1. Reopening the Borders: Germany and European Union / Schengen Countries
The plan for reopening the borders is now taking priority across Europe as many countries are moving to a new stage of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Germany is also focusing on this issue. The reopening of the borders is vital for the health of the economy and to bring about some sense of normality again. It will also allow people to eventually travel across borders for business, recreational and family reasons.
Reopening the borders has become a priority as countries want to benefit from the tourist season and for the sake of the economy generally. The European Union has aimed to have the borders across Europe open again on the 15th of June.
However, some borders have already reopened fully. Others may take even longer than the June 15th aim. This is the current situation relating to Germany and the rest of Europe.
Coming to Germany from the rest of Europe
Germany has been able to reopen its borders with several of its neighbours including the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czechia and Austria. The requirement to quarantine upon arrival in Germany is also no longer in place. Germany is now in a different stage of the pandemic than it was in mid-March as the infection rate has slowed down enormously.
There are border checks with countries such as France, Denmark, Belgium and Poland and other checks and bans remain in place. However, Germany plans to fully reopen its borders with other EU and Schengen Countries on June 15th.
However, it should be noted that although Germany may not have the requirement in place that visitors should quarantine, those visiting Germany may need to quarantine in their home country upon arrival back there. Visitors from the UK and Ireland should be wary of this.
Countries Open to those Traveling from Germany:
Austria: The border between Austria and Germany can now be crossed for those living in Germany. The restrictions around the need to present a negative test result and the need to quarantine have been lifted. However, the lifting of these restrictions is in place as long as the individual has not been to Italy and other badly hit countries in the previous two weeks before traveling to Austria.
Bulgaria: Bulgaria reopened its borders at the start of June to other EU states. There is no quarantine requirement when entering Bulgaria.
Croatia: Croatia is open to those coming from Germany. However, should you plan on traveling to Croatia you will have to provide certain contact data (phone numbers, email address etc.) so that the authorities there will be able to contact you. There is no quarantine requirement in place and Croatia are looking to attract German visitors.
Czech Republic / Czechia: Czechia did have its borders closed to Germany during the midst of the pandemic but has now reopened them. Travel between the two countries is now possible again after three months of closed borders. For other countries in Europe there are restrictions based on the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in their country.
Estonia: Estonia opened its borders on June 1st to those coming from the Schengen Zone, Great Britain and other European Union countries. However, if the country in question has a high level of new COVID-19 coronavirus cases (over 15 per 100,000 within the last two weeks) then there is the requirement to quarantine for 2 weeks.
Hungary: It is now possible for people from Germany to visit Hungary. The requirement to quarantine after being in Germany has also been lifted in Hungary.
Lithuania: Like Estonia, Lithuania has reopened to countries with low rates of COVID-19 transmission within the EU / Schengen Zone. Germany is one of these countries and flight numbers between the two countries is increasing. It should be noted that Lithuania has strict rules around face coverings which must be observed.
Luxembourg: Like the Netherlands, the border between Germany and Luxembourg has reopened. There may be spot checks, but the border will be fully reopened on June 15th.
Netherlands: The Dutch border has been largely open throughout the crisis. Some spot checks may take place, but it is quite clear to travel across. The requirement to quarantine has also been removed for those making the journey into Germany.
Slovenia: Slovenia has dealt well with the Coronavirus outbreak and has reopened its borders. Visitors from Germany can visit the country. However, it should be noted that those showing symptoms of the virus may be refused entry.
Countries Open to those Traveling from Germany but with Restrictions
Belgium: The German-Belgian border was stricter than that to the Netherlands. Non-essential travel into Belgium has not been allowed for but has been for cross-border commuters and other specified groups. The border will be fully reopened on June 15th.
France: The full reopening of the border between France and Germany will take place on the 15th of June. During the course of the pandemic it has been possible for commuters and those involved with deliveries to cross the border, there have also been extensive checks.
Ireland: Flights between Germany and Ireland have been reduced since the start of the pandemic. There is also the requirement to go into quarantine for two weeks when entering Ireland. Documentation also must be filled out in the shape of a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form”, stating the address of residence in Ireland. Once again, there is no requirement to quarantine when traveling from Ireland to Germany, but there is should you return to Ireland afterwards.
Portugal: It is possible to fly to Portugal from Germany but there are restricted services. The border between Spain and Portugal is currently closed so therefore, the land route is not open. This border will be reopening on July 1st. However, it should also be noted that further travel to the Azores and Madeira is currently not possible as they will be reopening in early July. There is no requirement to quarantine when in Portugal.
