. This does not apply if the person only travelled through a risk area without spending time there. The competent public health office monitors the quarantine obligation.

Regulation of the quarantine obligation falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Laender. Please visit the website of the Federal Land wherein you reside or will be staying for detailed information on its specific quarantine regulations.

A risk area is any country or region outside of the Federal Republic of Germany for which, at the time of entry into the Federal Republic of Germany, an increased risk of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus exists. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) publishes a continuously updated list of risk areas.

Anyone having spent time in a risk area up to 14 days before their entry into Germany must report to the competent health office and provide the address of where they will be staying.

Testing obligation

According to the Federal Ministry of Health’s Testing Obligation Ordinance, anyone having spent time in a risk area up to 14 days before their entry into Germany, if requested by the competent health office or a different authority designated by the Land, must either provide proof of having tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 or get tested within 10 days of their entry into Germany. The concrete implementation lies with the Laender.

This depends on how the tests are handled on-site. As long as no negative test result is available, you must in any case enter home quarantine. Anyone on their homeward journey from the port/airport should avoid close contact with third parties, the general DHM measures still apply: Distance, Hygiene, Community Mask (www.infektionsschutz.de/coronavirus).

In principle, yes, but the concrete implementation lies with the Laender.

The test must be carried out in a member state of the European Union or a country that is listed here https://www.rki.de/covid-19-tests by the Robert Koch Institute. If you carry with you a test result when entering the country, the test may not have been taken more than 48 hours prior to entry.



Travellers from risk areas unable to prove they were tested must have themselves tested by the competent authorities upon their arrival if requested to do so.

A negative test result can only ever represent a momentary snapshot. A repeat test conducted five to seven days after the first is therefore useful. In individual cases, a repeat test may be ordered by the public health service (through the competent health offices).

A positive test result signifies that the person concerned must self-isolate for 10 days.

In most Laender, testing negative means home quarantine is no longer required. In specific Laender, a repeat test a number of days later may be necessary, however.

Irrespective of the result, if typical COVID-19 symptoms (difficulties breathing, newly developed cough, fever or loss of smell or taste) emerge within 14 days of entry from a risk area, your competent health office must be informed right away. Ambiguous symptoms – even following a negative test result – should be clarified with a doctor without delay.

People travelling from risk areas should, wherever possible, be tested at airports and at ports.

If no test can be performed there, then having announced your visit ahead of time by telephone, a test should be carried out at your doctor’s surgery. Arrivals to Germany can find out from the medical appointment service centre where in their vicinity they can get the test by calling 116 117.

Travellers from risk areas are obligated to report to their competent health office
immediately upon returning and also provide it with details regarding potential symptoms and on whether a test was carried out.

Prior to a direct entry into Germany from a risk area by plane, boat, train or bus, travellers must fill out passenger locator cards at any rate. These cards also gather details on any symptoms and available test results. The passenger locator cards are collected and transmitted to the health authorities near the traveller’s home/destination in Germany (unless proof of a negative test result can be presented). These local authorities then carry out random checks to monitor adherence to the home quarantine.

No compulsory testing is planned. People not consenting to testing within 14 days of entering the country from a risk area after having been requested to do so must expect to pay a fine.

Tests performed in Germany are subject to what is known as a laboratory reporting requirement. This means laboratories must report positive test results to the competent public health office.

Negative test results are not reported to public health offices by the laboratories. People travelling from a risk area must themselves therefore, if requested, prove to their local public health office or a different authority designated by the Land that they tested negative by producing a test certificate issued to them by their doctor.

Close to borders, random checks may be carried out by the competent authorities. These can then transmit the travellers’ data to the health authorities at their destination (unless proof of a negative test result can be presented).

International travellers are informed of their obligations by their carriers (for instance on the train or plane). In addition, the Federal Centre for Health Education provides information on the testing obligation and signs will be posted along roads close to borders, at ports, airports, and train stations.

Violation of the obligations indicated above regarding reporting, consent to testing or home quarantine can result in heavy fines by local authorities.

The testing obligation entered into force on 8 August 2020 and applies to people entering the country from risk areas.

According to the Protection against Infection Act, the testing obligation can only apply when entering Germany from regions which the Federal Government deems involve a heightened risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Federal Government examines on an ongoing basis which areas are to be classified as risk areas. The Robert Koch Institute publishes an up-to-date list of risk areas.

Free testing

The free testing opportunities for travellers arriving from non-risk areas ceased on 15 September 2020, at the end of the summer holiday travel season. Persons entering the Federal Republic of Germany, who have spent time in an international risk area within the last 14 days, are entitled to free testing for a period of ten days after entry.