Updated: Jul 30, 2021
Photo: personal archive.
Europe 2021 - Blog post series on Covid travel rules
It's no easy feat figuring out rules for traveling abroad these days. Rules can change drastically from one day to the other and trusting your airline or travel agent to provide you with all the correct instructions may not be the wisest choice.
We want to help you out, so we decided to write a blog post series detailing Covid travel restrictions by country. Even though we can't promise to have the most up-to-date rules either after the post date (I'm not kidding when I say things change very often!), at least we'll provide you with all the links you need to find the updated official information.
Germany is our first destination! Check out our EU general post for the links for other countries.
Who can travel without restrictions?
No travel bans* for visitors:
from the EU and Schengen** area;
from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, USA and others (list from 18/7/21. Check out the updated list, in English)
that have been completely vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines, except if they come from one of the countries that are classified as having variants of concern (read more below). As of the date of publication of this post, approved vaccines are: Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca and Janssen.
below 12 years of age, when traveling with at least one fully-vaccinated parent, as long as they provide proof of a negative Covid test result.
You are considered fully vaccinated if:
you received the second dose (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca) or only dose (Janssen) of vaccination at least 14 days ago;
you recovered from Covid and received at least one dose of any of the approved shots.
The vaccination certificate can be presented in digital or printed form and in one of the following languages: German, English, French, Italian or Spanish. The certificate should provide the following information:
personal info (full name, date of birth);
dates of vaccination and number of doses;
name of the vaccine;
name of the disease;
name and address of the person or institution responsible for the vaccination;
confirmation in written or electronic form with the qualified electronic signature or seal of whoever carried out the vaccination.
If you aren't one of the lucky ones that fit into one of the categories above, you can only travel to Germany if you can prove an urgent need for travel.
Travel restrictions if you're not on the safe list
All visitors entering Germany by plane or coming from one of the risk areas need to provide the airline or carrier proof of:
negative test results carried out 72h (for PCR tests) or 48h (for rapid antigen tests) before entry in Germany. If the traveler is coming from one of the areas of variants of concern (check below), the rapid antigen test must be done 24h before entry.
vaccination (check above for detailed info on the vaccination certificate)
recovery from Covid. The visitor must present proof of a positive test result for Covid (PCR test) carried out no less than 28 days and no more than 6 months prior to travel. Accepted languages are German, English, French, Italian and Spanish.
Visitors from areas of variants of concern must always present a negative test result, even if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.
Any traveler that spent time in a risk area in the 10 days before arriving in Germany must register online before traveling and carry along the proof of registration in pdf or printed form to present to airlines, carriers or border control. To register, the traveler must have been fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid or received a negative Covid test result.
Germany classifies countries according to the risk they present for Covid, in areas of:
variants of concern - areas with widespread occurrence of a virus variant that is not widespread within Germany and that can pose a particular risk, such as variants that are more transmissible, cause more severe symptoms or weaken the effect of immunity conferred by vaccination or recovery;
high incidence - countries where, in general, the number of cases surpasses 200 per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last seven days;
basic risk - countries where, in general, the number of cases is higher than 50 per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last seven days.
Please note that the evaluation takes under consideration other facts besides the case count, such as the accuracy of the data, the quality of the Covid response effort in the country as well as the testing and contact-tracing measures in place. The list of countries from risk areas and their classification is available here.
If you come from a basic risk area:
quarantine can be waived (or shortened) if you present a negative Covid test result, proof of full vaccination or recovery.
Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Philipines, Venezuela and others (updated list, in German).
If you come from a high-incidence area:
10-day quarantine that can be shortened if you receive a negative test result in a test taken 5 days after entry.
Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russia, UK and others (updated list, in German).
If you come from a area of variants of concern:
14-day quarantine that can't be shortened, even if you receive a negative test result from a test taken after you arrive.
Brazil, Mozambique, South Africa and Uruguay, among others (updated list, in German).
Please note that the classification of the countries listed on this item is based on information available on July 16, 2021.
What is considered an urgent need for travel?
Besides exceptions related to special types of professionals such as diplomats, other travelers like refugees or immigrants are also allowed, in special cases. We will only cover travel to see family or loved ones.
It's possible to visit family and loved ones
The family member or partner must be a resident of Germany.
Who can travel?
Spouses, civil partners, children under 18 or parents of children under 18 can travel without restrictions. In the case of spouses or civil partners, the other spouse or partner can be a resident of Germany or a citizen of the EU or Schengen area;
1st-degree and 2nd-degree relatives (including adult children, parents of adult children, grandparents and siblings) can only enter Germany in case of an urgent family reason:
death or funeral;
serious illness of a relative that urgently needs help;
absence of any other adult who is the legal guardian of a child under 18.
People in a romantic relationship, as long as it's a long-term relationship and there's proof that the partners have previously met in person at least once.
What documents do you need for short-term family visits?
Marriage certificate or certificate of civil partnership;
Proof of the urgent family reason, if that's the case;
For partners, a statement (in German), signed by both partners and providing proof of:
common abode (lease agreement, resident registry or, in case none of these are available, a declaration from both parts indicating the address where they share a home);
proof of the relationship (pictures, messages, emails etc.).
For people in romantic relationships:
An invitation letter from the partner living in Germany, with a copy of his/her/their identification documents;
a statement (in German), filled out by the partner living in Germany and signed by both, that contains proof:
that it is a long-term relationship (emails, messages, photos etc.);
of at least one personal encounter (passport stamps, travel tickets etc.);
Marriage, birth or civil partnership certificates must be apostilled and translated.
In the case of a short-term visit to a love interest in Germany, only one visit of less than 90 days is allowed in any 180-day period.
Rules for travelers in transit through Germany
Travelers from outside the EU and Schengen** area can enter Germany when in transit to another country, as long as they:
remain in Germany only as long as absolutely necessary to travel directly to the country of destination or another transit country;
are permitted to enter the country of destination or another transit country.
Transit travelers must prove they fulfill the conditions above by presenting, among others:
if the destination country is:
in the EU or Schengen** area, copy of the legislation of the destination country that allows entry or document issued by the destination country stating that the traveler is allowed to enter;
outside the EU or Schengen** area, regular travel authorization papers such as passport, visa, residency card etc.
You still need to check entry regulations of the countries you’re travelling to several times. Make sure you know all the rules when planning your trip but confirm everything before buying tickets and on the week and day before your trip.
Take a copy of the latest travel rules of your destination country with you. They change often and sometimes even airlines or immigration officials from countries other than your destination may not have been updated on the latest changes.
Disclaimer: this post is for information purposes only and is based on info available on July 22, 2021. You need to search the official sources for verifiable and up-to-date information.
* "No travel-ban visitors" are travelers who do not face restrictions on travel due to Covid and are allowed to go on leisure trips to the destination country listed. Other restrictions, such as visas, may apply.
** The Schengen area includes the countries of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Links where you can find updated and trustworthy info:
Current Information for Travellers - German Ministry of Health (in English)
Covid FAQ - German Ministry of Health (in English)
Covid FAQ - German Ministry of the Interior (in English)
So, did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments section if there is anything we forgot to cover.