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

Reader question: What are the Covid-19 test requirements for entering Germany?
Travellers at Frankfurt airport on May 21st. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst
Germany has strict testing measures in place for people planning on entering the country. As many people are considering travel, here's a look at the current rules.

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 such as Brazil and South Africa although German residents and citizens can enter the country with restrictions. 

There are also quarantine requirements in Germany if you are entering from several countries around the world. 


When do you have to show a test before boarding a flight to Germany?

In general, everyone entering Germany by plane – from any country in the world – has to show a recent negative Covid-19 test. 

There are some instances when people do not have to show a negative test. For example, 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 test. 

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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.

READ ALSO: Will it be possible to travel to Germany this summer?

Everyone over the age of six is affected by the testing rules. 

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 risk, high incidence 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 ‘risk free’ area, but you still have to do a test before air travel.

For risk or high incidence 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. 

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 or car?

If you are travelling by land (eg train or car) from a basic risk area (not a high incidence or virus variant area), you can submit evidence of your negative Covid-19 test on the entry portal site within 48 hours of crossing the border into Germany.

But you have to do it before entering Germany – on the rules detailed above – if you’re coming from a high incidence or virus variant area. You don’t have to submit a test if you’re travelling by land from a non-risk area. 

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. 

Member comments

  1. Does it mean that children under 12 years old need to have the tests since the vaccine is not approved for them?

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