SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

TRAVEL

UPDATE: When will Americans be able to travel to Germany again?

As Europe continues to gradually reopen its borders, it seems that visitors from America will have to wait a little longer. Here's what is happening with German travel rules for Americans.

UPDATE: When will Americans be able to travel to Germany again?
A plane from the American company United Airlines is at a standstill in Frankfurt in March. Photo: DPA

The EU on Thursday published its revised list of 'safe' countries which it recommends members allow travellers to enter from – but the US is still not on it.

Europe began to open up its external borders on July 1st (after opening up travel within Europe from June 15th) and at that time the EU said that the list of 'safe' countries would be revised every two weeks.

The first revised list has now been published, and no new countries have been added but Serbia and Montenegro have been removed from the list.

The list will be revised again in another two weeks.

So what does this mean for Americans?

Firstly, the travel rules are based around where you are coming from, not what passport you hold. So a US citizen travelling from Germany, for example, would be permitted to enter France because there are no health restrictions on the French-German border.

Secondly, this does not affect US citizens who are residents of Germany, although they will need to show proof of residency at the border.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about travelling from Germany to other European countries

Essential travel has been permitted throughout the lockdown and this continues, although the definition of essential travel into the EU is stricter than many countries' individual rules and does not include a category for family emergencies (more detail below).

So this latest ruling really affects tourists, second home owners and those wishing to visit family and friends in Germany.

This will now stay in place until at least July 30th.

Is it a final ruling?

The EU's list is advisory and member states are free to impose different rules if they want (as for example Italy has done) so in theory Germany could decide to allow in visitors from the US anyway.

However German politicians have previously said they will follow the EU's recommendations so it seems unlikely that the situation will change for Americans wanting to come to Germany, at least for the next few weeks.

What happens next?

There's another list due at the beginning of August but the list is largely based on the health situation in individual countries, so how quickly the ban on American tourists is lifted really depends on the evolution of the health situation in the US.

Countries were included on the safe list if the coronavirus outbreak in the country was judged to be the same or better than that EU average. The bar was fixed at 16 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks.

The revised list of 'safe' countries is: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China is also provisionally on the list, if reciprocity requirements are met.

What is essential travel?

The EU's definition of essential travel is stricter than many countries' individual restrictions and does not contain any exemption for visits for family reasons.

People who can travel into the European bloc include

  • Citizens of an EU country
  • Non EU citizens who are permanent residents of an EU country and need to come home
  • Healthcare workers engaged in crucial work on the coronavirus crisis
  • Frontier workers and in some circumstances seasonal workers
  • Delivery drivers

Quarantine

Currently, Americans who enter Germany – for example returning residents – will be subject to a quarantine for 14 days, according to the Foreign Office. The quarantine rule applies to travellers returning from any country which the Robert Koch Institute currently defines as a “risk area”.

Official advice

We reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, who directed us to the following information:

  • For the most up to date travel information and recommendations from the Department of State, see our website here
  • The Global Level 4 Health Advisory remains in place. We advise US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of Covid-19. US citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period
  • For information on the Covid-19 situation in specific countries, US citizens can go here to link to an individual US embassy or consulate
  • You can link to our page directly here – which includes answers to frequently asked questions
  • US citizens should enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so they can receive alerts while they are travelling and be reached in an emergency

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

COVID-19 RULES

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules in place across German states

Many Covid restrictions have been dropped in Germany, but some rules remain in place. And as infections increase again, it's important to be aware of what you should do if you get Covid.

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules in place across German states

Germany has relaxed or changed many Covid restrictions in recent months. However, with Covid infections rocketing again, people are reminding themselves of what rules remain in place, and what they have to do if they get a positive test.

Here’s a quick roundup of what you should know. 

Face masks

Covid masks have to be worn when travelling on public transport, including planes departing to and from Germany. 

They also have to be worn in places where there are more vulnerable people, such as care homes, hospitals and doctor offices. 

Masks are not mandatory anymore in shops (including supermarkets) and restaurants, but individual businesses can enforce the rule so watch out for signs on the door. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s current Covid mask rules

FFP2 masks have become the standard in Germany, but in some cases other medical masks are sufficient.

There are no longer any entry rules to public venues such as the 3G or 2G rule, meaning that people had to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. 

However, they could return in autumn if the infection protection laws are adapted, and if the Covid situation gets worse.

Mandatory isolation 

The rules on isolation differ from state to state, but there is one general requirement: those who test positive for Covid have to go into isolation at home and avoid all contact with people outside the household. The isolation period lasts at least five days or a maximum of 10 days.

If you get a positive result at home, you should go to a test centre and undergo a rapid antigen test. If it is positive, the quarantine obligation kicks in. If it is negative, you have to get a PCR test.

If you have Covid symptoms, you should contact your doctor, local health authorities or the non-emergency medical on-call service on 116 117. They can advise or whether you should get a PCR test. 

Across German states, the isolation period lasts 10 days, but – as we mentioned above – there are differences on how it can end earlier. 

In Berlin, for instance, it can be shortened from the fifth day with a negative test if you have been symptom free for 48 hours. If this isn’t the case, the isolation is extended until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours and tested negative. But you can leave without a negative test after 10 days. 

A positive Covid test.

A positive Covid test. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Anyone who tests positive for Covid using a rapid test at a testing centre can have a free PCR test to confirm whether they have Covid-19. If the PCR test is negative, there is no obligation to go into quarantine.

In Bavaria, the isolation period is five days after the first positive test. For isolation to end on day five you must be symptom free for at least 48 hours. Otherwise, isolation is extended for 48 hours at a time until the maximum of 10 days. 

A test-to-release is not needed to end the isolation, unless the person works in a medical setting. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out new Covid isolation rules

After isolation, Bavaria recommends that you wear an FFP2 mask in public places indoors and reduce contact for an extra five days. 

The state of Hesse has a similar system to Bavaria where a test is not needed to end the isolation early (unless the person works in a medical setting).

In North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg, residents can end their Covid isolation on the fifth day if they get a negative test (carried out at a testing centre). Otherwise the isolation period continues until the 10th day, or until they get a negative test.

Close contacts of people infected with Covid (including household contacts) no longer have to quarantine in Germany, but they are advised to get tested regularly and monitor for symptoms, as well as reduce contacts for five days. 

As ever, check with your local authority for the detailed rules.

Travel

Germany recently provisionally dropped almost all of its Covid travel restrictions, making it much easier to enter the country. 

The changes mean that entry into Germany is now allowed for all travel purposes, including tourism. The move makes travel easier – and cheaper – for people coming from non-EU countries, particularly families who may have needed multiple Covid tests for children. 

People also no longer have to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test against Covid before coming to Germany – the so-called 3G rule. 

However, if a country is classed as a ‘virus variant’ region, tougher rules are brought in. 

It is likely that travel rules could be reinstated again after summer or if the Covid situation gets worse so keep an eye on any developments. 

READ ALSO: Germany drops Covid entry restrictions for non-EU travellers

Vaccine mandate

The mandate making Covid vaccinations compulsory for medical staff remains in place. A vaccine mandate that would have affected more of the population in Germany was rejected by the Bundestag in a vote in April

READ ALSO: Germany’s top court approves Covid vaccine mandate for health care workers

Workplaces

Masks are no longer mandatory in workplaces, unless it is in a setting where more risks groups are, such as hospitals or care homes. 

The government no longer requires people to work from home, but employers and employees can reach their own ‘home office’ arrangement.

Tests are also no longer mandatory, but workplaces can offer their employees regular tests. 

SHOW COMMENTS