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Returning from holiday? Here’s what you should know

Seeking a stress-free return from your summer Urlaub? We break down the latest testing, quarantine and registration requirements for travellers entering Germany.

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Holidaymakers returning to Germany face differing requirements depending on their vaccination status and their country of departure. Photo: Imago Images/Photothek

Off on your long-awaited summer hols? Unsure of which rules apply to you? We break down the latest Covid-19 testing and quarantine rules that apply when returning to Germany.

Risk level: How are countries categorised?

Countries are grouped into three categories: non-risk area, high-risk area and area of variant of concern. The old category ‘risk area’ no longer exists. High-risk areas are designated according to factors such as higher incidence rates (infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days) than Germany, or a high rate of hospitalisations.

Areas of variants of concern are countries with prevalent virus mutations that aren’t yet dominant in Germany, but that are more lethal or resistant to available vaccines. You can check here (scroll down for English updates) which category your destination falls under. 

What to do when you return from:

A non-risk area (Kein Risikogebiet)

When arriving from countries that aren’t considered risk areas, no quarantine or digital registration on entry is required. However, if you do not have proof of full vaccination or recent recovery from Covid-19 infection, you will need to present a negative test result. This can either be a PCR test no older than 72 hours, or an antigen test no older than 48 hours. This rule applies regardless of whether you enter the country by car, plane or train. Children under the age of 12 do not need to get tested.

A high-risk area (Hochrisikogebiet)

If you’re returning from a high-risk area like the Netherlands, UK or Spain, you will need to file a ‘Digital Registration on Entry‘ at www.einreiseanmeldung.de (run by the Robert Koch Institute), regardless of age and vaccination status. Fully inoculated and recently recovered people don’t have to quarantine or present a negative test. Non-vaccinated travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days, but can opt to take a test on day five to end their isolation period early. Children under 12 only need to quarantine for five days either way. Proof of vaccination or recovery should be delivered digitally before entering the country to avoid quarantine – you’ll be expected to isolate until valid confirmation has been submitted.

An area of variant of concern (Virusvariantengebiet)

Returnees from areas of variant of concern – currently Brazil and Uruguay – have to register online and show a negative test result with or without vaccination or recovery. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the testing requirement. Everyone returning from those countries has to quarantine for 14 days, including children and vaccinated travellers. Quarantine does not apply if the vaccine used is considered effective against the dominant virus variant of the area. However, the rules on self-isolation are stricter here: you cannot shorten your quarantine period by taking a test.

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The current Covid-19 test requirements for travellers entering Germany. Photo: Courtesy and © Bundesregierung