Current information for travelers

The Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations (Coronavirus-Einreiseverordnung – CoronaEinreiseV) regulates a uniform, nation-wide obligation to test, quarantine and furnish proof, as well as a ban on carriage from areas of variants of concern. The goal of the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations is to reduce the risk of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, since travel movements and border traffic can introduce infections and lead to new hot spots of infection.

Note

The category of “areas of variants of concern” is complemented by the category of countries/areas, in which a variant of concern threatens to emerge. However, possible measures for such areas do not comprise an obligation to self-isolate or a ban on carriage, but do involve the obligations to provide a test result before entry, as well as undergo random testing after entry. As of 0 a.m. (midnight) on 9 January 2023, the People’s Republic of China (excluding the special administrative region of Hong Kong) is classed as an “area of variants of concern in which a variant of concern threatens to emerge”.

Further information on the designation of international risk areas by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of the Interior (website of RKI)

General Questions

What does the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations regulate?

The Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations Coronavirus-Einreiseverordnung) regulates the uniform, nation-wide obligation to quarantine, test and furnish proof, as well as the ban on carriage from areas of variants of concern.

A distinction is drawn between:

a) Areas of variants of concern, in which a variant of concern already exists

(A ban on carriage, an obligation to furnish proof and an obligation to quarantine apply)

b) Areas of variants of concern, in which a variant of concern threatens to emerge

(Only an obligation to furnish proof before entry into Germany and an obligation to submit to random testing after entry apply)

Are the regulations of the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations limited in time?

The Ordinance ceases to be effective upon the expiry of 7 April 2023.

What is an area of variants of concern?

An area is considered an area of variants of concern if:

a) there is widespread occurrence of a variant of concern of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that is not widespread within Germany and which can be assumed to pose a particular risk.

Such particular risks might include:

  • the fact that the virus variant constitutes a higher risk of severe illness and hospitalisation, or
  • that the vaccines or prior infection with coronavirus afford only limited protection against this variant or none at all.

b) based on specific indicators, a variant of concern threatens to emerge.

Such indicators might be:

  • an observed or presumed faster spread of infection or higher incidence relative to the Federal Republic of Germany,
  • in addition to the absence of sufficient or reliable sequencing data on variant incidences and epidemiological data, which could allow conclusions to be drawn regarding disease severity.

Who determines which regions are classed as areas of variants of concern?

The determination of areas of variants of concern is carried out by the Federal Ministry of Health, in agreement with the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community.

Information for travellers entering Germany

Before departure, please be prepared that, in the context of random checks, your carrier (e.g. airline) may require from you an up-to-date NAAT test result based on a nucleic acid test (PCR, PoC-NAAT or other nucleic acid amplification test methods) if you spent time in an area of variants of concern at any time in the ten days prior to entry into Germany. In case of a previous stay in areas with imminent risk of variants of concern, a PoC antigen test is sufficient.

After your arrival: Furthermore, a testing obligation exists after entry, i.e. travellers aged 12 or over who spent time in an area classified as an area of variants of concern may be randomly checked and required by the competent authorities to take a PoC antigen test directly upon entry. In place of the PoC antigen test, a test based on nucleic acid testing may be taken directly. Where relevant, depending on Federal Land law, upon arrival at the destination self-isolation or quarantine may be required.

In the case of the 14-day quarantine requirement, please be aware that this also applies to vaccinated and recovered individuals. The duration of the 14-day quarantine cannot be shortened. However, an obligation to quarantine only applies for areas of variants of concern, in which a variant of concern has already emerged.

Obligation to furnish proof

Who is required to furnish proof?

a) Entering from areas of variants of concern in which a variant of concern already exists

Travellers aged 12 or over who, at any time within the last ten days prior to entry, spent time in such an area must at the time of entry present their carrier with a test result, where the test in question is based on a nucleic acid test (PCR, PoC-NAAT or other nucleic acid amplification test methods). Proof of recovery or vaccination is not sufficient. In the context of policing cross-border traffic into Germany, such proof may also be demanded by the Federal Police or other responsible authority. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the obligation to furnish proof of testing.

b) Entering from areas of variants of concern in which a variant of concern threatens to emerge

Travellers aged 12 or over who, at any time within the last ten days prior to entry, spent time in such an area must, before commencing their journey to Germany, present at least a rapid antigen test result taken no earlier than 48 hours prior to actual or scheduled entry. Here, too, proof of recovery or vaccination is not sufficient.

