How travel rules from Germany to England have become stricter

The Local Germany
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How travel rules from Germany to England have become stricter
Frankfurt airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

The UK has shaken up its Covid travel rules - but for Germany, which was a green list country, there are actually stricter regulations - plus there's a major issue for those not seen as fully vaccinated by the UK. Here's a look at what's changed.


We updated this story after the UK government provided clarification 

What's the latest?

The UK government announced its relaxed Covid travel rules on Friday, meaning that vaccinated travellers from Europe to England would no longer need to take pre-departure tests, and can use cheaper lateral flow (antigen) tests for their ‘Day 2’ test after arriving.

However, there's a huge change that people in Germany have to be aware of after the UK government effectively shelved its traffic light system. The UK is replacing it with a single red list, with simplified travel measures for arrivals who have not visited a country on the red list in the past 10 days.

Most of the changes come into force from 4am on October 4th. These rules at present affect only arrivals in England, the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have so far not indicated a change to their definitions.

Note that fully vaccinated passengers will be able to replace day 2 PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests from the end of October.


What does it mean for unvaccinated people?

Previously and up until October 4th, unvaccinated people coming from Germany to the UK could skip quarantine, because Germany was on the green list. 

But soon unvaccinated travellers coming from Germany (and other European countries) to the UK will need to quarantine for 10 days and:

What does this mean for vaccinated people?

People who've been vaccinated in the EU and travelling from Germany will need to:

As mentioned, they will no longer need to take a pre-departure test, and can use lateral flow tests for day 2 later in October. 

What about those who've received one Covid jab and a booster shot?

While the announcement spells good news for many travellers who have been vaccinated in Europe, certain people still face quarantine, despite being fully jabbed.

The UK’s Department of Health and Social care confirmed earlier this week to The Local that there was no change in policy or relaxation of those who had received only jab after recovering from the disease.

READ ALSO: Are you classed as fully vaccinated in the UK after having Covid and one jab?

The rules say: "You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England."


What about people who've had mixed-vaccine doses?

Earlier this week, there was some confusion over whether people who've received mixed vaccine doses in Europe (known as Kreuzimpfung in Germany) will be classed as fully vaccinated by the UK.

Up to this point anyone who had one dose of AstraZeneca and then a dose of Pfizer or Moderna in a European country is not considered fully vaccinated by the UK government.


However, the UK government has updated its information regarding its new Covid border rules for England (Devolved countries Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may announce different policies) after complaints that its policy towards those with mixed vaccine doses was confusing.

Here’s a summary of what the UK government’s new rules are for travel to England regarding mixed doses:

  • From 4am Monday 4th October, you will qualify as fully vaccinated if you are vaccinated either under an approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe or USA.
  • Where 2 doses of a vaccine are required for a full course, you will be able to mix 2 different types of vaccine, for example Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna

  • You will be able to have the 2 vaccinations under 2 different approved programmes, for example Australia and Japan, UK and USA, EU and Canada.

  • The government also states: “Until 4th October, mixed vaccines are only permitted if you are vaccinated under the UK, Europe, USA or UK overseas vaccination programme.”



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Eich19a 2021/10/13 16:39
Next UK Testing Scam: The Day 2 post-arrival UK test requirement has changed from PCR to Antigen (apparently less expensive). However, the major test providers e.g RANDOX are only offering Day 2 PCR Tests and have no plans to change to the cheaper Antigen/Lateral Flow tests OR they are changing the same price. Trying to find a reasonably priced Antigen Day 2 Test provider for my trip back to the UK for Christmas is an absolute nightmare. If anyone has a recommendation, I would be interested to hear...
simonslade 2021/09/22 06:15
All clear in latest update from 5.16 this morning.
  • samlangfield 2021/09/25 09:53
    funny how UK government guidance refers to "Europe" as if it's a separate geographic entity from the UK
  • cphilshaw 2021/09/22 12:39
    Thanks Simon!
thelocal_462458 2021/09/21 13:32
There’s even more madness: if you are a tourist in the U.K. and became a COVID contact case, you have to self-isolate for 10 days even if you are fully vaccinated, unless you were vaccinated by NHS in the U.K. (none of the international vaccination certificates are recognised).
  • Eich19a 2021/10/13 16:35
    I was pinged 2 days before returning to Germany by the NHS Track and Trace App (which you automatically get enrolled in from the Passenger Locator form) to tell me I was LEGALLY obliged to self-isolate. You are only exempt from 10 days quarantine if double vaccinated in the UK. Germany double vaccination with exactly the same Pfizer/BionTech vaccine doesn't count. Needless to say I took no notice of this blatantly political spite and travelled back as planned (although I did an antigen test - negative - on the morning of travel).
elliottdavid776 2021/09/21 11:06
The mixed doses applies to the whole of Europe as well as Germany and is absolutely ludicrous. How can the UK approve 17 countries worldwide but not Europe? How can it be different? Much research has been done by professionals on this topic and all the reports say that the AZ/Pfizer mix offers the best protection! Come on Britain get a grip as you are probably preventing about 60% (if not more) of people living in Europe from entering the UK without a quarantine. English tourism is desperate for visitors to return and spend their cash but this isn’t going to happen with this rule.
  • simonslade 2021/09/22 06:14
    All clear as fro 05.16 this morning - see post
cphilshaw 2021/09/21 09:49
'The UK does explicitly accept mixed doses for those travellers vaccinated in the following countries: Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan as well as those vaccinated in the UK.' But not travellers from Germany - completely barmy!!!
lavenderdmp 2021/09/20 23:18
Hello We are planning a driving visit to Switzerland, sailing from Newcastle to Ijmuiden, Holland. We are allowed through travel by Holland to Germany with 2 vaccines. Germany allows through travel, however its a long drive after getting off the ship around 11am, we normally stop overnight south of Frankfurt and continue next day. We think this means that we should get a PCR for us both to cover at least 72 hrs. Switzerland with 2 vaccines is OK. The return trip should be OK. Paul Lavender

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