Germany's latest travel rules for vaccinated non-EU residents: What you need to know
Germany is now allowing people from countries outside the EU to visit if they have been vaccinated, although restrictions on some regions remain. Here’s what you need to know.
There was big news earlier this summer for anyone who wants to plan a tourist trip to Germany from outside the EU: on Friday June 25th, Germany lifted entry restrictions for fully vaccinated people coming from many non-EU countries.
Travel had until this point been largely closed off to people from outside the EU since the pandemic hit in early 2020. Only those with exceptional reasons were allowed into the country.
"The federal government will allow entry from third countries for fully vaccinated individuals," said the Interior Ministry when announcing the plans last week, adding that this move will open up the possibility of tourism once again.
It comes after Germany put more countries on the 'safe list', opening up borders to a host of places including the US. For safe-list countries the restrictions are even more relaxed - travellers can provide proof of being fully vaccinated, a recent negative Covid-19 test or proof of recovery from Covid to enter Germany.
But sadly for people from 'virus variant areas of concern' there are still very tough restrictions.
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So what does this actually mean in practice?
To visit Germany from a non-EU country, you must have received a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
That currently is Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstaZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. People in Germany are counted as being 'fully vaccinated' on the 15th day after their last vaccine dose.
The government says the vaccine list will be extended in future "provided that the necessary tests have been completed".
"For fully vaccinated people, entry from third countries will generally be permitted again starting 25th June 2021," says the Interior Ministry.
"The traveller must have received the last vaccination dose that is necessary for full vaccination (in the case of a person who has recovered from coronavirus only one dose is necessary) at least 14 days before the date of travel."
What proof do I need?
The proof showing you have been fully vaccinated should be an official document issued by a recognised health authority in your country of residence.
The German government says the EU digital Covid pass or comparable proof of vaccination in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish must be presented upon entry to Germany. This certificate must include the following information:
- The personal data of the vaccinated person (at least first and last name plus your date of birth)
- The date/s of vaccination and number of vaccination doses
- The name of the vaccine
- The name of the disease against which the person was vaccinated
- The name and address of the person or institution responsible for vaccinating the person
- Confirmation in written or electronic form with the qualified electronic signature or qualified electronic seal of the person who carried out the vaccination; if for administrative reasons this is not possible, a suitable format such as a stamp or state symbols should be used to clearly identify the responsible person or institution.
Keep in mind that a photo of a vaccine certificate will not be accepted - it should be a digital or paper pass.
Germany has been rolling out its health pass in conjunction with the EU. But it is not yet available widely to people outside of the EU.
When it comes to children, Germany is allowing unvaccinated children under 12 to enter the country with proof of a recent negative test result.
"Given the uncertainty surrounding vaccination for young people, unvaccinated children under 12 years of age are allowed to enter Germany if they present proof of a negative test result and travel with at least one fully vaccinated parent," says the government.
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What if I'm not vaccinated? Can I take a test and visit Germany?
If you are an adult and are not vaccinated, and you don't come from a 'safe list' country, you will not be allowed to enter unless there is an essential reason. So a negative Covid test will not permit entry.
Non-EU nationals travelling from countries on the government’s safe list do not need to have a vaccine to enter the country. There are 15 countries on the list (as of June 25th), including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan,. Thailand, Hong Kong, Israel and the US.
The ban on entry does not apply to German citizens or members of their immediate family and to citizens of EU and associated states and members of their immediate family.
These restrictions also do not apply to non-EU countries who have a current long-term residence permit from an EU or Schengen country and their immediate family members, as long as they comply with passport and visa regulations.
What about these 'virus variant' areas?
If you are coming from a country that Germany classes as a 'virus variant area of concern' then you will not be allowed to enter. Non-essential travel to Germany from these countries will continue to be prohibited, even for those who have been fully vaccinated.
So if you've been to one of the virus variant countries on the list within the last 10 days before travel to Germany you won't be allowed to enter, unless you are a resident of Germany.
Are there any other restrictions I should know about?
You may also have to register online at www.einreiseanmeldung.de before entering Germany. That's the case for anyone who has been in a risk area, high incidence area or area of variant of concern in the last 10 days.
You should also keep in mind that airlines may have their own restrictions in place, like mandatory testing. So check before you travel.
Will things change?
Possibly, and this will depend on the Covid situation.
Keep in mind that restrictions on entry from coronavirus risk areas may still apply in the future, even if the infection situation in Germany has eased.
The Bundestag is pushing through a law which makes it possible to maintain entry restrictions for countries more severely affected by the pandemic.
The new regulation stipulates that the corresponding legal decrees can continue to apply for one year after the end of the epidemic situation. They can then also be modified if deemed necessary.
So you should keep an eye on the Robert Koch Institute’s risk status list from Germany in case there are any changes.
The country you're travelling from may also have warnings or advice for travelling to Germany so that is a factor to take into consideration, too.
What about the Delta variant?
German leaders and health experts have spoken out about their concerns about the Delta variant.
Germany has taken tough action in restricting travel from virus variant countries, and those who do enter from these countries (for example residents or citizens) have to complete a 14-day quarantine.
Keep an eye on the situation in your country and look out for developments.
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.