What rules apply to travellers entering Germany who have been vaccinated or have recovered?

Travellers aged 12 or over must, if

a) they previously spent time in an area of variants of concern, be in possession of a negative test result, where the test in question must be based on a nucleic acid test (PCR, PoC-NAAT or other nucleic acid amplification test methods).

b) For areas of variants of concern, in which a virus variant of concern threatens to emerge, a PoC antigen test will suffice.

Proof of vaccination or recovery does not suffice.

In the context of policing cross-border traffic into Germany, such proof may also be demanded by the Federal Police or other responsible authority. Upon request, airline passengers are to present their carrier with this proof before starting their journey. In the context of policing cross-border traffic into Germany, this proof may also be demanded by the Federal Police.

Without such proof, carriage is not possible in any of the above cases.

The test result must pertain to a test that is no older than 48 hours. Where testing involved a PoC antigen test, the actual or scheduled time of entry into Germany is decisive. Where testing involved a nucleic acid test (PCR, PoC-NAAT or other nucleic acid amplification test methods), the actual time or scheduled time of carrier departure is decisive.

What rules apply to travellers from China?

Travellers from China must, before commencing their journey to Germany, present a rapid antigen test result taken no earlier than 48 hours prior to actual or scheduled entry. This obligation to furnish proof also applies to vaccinated and recovered individuals. Where testing involved a nucleic acid test (PCR, PoC-NAAT or other nucleic acid amplification test methods), the test must be no older than 48 hours at the actual time or the scheduled time of carrier departure.

If requested to do so, travellers aged 12 or over must submit to a PoC antigen test directly upon entry into Germany. Testing is performed by the German authorities on a random basis. If a result is positive, it is followed up by a confirmatory test by means of nucleic acid testing. In place of the PoC antigen test, a test based on nucleic acid testing may be taken directly.

How recent must a test result be upon entry?

The test result must pertain to a test that is no older than 48 hours. Where the testing comprised a nucleic acid test (e.g. PCR), the actual time or scheduled time of carrier departure is decisive. Where testing involved a PoC antigen test, the actual or scheduled time of entry into Germany is decisive.

What tests are recognised?

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

Antibody tests are not recognised as proof of testing.

Proof of testing can be provided in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish in written or digital form.

What do I do if the test is positive?

If your test is positive, we urgently advise you self-isolate immediately; in some Federal Länder this is compulsory.  

If, in the 10 days prior to entry you spent time in

a) an area of variants of concern, in which a variant of concern already exists, you are subject to the obligation to quarantine (see below). Furthermore, it is not permitted to provide you with transportation.

b) an area in which a variant of concern threatens to emerge, you are not subject to a ban on carriage nor the obligation to quarantine.

What do I need to know if entering Germany accompanied by children?

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the obligation to furnish test results. Minors are however not exempt from the obligation to quarantine.

Do airline passengers, who are simply changing flights in Germany, have to comply with the provisions of the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations? Does this also apply to airline passengers spending time in the international transit zones of German airports?

Airline passengers entering from an area of variants of concern who are simply changing flights at an airport in the Federal Republic of Germany are not subject to the obligation to quarantine. Nor does the obligation to furnish proof before entry into Germany apply to people who, in the context of border traffic, spent less than 24 hours abroad or who will be spending a maximum of 24 hours in the Federal Republic of Germany. However, travellers entering Germany are subject to a random testing obligation after entry.

Obligation to quarantine

Can the quarantine be ended early?

Following a stay in an area classified as an area of variants of concern, in which a variant of concern already exists at the time of their entry into the Federal Republic of Germany, people with proof of vaccination or recovery are also, as a rule, obligated to quarantine for fourteen days. Ending quarantine early may be possible in the following two cases:

  • The specific area of variants of concern is no longer classified as such (de-listed) during the person's quarantine in Germany.
  • The person is fully vaccinated with a vaccine that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has recognised as effective against the variant.

No obligation to quarantine exists for areas in which variants of concern threaten to emerge.

