Is the United States finally set to open up to travellers from Germany?

Travel between the United States and Germany has been tricky for a while now, but that could all change soon - at least for some people. We look at the latest plans.

Is the United States finally set to open up to travellers from Germany?
Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York. America could soon open up to international travel and tourism once again. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christina Horsten

Can people in Germany travel to the United States at the moment?

It’s hard right now – but that could soon change. According to a report by Reuters, President Joe Biden plans to require proof of full vaccination from all foreign travellers entering the country during the Covid pandemic.

The plans are apparently being drafted with a view to reopening America’s borders to European countries and others around the world that have been shut out for more than a year by successive travel bans. 

The ban on travel from Europe to the United States was originally brought in by Donald Trump in March 2020 and extended when Biden entered the Oval Office in January 2021. It was a key discussion point on Angela Merkel’s state visit to Washington D.C. in July.

On July 26th, Biden’s administration said the travel restrictions would be extended due to the spread of the Delta variant of Covid. 

READ ALSO: Merkel pledges ‘full support’ to flood victims during White House visit

At present, non-US citizens and residents from Europe are generally unable to travel to the United States, unless they spend 14 days beforehand in a country that is not on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ‘prohibited’ list, such as Mexico or Canada.

When will the rules change?

At the moment, we haven’t heard anything directly from the White House on this – though Reuters say they’ve spoken with a “White House official” about the plans. That means there’s no fixed date for reopening, and a lot could change as civil servants thrash out the details in the coming days or weeks. 

According to reports, a number of working groups are currently busy developing plans for a transition to the new system. 

That includes “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated,” the official told Reuters.

Would I still need to take a test?

Since the plans are still being fleshed out right now, a number of other things are still unclear, like what vaccines would be accepted, whether vaccination would allow travellers to avoid quarantine, and whether a negative test would be necessary. At the moment, fully vaccinated travellers who fly into the United States are required to take a Covid test three days before travel. 


Taking another Covid test 3-5 days after arrival is also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

It’s also worth checking the rules of the state you’re visiting to see if there are additional rules you may need to follow.

What about travelling back to Germany? 

This part should be a lot easier. The United States isn’t currently on the Robert Koch Institute’s list of ‘risk areas’, meaning that returning travellers don’t need to register their arrival on the Digital Entry Portal.

When you come back to Germany though, you will need to show a recent negative Covid test (no more than 48 hours old if antigen and no more 72 hours old if PCR), or proof of vaccination and recovery. 

As the US is on Germany’s ‘safe list’ it’s also open to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers.

READ ALSO: How Germany’s new travel rules to fight fourth Covid wave may affect your travel plans

But keep in mind that the US recommends that only vaccinated citizens and residents travel to Germany.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues travel advisories for each country, with most countries in Europe ranked either level 4 (very high risk) 3 (high risk) or 2 (moderate).

Germany is ranked as level 2 currently. Some European countries such as Spain are level 4, and Americans are not advised not to travel there at all.

Member comments

  1. Yet hundreds of thousands are allowed to cross into the US from Mexico without testing or vaccinations. Unbelievable!

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


‘Trains of the future’: German rail operator plans huge modernisation

Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, is launching a modernisation offensive and plans to invest more than €19 billion in new trains over the next few years.

'Trains of the future': German rail operator plans huge modernisation

On Wednesday, Deutsche Bahn announced plans for its largest modernisation programme to date.

The record sum of €19 billion will help create the capacity needed to meet increased demand, as well as more modern vehicles which will help make the network more climate-friendly and reliable. 

“We are now investing in the trains of the future,” CEO Richard Lutz told the Innotrans rail technology trade show in Berlin on Wednesday.

At the trade show, Deutsche Bahn also showed what the regional train of the future may look like and presented a new double-decker wagon. It included special office cabins and family areas, which will go into service in Bavaria from spring 2023.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The best night trains running through Germany

To enable more people to switch from cars to trains, the company says that around extra 450 highspeed ICE trains will run through Germany in 2030 and, next year, three new ICE trains will hit the tracks every month.

Over the next few years, Deutsche Bahn will be buying trains for long-distance services at a cost of around €10 billion – most of which will be spent on the ICE 4, while around €2.5 billion have been earmarked for 73 ICE 3 Neo trains, the first of which will go into service in December.

The end of Covid restrictions and the introduction of the €9 ticket at the beginning of June has recently given a huge boost to passenger numbers on buses and trains in Germany.

READ ALSO: What we know so far about the successor to Germany’s €9 ticket

According to the Federal Statistics Office, almost 4.8 billion passengers used regular train services in the first half of 2022 alone – over 36 percent more than in the first six months of the previous year.