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UPDATE: Everything you need to know about travel between Germany and the UK

With the UK poised to remove all entry requirements, here's what you need to know about travel between Britain and Germany.

UPDATE: Everything you need to know about travel between Germany and the UK
Travellers at Berlin's airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

What happens for traveling from Germany to the UK?

On Friday, March 18th, the UK will end all of its Covid-related travel restrictions.

That means that people will no longer have to fill in a Passenger Locator Form or upload a negative test or proof of full vaccination before travel. 

The new rules apply for anyone entering the country after 4am on March 18th, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. 

The so-called ‘Day 2’ tests, which vaccinated people were already exempt from, will also no longer be required for unvaccinated people from this date. 

In other words, people won’t have to take any Covid tests before or after travel. 

Technically, anyone arriving from a ‘red list’ country is still subject to hotel quarantine. However, there are currently no ‘red list’ countries listed by the UK and this rule is also set to be axed by the end of the month. 

READ ALSO: Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Other things to be aware of:

While the removal of travel restrictions is set to apply UK-wide, you may encounter slightly different Covid rules across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so be sure to do your research beforehand.

England, for instance, has recently scrapped all Covid restrictions, including the requirement to self-isolate after a Covid infection and mandatory masks on public transport and in other indoor areas. 

However, in Wales and Scotland, some restrictions remain in place – though these could be removed later in the month. Read more about the respective rules and upcoming changes in each country HERE

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

You can also find more information on UK travel rules HERE. Click the following links to read more about travelling to EnglandWalesScotland and Northern Ireland.

What about travel from the UK to Germany?

The travel rules for people coming from the UK into Germany remain largely unchanged – though the status of the UK has been recently downgraded.

Fully vaccinated or recovered people coming from the UK to Germany need to carry proof of full vaccination with them when entering the country. 

Unvaccinated people travelling from most non-EU countries like the UK can only enter Germany if they can prove they have an urgent need to do so.

There are some exceptions, such as for German citizens or residents and members of their immediate family.

Due to the fact that Omicron is widely considered a lot milder than previous Covid variants, Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has recently changed its definition of a ‘high-risk’ area to only include countries with variants that are more severe. 

The upshot of this is that all countries, including the UK, have been removed from the high-risk list for the time being. In practice, this means that you will no longer have to fill in a digital entry form before entering the country. 

However, you will still need to show show proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative Covid test before being allowed entry. That means if you can’t prove you are vaccinated or recovered you will need to have a negative Covid-19 test result handy. 

The airline carrier will usually check this, and spot checks around borders may be carried out on drivers.

READ ALSO: The new rules for entering Germany with an EU pass

Other things to be aware of:

Germany recently changed the length of time that people have ‘recovery status’: it is now three months after a Covid-19 infection, not six. That means that your positive PCR test to prove your recovery should have been taken at least 28 – but no more than 90 – days ago to be accepted for entry into Germany. 

The changes to recovery status occurred around the same time as a recategorisation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The J&J vaccine had previously been marketed as a single-shot vaccine, but the Health Ministry now insists that an additional shot – making two in total – is required in order to count as a fully vaccinated. As of March 3rd, this change has been incorporated into Germany’s travel rules. 

Read our latest on the changes for more details: 

What people who’ve had the J&J jab need to know for travel to Germany

From 1st October, 2022, the length of time people count as fully vaccinated will have expiry date on it in line with EU-wide rules. That means that if you had your second dose of vaccine more than 270 days ago and didn’t get a booster shot, you will no longer count as fully vaccinated for the purposes of travel. 

There will be no expiry date for people who have had their booster jab. 

Tests, meanwhile, should be taken no longer than 48 before the time of entry into Germany. For PCR tests, this can be brought forward to the time of departure to Germany (i.e. the time of your flight). 

The rules for children have also been amended recently. Currently, only children over the age of 12 have to carry proof of their Covid-19 status when entering Germany (whether that’s vaccination, recovery or a Covid-19 test). 

Previously, this applied to everyone aged six and over.

EXPLAINED: The Covid travel rules for children 

Note that, if the UK is once again added to the risk list, passengers will have to fill in the online form before travelling to Germany and unvaccinated people will be required to quarantine. But pending another dodgy Covid variant, this doesn’t seem likely at present. 

Nevertheless, it’s always worth keeping up to date with Germany’s risk countries by checking the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) list, which is updated regularly.

There are some exceptions to having to fill out the entry form, testing and quarantine. This German government page has detailed information on the exemptions in English. 

READ ALSO: What you should know about travel to Germany during the Omicron wave

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TRAVEL NEWS

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

Germany's cut-price transport ticket is supposed to go on sale next Monday - but a battle over financing is threatening to torpedo the government's plans.

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

An feud between the federal and state governments intensified on Monday as state leaders threatened to block the government’s most recent energy package when it is put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Friday. 

The battle relates to the government’s plans for a budget transport ticket that would allow people to travel on local and regional transport around Germany for just €9 per month.

Though the 16 states have agreed to support the ticket, transport ministers are arguing that the low-cost option will blow a hole in their budgets and lead to potential price hikes once autumn rolls around.

They claim that current funding promised by the Federal Transport Ministry doesn’t go far enough.

READ ALSO: 

“If the federal government believes it can be applauded on the backs of the states for a three-month consolation prize and that others should foot the bill, then it has made a huge mistake,” Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) told Bild on Monday.

The government has pledged €2.5 billion to the states to pay for the measure, as well as financial support for income lost during the Covid crisis. 

Transport Minister Volker Wissing. of the Free Democrats (FDP), said states would also receive the revenue of the €9 ticket from customers who take advantage of the offer. 

“For this ‘9 for 90 ticket’, the €2.5 billion is a complete assumption of the costs by the federal government,” said Wissing on Thursday. “In addition, the states are also allowed to keep the €9 from the ticket price, so they are very well funded here.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) speaks ahead of a G7 summit in Düsseldorf.

However, federal states want a further €1.5 billion in order to increase staff, deal with extra fuel costs and to plan for the expansion of local transport in Germany.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Reinhard Meyer (SPD), told Bild that there would be “no approval (on Friday) as long as the federal government does not provide additional funds.”

Baden-Württemberg’s Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) also warned that “the entire package of fuel rebate and €9 euro ticket could fail in the Bundesrat” if the government doesn’t agree to the state’s demands on funding.

The Bundesrat is Germany’s upper house of parliament, which is comprised of MPs serving in the state governments. Unlike in the Bundestag, where the traffic-light coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) has a majority, the CDU is the largest party in the Bundesrat. 

What is the €9 ticket?

The €9 monthly ticket was announced early this year as part of a package of energy relief measures for struggling households.

With the price of fuel rising dramatically amid supply bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine, the traffic-light coalition is hoping to encourage people to switch to public transport over summer instead. 

The ticket will run for three months from the start of June to the end of August, and will allow people to travel nationwide on local and regional transport. Long-distance trains like IC, EC and ICE trains will not be covered by the ticket. 

It should be available to purchase from May 23rd, primarily via ticket offices and the DB app and website. 

Some regional operators, including Berlin-Brandenburg’s VBB, have also pledged to offer the ticket at ticket machines.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get hold of the €9 travel ticket in Berlin

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