Ban on carriage

To protect the population of the Federal Republic of Germany and limit the spread of dangerous virus variants, in addition to the current rules on quarantine and furnishing proof, it is necessary to restrict the carriage of travellers into Germany from areas of variants of concern, in which a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus possessing characteristics of concern already exists.

At whom is the ban on carriage aimed?

The ban on carriage obligates carriers. These are any undertakings that carry passengers to the Federal Republic of Germany by means of cross-border rail, bus, air or sea traffic.

Carriers are prohibited from carrying passengers from regions classed as areas of variants of concern, in which a variant of concern already exists, into the Federal Republic of Germany.

What are the exemptions from the ban on carriage?

The ban on carriage does not apply to:

  1. the carriage of German nationals or persons who have their place of residence and right of residence in the Federal Republic of Germany. The same applies, in each case, to their spouses, life partners who form part of the same household, minors and, in the case of minors, their parent or parents.
    In the case of carriage from Member States of the European Union and from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, life partners need not form part of the same household.
  2. The carriage of persons who are merely changing flights at an airport in the Federal Republic of Germany
  3. Postal, freight or unladen transportation exclusively
  4. The repatriation of aircraft, ships and crews
  5. Transports with and of personnel in the public health interest, air-ambulance flights and flights carrying organs for transplantation, as well as the necessary escort personnel
  6. Carriage for urgent humanitarian reasons
  7. Carriage on behalf of EURATOM Safeguards, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations and its organisations, the European Union and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
  8. The carriage of members of a foreign or consular mission whose appointment and arrival has been notified to the Federal Foreign Office. The same goes, in each case, for their accompanying spouse, life partner and minor children.
  9. The carriage of persons who are to be accredited by the relevant organising committee to prepare, participate in, carry out or follow up on international sporting events
  10. The carriage of vaccinated persons whose carriage the Federal Ministry of Health, with the agreement of the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, has determined to be in the national interest of the Federal Republic of Germany.

What are the exemptions from the obligation to quarantine on entry?

Please check the list below for the exemptions from the obligation to quarantine on entry. Even if one of the exemptions applies to you, you are required to immediately notify the competent authority if you show symptoms typical of an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus within 14 days following entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.

The exemptions:

  • Transit
  • Transport personnel
  • Official delegations
  • Necessary inpatient treatment for a coronavirus infection
  • Stays of up to one day
  • Cross-border commuters and border crossers
  • Short stays of high-ranking members of the diplomatic or consular service, of parliaments or governments
  • By the competent authority

Obligation to register

Is a Digital Registration on Entry still required?

Due to the expiry of the Digital Registration on Entry, the obligation to register upon entry from an area of variants of concern no longer applies.

What should I be aware of during my stay in Germany?

Obligation to wear a mask

Long-distance public transport: During the journey, a respirator mask (FFP2 or comparable) must be worn. Passengers that use long-distance public transport, who are aged between six and fourteen years, are required to wear a medical face mask (mouth-nose protection) or respirator mask (FFP2 or comparable).

Local public transport: The rules for local public transport are determined by the Federal Länder. At this point in time, at least a medical face mask (mouth-nose protection) must usually be worn. Please check which regulations apply in your Federal Land before commencing your journey.

The obligation to wear a mask does not apply to:

  • Children under the age of six;
  • People medically certified as not being able to wear a respirator mask or medical face mask on account of a health disorder, chronic illness or disability; and
  • People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, the people with whom they communicate, and their accompanying persons.

What further infection control regulations apply in my Federal Land?

Please check which infection control regulations apply in your Federal Land. Your Federal Land determines the infection control regulations that apply to your stay and/or everyday life. Here you can, for instance, find regulations concerning where a mask must be worn, when proof of vaccination or recovery or a test result must be submitted and which infection control measures need to be observed when visiting a restaurant or recreational event.

This link will take you to the Federal Land websites (German):

The Protection against Infection Act is implemented by the Federal Länder. The Federal Länder have the authority to determine infection control regulations for their Federal Land through ordinances. This means that one Federal Land’s infection control regulations may differ from another’s. The Heads of Government of the Länder meet regularly to coordinate infection control measures. This serves to keep the rules as uniform as possible across Germany, despite regional differences in the way that infection figures develop.

Last change: 12. January 2023
Please note
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