The current travel situation due to the corona virus/COVID-19 pandemic means that borders are closed to touristic travel. This overview was last updated on May 21st, 2020. I hope you will find it useful, but please keep in mind that this is a very dynamic situation, so please check the offical resources listed below frequently. I will also try to update this page as often as possible.
Currently heavy travel restrictions are in effect. The Federal Ministry of the Interior strongly discourages any non-essential travel, no matter if by German or other nationals.
Quarantine Upon Entry
Currently anyone entering Germany by land, sea or air is required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days.
There may soon be exemptions for persons travelling to Germany directly from neighboring countries.
The final decision is taken by the federal states, so there could be different rules in each states. This Patchwork is rather unfortunate; please feel free to contact me, if you should have specific questions.
UPDATE May 16th, 2020: Quarantine no longer mandatory if you are travelling from EU-States, Schengen-States including the UK to Northrhine-Westfalia, and Rhineland-Palatinate. More states to follow soon.
The situation on Germany’s land borders is growing equallly complex, as federal states and neighboring countries start Relaxing their checks and closures. A word of warning though: While a lot of media coverage is phrased along the lines of ‚Reopening‘, ‚Opening barriers‘, and ‚Dismanteling Fences‘, you still have to either
- Provide a valid reason for entering Germany such as visting your partner or family, important family events or intended medical treatment (more details here).
- Plan to transit throgh Germany or fly ot of a German airport,
- Enter as a professional in certain fields (see the offical EU-list)
Your Claim should be supported by extensive documentation!
While checkpoints on the border may close and controls may be eased, random checks both on the border and in the hinterland are far from rare.
Border to Current Status Outlook Denmark Travel Restricted by Germany new information expected on May 29th* Poland Travel Restricted by Poland due to fully reopen on June 15th Czech Republic Travel Restricted by Czech Republic due to fully reopen on June 15th Austria Sporadic Border Controls due to fully reopen on June 15th Switzerland Sporadic Border Controls at least until June 15th France Sporadic Border Controls at least until June15th Luxembourg No More Border Controls Belgium Sporadic More Border Controls at least until May 15th The Netherlands No More Border Controls
*Depending on talks between Denmark and its neighbors.
Entering Germany is currently only possible at designated border crossings (see the official list published by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community).
- For the border to the Czech Republic consult this official list by the Czech Ministry of the Interior. Information regarding Poland can be found on this website of the German Embassy in Poland (scroll down to the first underlined headline; PKW=cars, LKW=trucks, Fußgänger=pedestrians, bicycles).All border crossings between Germany and Austria, Switzerland, and France have reopened on May 16th, 2020.
Air and Sea Borders
Entry will be possible for German citizens only. Additionaly, Citizens of EU member states and their families, citizens of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their families may transit through Germany on their way home, if no other travel connection is possible. These travellers may also enter to reach their legal residence in Germany.
Restrictions and a de-facto entry-ban are in effect for Non-German nationals arriving from Italy and Spain until June 15th, 2020.
Non-EU citizens holding a permanent residency permit/long term visa in/by the EU may enter he country if returning to their place of permanent residence.
Leisure travel to Germany for EU citizens is still strongly discouraged.
Leisure travel to Germany for non-EU citizens is not permitted. This will remain in effect until June 15th, 2020.
Domestic Travel Situation
Long-distance trains run as usual while some local train and bus services may operate on reduced schedules. Interstate, state and local roads are open.
As Germany is a federal state, rules and regulations may differ from state to state. Each state even has it under its own authority to „unfreeze“ after the general lockdown – but also the grimm responsibility to re-introduce strict quarantine meassures, if the rate of new COVID-19 cases should start to rise again.
A threshold of no more than 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period per district/municipality has been set.
Thus, it will become increasingly difficult to give a general overview here. As of May 21st, 2020 these points, however, apply more or less nationwide:
- Social Distancing is mandatory: Keep a 1.5-2M distance, avoid meeting more than one friend or another household, do not gathering in large groups and wear a simple face mask on public transport, in trains, planes, and enclosed public spaces, especially shops, malls, and supermarkets.
- The majority of hotels and other accomodations are still closed for touristic stays. Some will restart taking in private guests, however, only from the respective town or state for the time being. This could be extended to domestic guests by the end of May 2020.
- Restaurants, cafés, and beer-gardens start to open in a corridor between May 9th and 22nd, 2020. The operation of bars and clubs remains restricted.
- Most tourist attractions are closed and all large events are cancelled including all summer open air festivals as well as the Munich Oktoberfest.
- Museums, zoos, theatres will slowly start to reopen on a small scale.
- Recrational facilities such as golf or tennis courses, bike and boat hire, hiking trails and beaches are reopening.
Saxony-Anhalt will be the last state to lift internal travel restrictions on May 28th, 2020, so by the end of the month travel between all 16 German states will flow freely again. There are som caveats thogh:
- The frisian north sea islands, halligs tidal islands, and the ressort town of St. Peter-Ording are closed to day tourists on Ascension Day and Pentecost bank holiday weekend (May 21st-May 24th and May 30th-June 1st).
- The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania is off Limits for day tourists until further notice. Travellers have to provide proof of an overnight booking or risk fines of up to 2,000 Euros.
- Popular destinations such as the bavarian alps are very crowded at the moment.
Domestic handling of the corona-crisis has moved back from federal to the state level of governance. On the federal Level the global travel warning issued by the German Foreign Office has been extended until June 14th, 2020 – by the same token it is very unlikely that travelling to Germany will be possible before mid-June.
Spring in Leipzig has been fantasic and in April and early May bushes almost exploded in colours. The sun was up for weeks so the yellow „carpets“ of rapeseed fields are out early.
The weather has taken a wet turn in line with the Eisheiligen, a stable weather phenomenon in early to mid-May bringing winter’s last instalment of snow in the mountains and frosty nights to the lowlands.
Cutrrently Saxony enjoys bright spring weather interspered with cloudy day that bring much needed precipitation. Temperatures are still on the chilly side and have not really crossed into the 20Cs (centigrade) yet.
Take care everyone!
This post is meant as a quick reference for non-german speakers. Information given is of general nature and can not substitute careful research of up to date official resources. While every care was taken, the author assumes no responsibility for topicality, correctness or completeness.
Any feedback, updates or corrections are highly appreciated.