As of Thursday August 31st, citizens from the following countries are permitted to travel to the EU:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, on the condition of reciprocity
Morocco was previously on the list but it was removed.
Countries with high Covid-19 rates such as the US, India and Russia are not on the list.
Travel within the EU opened up several weeks ago, but from July 2nd visits to Germany have been possible from outside Europe for a handful of countries with low infection rates. Germany continues to update its travel list every two weeks.
Since June 15th anyone travelling from inside the EU, the Schengen zone or the UK has been allowed to enter Germany.
However, there are some restrictions when the number of infections in countries or regions of countries rise. Mainland mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands (minus the Canaries) are still classed as high-risk areas, as well as parts of Croatia and Romania. Check out the full Robert Koch Institute list here (you can also see it in English at the bottom of the page)
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So what does this mean for people wishing to visit Germany?
Firstly, the travel rules are based around where you are coming from, not what passport you hold. So a non-EU citizen travelling from France, for example, would be permitted to enter Germany because there are no health restrictions on the French-German border.
Secondly, this does not affect non-EU citizens who are permanent residents of Germany, although they will need to show proof of residency at the border.
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.
What happens next?
The EU says it will revise its list every two weeks, and the list is largely based on the health situation in individual countries, so how quickly the ban is lifted really depends on the evolution of the health situation in individual countries.
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.
A woman dons a face mask at Frankfurt's airport. Photo: DPA
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
Foreign students are also allowed to travel to Germany if their “studies cannot be continued entirely from outside” the country. Those visiting for “urgent family reasons” are also permitted into Germany.
Mandatory coronavirus tests
Germany has now introduced compulsory coronavirus tests for travellers coming back from high risk countries. Travellers must now undergo a five-day quarantine before taking a mandatory coronavirus test. If it produces a negative result, they are allowed to end the 14-day quarantine.
Test stations have been set up at airports. For more information visit the government site.