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Who can travel to Germany?

Felix Schlagwein
September 2, 2021

Who is allowed to visit Germany? And who must quarantine on arrival? We provide answers to the most important questions.

A plane landing at night at Frankfurt airport, Germany
Germany is carefully reopening to some touristsImage: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa/picture alliance

All individuals arriving in Germany aged 12 and older must show proof of either full vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result. This rule, effective since August 1, applies to individuals from all countries, regardless whether they are travelling by road, rail, boat or airplane.  

Commuters, individuals transiting though Germany, and those staying in the country for less than 24 hours, are exempt. 

Police controlling drivers at the border, everyone wearing a face mask.
German police are now also checking individuals arriving by carImage: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture alliance

High-risk regions, dangerous virus mutant regions 

German authorities distinguish between high-risk and virus mutant regions. High-risk regions are characterized by high SARS-CoV-2 virus incidence rates, thus posing a significant infection risk. Virus mutant regions, in turn, are marked by the prevalence of concerning coronavirus variants. 

Turkey, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, parts of France, Portugal, Greece, Ireland and numerous non-European countries — such as the US and Israel — are currently classified as high-risk areas. 

The Spanish island of Mallorca, ever popular with German holidaymakers, is currently classified as a high-risk areaImage: Marcin Nowak/Zuma/picture alliance

The EU recently recommended member states remove a spate of third countries, including the US, from safe travel lists due to rising coronavirus infections. Germany had, however, already designated the US a high-risk area prior to the move.

Germany does not not presently list any countries as dangerous virus mutant regions. 

For a comprehensive list of high-risk and virus mutant regions, please consult the Robert Koch website.

Arrivals from high-risk or dangerous virus mutant regions must fill out a digital entry declaration. They must also show proof of either full vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or present a negative test result. 

Who must quarantine upon arrival? 

Upon arrival, individuals from high-risk regions are obliged to self-isolate at home, or at an accommodation of their choice, for a period of ten days — unless they have been fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. They may, however, end self-isolation after five days if they test negative for the virus. 

Arrivals from dangerous virus mutant regions must quarantine for 14 days without exception.  

Arrivals from the EU and Schengen zone 

Entering Germany from most EU states and the Schengen zone is relatively hassle-free, even though infection rates have been rising over the summer.  

A plane boarding ticket, a German passport and a mobile phone displaying the EU digital vaccination passport
Introduced on July 1, the digital vaccination certificate is making travel in Europe easierImage: Eibner-Pressefoto/picture alliance

On July 1, the EU-wide digital vaccination certificate was introduced. It makes it easier to enter Germany and gain access to events, for example. This makes retrieving information on the status of vaccinations, tests, and past infections quick and easy. 

Arrivals from third countries  

While tourism within the EU has been possible for a long time, holidaymakers from third countries had so far not been allowed to travel to Germany. But that is changing. 

Individuals from some 20 third countries — including Australia, Canada and Japan — may visit Germany provided they can either show proof of either full vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or present a negative test result.    

The same freedoms, however, do not automatically apply to German travelers. For example, the US does not allow German tourists into the country. This regulation will remain in place until further notice in order to avoid the spread of the delta variant.

German tourism sector cautiously optimistic  

The fact that entry restrictions have been eased for many EU states and third countries is good news for the German tourism industry. It has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. 

The German tourism sector is yearning for US visitors in particular. In pre-pandemic times, they made up the third largest group tourists to visit Germany after the Dutch and Swiss. The university town of Heidelberg was especially popular with Americans.  

People sitting at outdoor tables at a cafe in Heidelberg, Germany
The quaint town of Heidelberg usually attracts many international visitorsImage: Winfried Rothermel/picture alliance

However, Mathias Schiemer, managing director of Heidelberg Marketing, says that the recent easing the travel restrictions has not been noticeable yet. "This primarily affects hotels that specialize in international guests," Schiemer told DW. He added that Heidelberg had been focusing more on domestic tourism for some years. "This is now paying off. It's nice to see that the city is alive and vibrant again." 

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many Germans are once again opting to spend their summer holidays inside the country. In many places, hotels and holiday homes are already fully booked, especially in coastal regions and southern Germany.   


This article has been updated since it was first published on July 1.