Sweden: Sweden did not put a lockdown in place as in other countries around Europe. The borders between Sweden and its neighbours have been closed but it is still possible to visit there. However, should somebody coming from Germany visit Sweden they may be faced with quarantine upon arrival back in Germany. This has been decided upon by a number of German Bundesländer / States.
The United Kingdom: It is possible to travel to the United Kingdom but there is a requirement for two weeks of quarantine. This requirement to quarantine is in place for visitors coming from all over the world. For travelers from the UK, there is no set requirement to quarantine in Germany (see “Lifting of Quarantine Rules in Germany“).
Countries not yet Open to those Traveling from Germany: Borders Reopening June 15th / Later
Denmark: Denmark will be reopening its borders with Germany on June 15th. Some leeway has been made for those with holiday residences in Denmark, however, with border controls in place, those who have shown symptoms of COVID-19 have been refused entry.
Greece: Greece has aimed to reopen for tourism this summer. The manner of how hotels and so forth operate will be heavily influenced by the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis in terms of social distancing methods and other hygiene practices. Greece has also determined from where visitors can come from, with visitors from certain European countries with high levels of COVID-19 not permitted to visit. However, flying from Germany is permitted! There may be some random checks, and should a person be found with COVID-19 they will be forced to quarantine for the duration of their stay.
Iceland: Iceland has been very successful in its handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The borders will be reopening here on June 15th and will involve those flying into Iceland receiving tests upon arrival. These tests will have quick response times and should the person test negative for COVID-19 they will be able to continue with their visit to Iceland. However, if they do show up as COVID-19 positive, they will have to self-isolate.
Latvia: Latvia is in the process of reopening following lockdown and will be reopening to German visitors on June 15th.
Malta: Malta will reopen to tourists from selected countries (including Germany) on July 1st.
Norway: Norway has strict controls in place and has advised its citizens against traveling unnecessarily until mid-August. Their border with Denmark will be reopening on June 15th and possibly with other neighbours. They will reconsider making further openings on July 20th.
Poland: Poland is also seeking to reopen on June 15th. Poland is also in the process of reopening from its lockdown.
Slovakia: Slovakia have opened their borders to Hungary and Austria but not yet with Germany. Slovakia has dealt well with the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis and is at a late stage of reopening post-lockdown. The reopening of borders with the rest of the EU is expected to take place on June 15th.
Spain: Spain was one of the worst hit countries by the COVID-19 crisis, but a tough lockdown has contributed to case numbers falling. Spain hopes to benefit from tourism this summer but will reopen later than other EU / Schengen countries. Spain is planning on reopening in July but has plans to reopen the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands at the end of June for German, French and Scandinavian tourists.
Switzerland: Switzerland has been open to some visitors from Germany since May, but the full reopening between the two countries will take place on June 15th. A level of reopening was allowed for in order to permit families separated by the border closing to reunite.
2. Reopening the Borders: Germany and Non-EU / Schengen Countries
Currently, there have been no moves made to reopen the borders to non-EU / Schengen countries. The travel ban on those coming from outside of the EU / Schengen Zone will last until at least the start of July. From July the decisions made will be most likely based on a case-by-case basis depending on factors such as how hard the crisis has hit the country in question.
The EU will work together on this issue, but like the internal border situation it is likely that different countries will make decisions as to who they will allow inside. From July we will be able to report on the situation.
We will keep our clients, who are based outside of the European Union, aware of any and all developments in this area as they happen.
Our Services in Immigration Law
At Schlun & Elseven Attorneys we are a full-service, multidisciplined law firm in Germany. In the field of immigration we provide a full-range of services which allow people from all over the world to come to Germany. Whether it is for a short stay with a Schengen or Business Visa, or for a longer stay on an EU Blue Card or ICT Card our lawyers can provide the assistance you need. Our lawyers assist businesses and professionals with their move to Germany, their establishment in Germany and also with other legal issues they may experience during their time in the country.
If you want to find out more about the business or personal opportunities available to you with the reopening of Germany’s borders, please make sure to contact us directly using the contact form below this article. Our lawyers look forward to working with you.
At Schlun & Elseven Attorneys, our immigration & business immigration lawyers are committed to providing continuous support and counsel to our clients throughout this crisis. Our offices are located in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf and we have conference rooms in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. We can provide our services by phone, through email and by video conferencing. We work with a diverse range of clients from all over the world, in cases which concern German law and cross-border issues.
Further updates concerning COVID-19 coronavirus in Germany, please visit the website of the Robert-Koch Institut. The information here can also be accessed in English as well as German.
If you need further advice about the loosening of restrictions and the reopening of borders with Germany, then please contact us directly. We provide our services in English as well as German. We will remain active through this crisis to ensure that our clients receive the assistance they deserve. Contact us today for further counsel.