Please note this article was updated on October 19th. The situation is subject to change so keep an eye on official advice.
Throughout the pandemic, Germany has introduced travel restrictions to try and control the spread of coronavirus.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health maintains an updated list of risk areas. People coming from these areas have to quarantine and take a test when they arrive in Germany.
There are also several domestic risk areas in Germany which you should be aware of. If you live in a risk area you're affected by internal travel restrictions and there are likely tougher restrictions in place like curfews and contact restrictions.
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What is a risk area?
A risk area is any country or region outside Germany where this is an increased risk of infection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
How many places are classed as risk regions?
Around 160 countries or regions around the world are considered to be high risk regions by Germany. They include the USA, India, Mexico, South Africa, Spain (including the Canary Islands), Belgium, and Israel.
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Some of these countries, such as India, Mexico and South Africa, were included in the worldwide warning against tourist travel implemented by the German government in March.
Germany lifted the blanket travel warning from October 1st but replaced it with specific guidance. If countries are still deemed to be 'high risk', people in Germany are still warned against visiting them.
The very few non-EU countries that are not listed as risk areas include Australia, Canada, China, Vietnam, New Zealand and Japan.
Travel has been allowed in the EU since mid-June but restrictions can change when regions and countries are declared high risk.
What are the latest developments?
As of October 19th:
Finland: the region of Ostrobothnia is considered a risk area.
France: the whole of mainland France is a risk area.
Ireland: the Mid-West, South-West, Mid-East, West and Midlands regions are now also considered as risk areas. They join the border region (since September 30th) and Dublin (since September 23rd).
Italy: the regions of Campania and Liguria are now considered as risk areas.
Croatia: the counties of Grad (city) Zagreb and Međimurska are now also considered as risk areas.
Malta: the whole country is considered a risk area.
Netherlands: the whole of the Netherlands is now considered a risk area.
Poland: the regions Kujawsko-pomorskie, Małopolskie, Podlaski, Pomorskie and Świętokrzyskie are considered as risk areas.
Portugal: the Norte region is now also considered a risk area. Lisbon has also been a risk area since September 23rd.
Sweden: the provinces of Jämtland, Örebro, Stockholm and Uppsala are considered as risk areas.
Switzerland: the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg, Jura, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Uri, Zurich and Zug are now also considered as risk areas.
Slovakia: the whole country is now considered a risk area.
Slovenia: the regions of Jugovzhodna Slovenija, Pomurska and Podravska are now also considered as risk areas. They join several other regions in the country.
Hungary: the region/comitat of Veszprém is now also considered as a risk area. It joins several other regions including Budapest.
UK: England: the East Midlands and West Midlands regions are now also considered as risk areas.
They join the North East, North West and the Yorkshire and the Humber in England. Plus Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
The country Namibia is no longer considered a risk area.
Which other European regions are classed as risk areas?
Czech Republic – complete country since September 25th
Denmark – Hovedstaden since September 23rd
Estonia – the following regions are classified as risk areas: oIda-Viru (since September 30th)
Iceland – since September 30th
Kosovo – since June 15th
Luxemburg – (July 14th – August 20th) and again since September 25th
Romania – since October 7th
Lithuania – the following counties are classified as risk areas: Kaunas (since October 7th) Šiaulių (since September 30th)
Countries or regions are declared risk regions when there have been more than 50 new cases per 100,000 citizens in the past seven days.
The decision is made by the Federal Foreign Office, the Interior Ministry, the Health Ministry and the RKI.
Other factors are taken into account such as which measures are being taken to halt the spread of Covid-19, if it's a local or widespread outbreak plus testing strategies and rules in place such as hygiene or contact tracing.
A list of the regions considered risk areas can be found on the RKI website, which is updated regularly.
What does it mean?
Travellers returning to Germany from coronavirus risk areas must be tested and go into quarantine until the results are available.
The country is in the process of changing rules. In the coming weeks, anyone returning to Germany from a risk zone has to go into quarantine for 14 days. After five days the person affected can take a free coronavirus test and if it is negative, the quarantine period can be ended.
The implementation of this and the rules around it lies with the individual German states. Please contact the health department of the state you are visiting or living in for detailed information.
Editor's note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.