Coronavirus: Travel & Residences
What do I need to know?
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we travel significantly. It is not just travelling abroad that has changed; entry into Germany and residence regulations have also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read further to learn about the current entry and residence regulations in Germany.
What do I need to know?
Yes, you can travel abroad. Many countries have dropped entry bans . But there are some restrictions in some countries – partly also within EU. Before you travel, check the situation in your travel destination carefully. To learn about the situation in EU countries, visit reopen.europa.de.
You can check out the website of the Robert Koch Institute to find out which countries are currently considered “Virus Variant Area” or “Virusvariantengebiete”. As of now (September 2022) the Federal Foreign Office does not categorise any country as “Virus Variant Area” or “Virusvariantengebiete”.
On the website of the Federal Foreign Office, you can learn whether the Federal Foreign Office has issued a travel warning for a country. You can also find many other useful information on their website. Or directly contact the embassy or consulate of the country where you intend to visit and inquire. You will find the contact information of all the embassies and consulates in Germany at auswaertiges-amt.de.
For many countries, currently you need a negative test result or proof of full vaccination to enter. Within the EU, travellers can use the "EU Digital COVID Certificate" to prove they are vaccinated. For some countries, you also have to fill out an entry form. You need to inform yourself in advance about the entry regulations concerning your country of destination.
You can learn about your rights as a holidaymaker whose trip is affected due to the current situation on the website of the Consumer Center and the European Information Center Germany.
Up until January 1, 2023, anyone over 12 years of age must present a negative test result or show a negative test result, unless you come from a country categorised as a virus-variant region. You will find a list of virus-variant regions on the Robert Koch Institute’s website.
Important: This currently (as of September 2022) does not apply to travellers from China. If you want to travel to Germany from China, you need a very important reason for your trip.
Rules for people entering Germany from an area where a virus variant is common (“Virusvariantengebiet ”):
In principle, travelling to Germany from areas where new variants of the virus are widespread is currently not allowed. There is an entry and transport ban for people from these areas, i.e. they are not allowed to enter the country by car, nor are they allowed to be transported by an airline, bus company, etc. A list of the current "new variant areas" can be found on the website of the Robert Koch Institute. However, the entry ban and transport ban do not apply to:
- People with German citizenship, their spouses and children
- People who have their main place of residence and a residence permit in Germany, their spouses and children
- Certain professions such as health workers or freight transport staff
- People with urgent humanitarian reasons such as a death, childbirth or urgent medical treatment
If you are allowed to enter from a country where a new virus variant is common, the following rules apply to you:
- You need a current and negative PCR test, even if you are fully vaccinated. Children under the age of 12 do not need a PCR test. You can find out when you are legally considered fully vaccinated in our “Coronavirus: Vaccination” chapter.
- In addition, you must also register online at einreiseanmeldung.de before entering. You need to upload your negative test results, your vaccination certificate or proof of recovery - if you have one - on the website.
- After entering the country, you must immediately go into quarantine for 14 days. It is not possible to end the quarantine early. This applies to everyone, including those who are already fully vaccinated against COVID and those who have recovered from a COVID infection less than 6 months ago.
Please note The PCR test results must not be older than 48 hours and should be either in German, English or French. You have to pay for the test yourself. If your test is positive, you will not be allowed to enter Germany. If the country in which you are staying has a quarantine requirement, you must be quarantined there. You have to cover the costs yourself.
If you have only travelled through a “virus variant area” without stopping there (transit flight), the same rules apply to you as to those who enter (directly) from a non-risk area. Those who spend less than 24 hours in "virus variant area" do not have to go into a quarantine either.
Please note: In the individual federal states, there may be further rules or exceptions to the quarantine obligation. For instance, for certain professional groups such as medical staff. For more information ask with your employer. Or read the quarantine regulation of your state online. You can find the regulation which currently apply in your federal state (in German) at bundesregierung.de. To learn more about “home quarantine” check out our chapter "Coronavirus".
Check the website of the relevant Immigration Office to see if it is open. If they are partially opened again, you can apply for the extension online on their website. You can search for your Immigration Office’s website on bamf.de. Check the website and inform yourself thoroughly about the procedure. After you apply online, the Immigration Office will then send you a so-called "Fiktionsbescheinigung" in your mailbox- and your residence permit will remain valid for the time being.
If you have problems with the "Fiktionsbescheinigung" or did not receive anything at all, it is essential that you seek advice from a migration advice centre or a counselling centre for refugees. You can find one nearby on our Local Pages.
If your visa expires, and you cannot leave due to coronavirus, you will need to apply for a visa extension. You need to call or write an informal e-mail in due time and specify relevant personal data (name, date of birth, etc.) to the Immigration Office in your area. To find the Immigration office responsible for you, check bamf.de.
Please note: If your stay depends on the continuation of your employment, and you lose your job, you may have to leave the country. In case that is not possible for the time being, you will be issued a tolerated stay permit or "Duldung". You can find out more in our chapter "tolerated stay permit".
You have to apply for a new visa. The simplified process of renewal for so-called D visas (family reunification, study, etc.) was only possible until December 31, 2020.
If you are unable to acquire a language certificate, you may be eligible for a visa nonetheless if you fulfil certain requirements. Nevertheless, you have to prove that you are unable to attend a language course due to coronavirus. This regulation only applies to certain states. This regulation, however, only applies to some countries. Ask the German embassy in your country whether this regulation applies there.
If you suspect that you are infected, contact your doctor or the local Health Department. They can tell you what to do next. Please do not go to the doctor's office before first calling them. Another option is to go to your doctors' office during the visiting hours specifically assigned to COVID patients if they have such visiting hours. You can find your local Health Department's contact details on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.