The lockdown in Germany has been in place since mid-December and is set to continue until the 7th of March earliest. Although German borders are mostly open, and people can travel to Germany, there are major restrictions for travelling to Germany. Firstly, travel to Germany should only be for essential reasons – business trips can be included in this meaning if they are seen as essential. However, tourism is not a reason to travel to Germany at the moment, and there are heavy restrictions in place to prevent tourists from travelling from abroad to Germany. As the current lockdown ensures that retail outlets, museums, theatres, and most other aspects of communal life are currently closed, there should not be any reason to come to Germany at the moment, except for essential travel.
Essentially those travelling to Germany should be restricted to German citizens, people who are resident in Germany and those on connecting flights, who do not leave the transit zone of an international airport. As we will see, there are some other exceptions as listed below. However, if you are not coming from a risk area, entry to Germany is limited to the following countries under the current coronavirus travel restrictions:
In principle, entry is possible from:
- EU member states
- Schengen states: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- Other countries, from which entry is possible due to their assessment by the EU.
Under these rules, it is currently impossible for many people around the world to come to Germany.
Entering Germany from High-Risk Areas
Entering Germany from high-risk areas involves further steps which apply to German citizens, people who live in Germany and those visiting for essential reasons. In this context, countries deemed high-risk refer to those with an incidence rate of more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. The countries that are deemed high-risk areas change as outbreaks develop but the list of such countries can be found on the Robert-Koch-Institut website where it is updated regularly.
When entering Germany from a risk area, it must present a negative test dated 48 hours before the flight. For this purpose, an antibody test will not be accepted. Airlines are obliged to check for this test and will, in most cases, look for these results. Non-possession of a test result can result in the person being banned from that flight.
Upon arrival in Germany, you must spend 10 days in quarantine and fill in a digital registration. However, there are exceptions to this requirement in the following cases:
- the person in question only passed through a risk area without a stopover,
- they spent less than 24 hours in a risk area for border traffic
- they will only be in Germany for up to 24 hours,
- they are only passing through Germany and do not intend to stay
- the person is transporting people, goods by road, rail, ship or plane across borders for business and acting per the appropriate guidelines.
To digitally register, you have to visit the following website: Digital Registration on Entry. This website also outlines whether the area you have been to qualifies as a high-risk area.
If you are returning from an area with a high-risk and are required to quarantine, the quarantine period is for an initial 10 days but can be shortened following a negative corona-test. This test can be conducted 5 days after entering Germany. During this quarantine period, the person is required to remain at home and not see guests. Breaking quarantine can result in fines.
As the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis has developed, there have been great fears over the virus’s new mutations and variations. The current lockdown measures have been lengthened to reduce Germany’s likelihood of becoming overrun with these new variants. One step introduced on January 30th was an entry ban for countries where these new coronavirus variations have spread significantly.
This travel ban has initially applied to the United Kingdom, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil and South Africa. There are some exceptions to this entry ban for residents in Germany and are returning from the above-listed countries. Other exceptions include transit passengers, freight traffic and medically necessary flights.
The measures in place for these countries may change as the crisis develops and should other mutations of the virus emerge. Once again, we can recommend the Robert-Koch-Institut website for all updates as they happen.
Germany will be closing its borders with the Czech Republic and parts of Austria (Tyrol) following surges in these areas. Border controls will be in place here, but there will be exceptions made for those conducting commercial activities and those deemed essential workers (primarily those employed in the medical arena). These steps have been taken as the new mutations of the disease have emerged in these areas, with the UK variant now in the Czech Republic and the South African variant in Tyrol, Austria.
With the increase in border checks, a suspected case of coronavirus may be discovered. Should this happen, local people force will likely act to inform the local health authorities. From there, it is the responsibility of the local health authorities on what action they should take. Such steps can include performing a medical exam, screening and placing the person in quarantine on arrival in Germany. The measures taken should be per the Protection Against Infection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz, IfSG). Where they are not, and where you require legal advice as to the next step to take, make sure to contact our lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte.
Suppose you have had any legal difficulties related to any of the above measures you can find the legal assistance needed at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte. Our full-service law firm advises across all legal areas with certified experts and dedicated practice groups. We are your reliable partner for all legal issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. Contact us now to benefit from legal service by experts in the field.
At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte our legal teams are based at our offices in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf. However, we are accessible nationwide through our conference rooms in the major cities across Germany. Should you have any further legal questions or concerns about travel restrictions from Germany, or need direct legal advice relating to a specific case, please contact our firm directly. We are looking forward to working with you.