If you are planning to travel to Germany, here is what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Germany’s border policies are changing rapidly as the country regularly updates its lists of high and moderate risk destinations. As cases with Delta variants and now Omicrom increase, Germany is accelerating its vaccination campaign. But the country is also at the heart of the new European wave. To control the rapid increase in the number of cases, unvaccinated people will now be prohibited from participating in most non-essential parts of daily life. They have been designated areas of variant concern. The UK was added to this list on December 20.
Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt have long been great cultural successes. But there is more to Germany than its magnificent cities, from hikes in Bavaria to wild forests on the French border and a vastly underrated coastline in the north. Add in excellent road and public transport connections and this is a ripe country for those interested in a long, free vacation. On November 26, together with other EU states, Germany imposed a temporary ban on arrivals from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini until further notice.
In principle, residents of the EU member states and the Schengen associated states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can enter Germany without restrictions, although if they are classified as high risk or have a variant of concern, they apply restrictions. Arrivals from various EU countries must now be quarantined if they are not vaccinated; see below. Arrivals from other countries depend on the epidemiological situation and vaccination status. As of December 24, tourists are allowed without restrictions from 19 destinations outside the EU.
Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Macao, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay. See here for a complete list. All arrivals must complete a digital registration form prior to travel. Those entering by plane must provide a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel or proof of complete vaccination. Travel for EU and Schengen-related residents is not restricted, although you must use your EU digital certificate recovery or negative test.
If you have been to a designated high-risk country in the past 10 days, you must provide a negative test result and must travel directly to your destination and quarantine there for 10 days. Those in a high-risk area can terminate the quarantine early if they test negative after five days. The quarantine requirement does not apply if proof of vaccination or recovery. If you have been in a “variant area of concern,” there is a ban on entering by rail, ship, plane, or bus. Essentially, you must drive and then self-quarantine for 14 days.
The list was last updated on December 23. There are no new areas of concern (since the UK joined on December 20), which means there are nine in total: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the UK. There are six new high-risk areas: Cyprus, Finland, Monaco, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Spain and the US. Austria, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malaysia and Serbia have been eliminated. That leaves about 90 high-risk areas. The current list, last compiled on December 23, is here.