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How travel rules from Germany to England have become stricter

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.

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

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.

READ ALSO:

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.”

Member comments

  1. 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

  2. ‘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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

    1. 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).

    1. funny how UK government guidance refers to “Europe” as if it’s a separate geographic entity from the UK

  5. 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…

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TRAVEL NEWS

When will Germany’s €49 ticket start?

Germany announced a €49 monthly ticket for local and regional public transport earlier this month, but the hoped-for launch date of January 2023 looks increasingly unlikely.

When will Germany's €49 ticket start?

Following the popularity of the €9 train ticket over the summer, the German federal and state governments finally agreed on a successor offer at the beginning of November.

The travel card – dubbed the “Deutschlandticket” – will cost €49 and enable people to travel on regional trains, trams and buses up and down the country.

There had been hopes that the discount travel offer would start up in January 2023, but that now seems very unlikely.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany’s €49 ticket

Martin Burkert, Head of the German Rail and Transport Union (EVG) now expects the €49 ticket to be introduced in the spring.

“From our point of view, it seems realistic to introduce the Deutschlandticket on April 1st, because some implementation issues are still unresolved”, Burkert told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. The Association of German Transport Companies, on the other hand, considers the beginning of March to be a realistic start date.

The only thing that seems clear regarding the start date is that it will be launched at some point in 2023.

Why the delay?

Financing for the ticket is continuing to cause disagreements between the federal and state governments and, from the point of view of the transport companies, financing issues are also still open.

Burkert from EVG said that the federal government should be prepared to provide more than €1.5 billion for the ticket if necessary.

“Six months after the launch of the Deutschlandticket at the latest, the federal government must evaluate the costs incurred to date with the states and, if necessary, provide additional funding,” he said. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Germany’s €49 travel ticket is far better than the previous €9 ticket

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn has warned that the network is not prepared to cope with extra demand. 

Berthold Huber, the member of the Deutsche Bahn Board of Management responsible for infrastructure, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that a big part of the problem is the network is “structurally outdated” and its “susceptibility to faults is increasing.” 

Accordingly, Huber said that there is currently “no room for additional trains in regional traffic around the major hub stations” and, while adding more seats on trains could be a short terms solution, “here, too, you run up against limits,” Huber said.

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