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Reader question: What are the Covid-19 test requirements for entering Germany?

The Local Germany
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Reader question: What are the Covid-19 test requirements for entering Germany?
Travellers at Mallorca airport on August 1st. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Clara Margais

Germany has strict measures in place for people planning on entering the country. Here's a look at the current rules on testing.


If you are thinking of coming to Germany - or want to travel somewhere else and return - the first thing you should know is there are still lots of travel restrictions. 

There's a general ban in place for anyone coming from so-called 'virus variant areas of concern' zones although German residents and citizens can enter the country with restrictions. Currently, only Brazil and Uruguay fall into this category. 

There are also varying quarantine requirements in Germany if you are entering from several countries around the world, depending on whether you're vaccinated/recovered or not. 


Do you have to show a test when coming to Germany?

In general, everyone entering Germany - from any country in the world - has to show a recent negative Covid-19 test under new rules that came into force earlier in August. 

But if you are fully vaccinated or can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 then you can present proof of that instead of a negative Covid test.


But everyone - regardless of if they are vaccinated/recovered or not - must show a negative test if they are coming from a virus variant area of concern. 

What do you need to prove a test?

According to the German government, people have to show that they have tested negatively for a Covid-19 infection in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish language in paper or digital form.

The proof of testing has to refer to a test taken not more than 48 hours ago (for antigen tests) or 72 hours ago (PCR tests). These timeframes have to take in the date of entry to Germany, not your flight time. 

Note that when entering from 'areas of variants of concern', the timeframe is shortened to 24 hours if you are taking an antigen test.

One important change in the testing rule is that it now applies to people over the age of 12. That means those under 12 do not need to provide a negative test, or a vaccination or recovery certificate. Previously, everyone over six had to be tested. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about Germany's new Covid testing rules

As we said above, if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid more than 28 days ago and within the last six months then you can show evidence of this instead of taking a test in most cases.

What are the requirements on tests?

You can take a test analysed using nucleic acid amplification techniques - such as PCR, LAMP or TMA - to enter Germany. 

Rapid antigen tests are also recognised in Germany, but they must fulfil the minimum criteria recommended by the WHO.

These must meet ≥80 percent sensitivity and ≥97 percent specificity to qualify for entry into Germany.

The test certificate must indicate the date of testing and the type of test used. You may also be required to confirm your identity with photo ID when showing the test certificate. 

If a negative test result for infection with the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus is presented, but there is a justified suspicion of non-compliance with the minimum testing criteria, it generally lies within the responsibility of the authorities whether or not to recognise a test result, says the government.

For the public health offices to quickly find out whether the minimum criteria has been met, the (rapid) antigen test’s manufacturer details must be provided.

So what do you do with the tests?

You may be required to show evidence of your negative test to your carrier before boarding a flight. 

You also have to upload evidence of the test result on the entry portal before travel. Anyone who has been in a high risk or virus variant area of concern country within 10 days of coming to Germany has to fill in this form. You don't have to fill it in if you're coming from a 'non risk' area, but you still have to do a test before arriving.

For high risk countries, you can also submit proof of full vaccination or recovery from Covid. But, as we mentioned above, everyone coming from a virus variant risk country has to submit proof of a negative Covid test even if they are vaccinated/recovered.

Proof must be presented to the relevant authorities if it is requested up to 10 days after entry to Germany. 

There are also quarantine requirements. You can find more details here. 

The RKI updates the list on the classification of risk countries regularly.

What if you're coming by train, car or boat?

You still may be stopped and asked to show your negative test, vaccination certificate or proof of recovery.

There are not stationary border controls but police - or carriers such as on trains - are carrying out random checks. 

READ ALSO: Holidaymakers stopped at German borders for test checks


For further details on the rules check out the German government website (rules also in English).There’s also a helpful question and answer sheet (in German).

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. Keep an eye on official updates. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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Anonymous 2021/06/10 08:58
Does it mean that children under 12 years old need to have the tests since the vaccine is not approved for them?
  • Anonymous 2021/07/07 11:59
    Hi Emerson, yes if they are over the age of six they must stick to testing rules.

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