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Germany Coronavirus: What do I need to know about travel restrictions before entry?

If you are travelling to Germany here are some things you need to note regarding coronavirus entry restrictions. The German Federal Foreign Office has explained the most recent rules regarding entry to Germany amid the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when most countries are discussing a possible end to border closure and a revival of tourism in the EU.

Travel restrictions, border controls and quarantine

Germany introduced a ban on travellers from the non-EEA countries in March 2020, which was last prolonged on May 14, 2020. Ever since, exempt from the ban remain the following categories:

  • German nationals
  • Nationals of EU member states and their close family members
  • Nationals of the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their close families

The last two categories are permitted to travel to and through Germany to reach their home country if there isn’t any other travel connection available. Those whose home or legal residence is in Germany will also be permitted to enter. Other people who cannot provide proof of urgent reasons for their entry may be refused.

“In addition, temporary borders controls between Germany and France, Austria and Switzerland have been prolonged. The same applies to air borders with Italy and Spain. Deliveries of goods and commuters are allowed to cross these borders. Travellers on non-essential travels may be refused entry,” the Foreign Office explains. Depending on the regulations of each Federal State, people coming from abroad may have to go through mandatory quarantine. On the other hand, those arriving from China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea either by air or sea, must provide information on their flight/trip, through a disembarkation card which they will be handed upon arrival in Germany.

Read more information on German Laws and legislation here: Legal News and Guides – Germany

Travelers should also expect more scrutiny during checks, as more comprehensive questions may be posed, and health checks performed in doubtful cases. Measures may also be adjusted when necessary.

Facilitations for Expiring Visas

Amid the difficulties caused by the Coronavirus outbreak for those who had to leave the country before their visa/residence permit expiration date, the authorities in Germany have introduced several facilities as well. Holders of Schengen Visas, who were in Germany on March 17, or who entered after that date and before April 9, are exempted from the requirement of a residence title until June 30, 2020. The rest of the conditions under which the respective Schengen visa was granted remain unaffected until then.

“Citizens who are allowed to enter and stay in the Schengen area for 90 days within a period of 180 days without a visa should contact the relevant immigration office before the expiry of that period and provide their personal details to legalise their stay,” the Foreign Office also notes. Given that their application reaches the relevant authority before the expiration of the named period, their stay in Germany remains legal until a further decision. The foreign office advises this category of persons to carry a printed version of the application alongside with their passport/ID card.

Facilitations for Expiring Residence Permits

Holders of German National Visas (D Visas) that are about to expire should file an application request for an extension to the relevant immigration office by email before the expiration of their visa. Their residence in Germany is legal until a further decision of the immigration office. The foreign office advises this category of persons to carry a printed version of the application alongside with the expired visa and their passport/ID card.

As per German residence permit holders whose permit expired while they were abroad and who were unable to travel to Germany in time due to existing travel difficulties, they may file an application for renewal of their residence permit informally (i.e. by email) to the immigration office.

“If the application is submitted before the expiry of the residence permit, the residence permit will remain valid from the time of its expiry until a decision is made by the immigration office. For subsequent re-entry, however, a Fiktionsbescheinigung (fictional certificate) is required, which will normally be sent to the diplomatic mission nearest to the person’s place of residence,” the office further explains. The same procedure also applies if the residence permit holders whose permit has already expired at the time of the application, and the immigration office has approved its continued validity.