Before travelling within Germany
If the incidence is less than 100, the rules take effect as set out by the federal states in their respective coronavirus control regulations. Rules may therefore vary depending on the incidence and the federal state. Before you travel – for whatever reason – check with the relevant federal state to find out what conditions apply and what the proof and testing requirements are.
Before travelling abroad
The Federal Foreign Office website offers up-to-date travel and safety advice for all countries. The Sicher Reisen travel app also provides up-to-date information on travel destinations. You can also check the information posted by the European Commission on the to see what COVID-19 rules apply when you are travelling within the EU.
Different travel warnings, testing, certificate and quarantine regulations apply depending on whether a destination is classified as a high-risk area or a virus variant area. The of the countries classed as high-risk areas and virus variant areas. Given the dynamics of the pandemic, classifications can change at short notice.
Information on which countries are subject to travel warnings is provided by the Foreign Office.
For the return journey to Germany
- Everyone entering Germany aged 12 or over must be able to present a negative test (PCR or antigen test) as of 1 August. This does not apply to vaccinated and recovered persons providing they are able to present the relevant proof. Those aged under 12 do not require a test.
- The negative test result must not be older than 72 hours for a PCR test and 48 hours for an antigen test.
- Extended regulations apply to high-risk and virus variant areas. All those entering Germany from a virus variant area must be able to present a recent negative test result (PCR test – maximum 72 hours old, or antigen test – maximum 24 hours old). This also applies to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.
The following applies to travellers who have been in a high-risk area within the ten days prior to travelling to Germany:
- In addition, a recent negative test result (PCR – maximum 72 hours, or antigen test – maximum 48 hours) is required upon entry, unless the person has recovered from the illness or been vaccinated. Children under 12 do not require a test.
- All travellers must quarantine immediately on arrival in Germany at their own expense for a period of at least ten days. Anyone who has full vaccination protection or has recovered from COVID-19 must present the relevant proof to the responsible authorities. In this case, quarantine is not required.
- The following applies to all others: the quarantine can be ended prematurely no earlier than after the fifth day by means of a negative test.
- Children aged under 12 are exempted from the testing requirement but not from the quarantine requirement. However, children under the age of 12 can come out of quarantine five days after entry – without having to take a test.
- Anyone who develops symptoms of a SARS-CoV-2 infection during the first ten days following arrival in Germany must report this to the responsible authorities. This will help us discover new variants.
The following applies to travellers who have been in a virus variant area within the ten days prior to travelling to Germany:
- Before entering Germany, all travellers must register electronically using the .
- In addition, a recent negative test result (PCR – maximum 72 hours, or antigen test – maximum 24 hours) is always required upon entry; a certificate of vaccination or recovery is not sufficient in this case. The testing requirement on entry does not apply to those aged under 12.
- Everyone – including those who have recovered or been vaccinated – must observe a strict 14-day quarantine at their own expense; in view of the particular risk posed by virus variants, there is no option here to present a negative test in order to avoid the quarantine requirement.
- Exception: anyone who has been fully vaccinated can come out of quarantine by sending in their vaccination certificate, providing the Robert Koch Institute has determined (and published on its website) that this vaccine is sufficiently effective against the virus variant that led to the area being classified as a virus variant area.
- Additional exception: the virus variant area in question is downgraded while the returning traveller is still in quarantine in Germany (i.e. it is classified as a high-incidence area or simply as a risk area). In this case, the regulations for high-incidence areas or simple risk areas apply to the termination of quarantine.
Brazil and South Africa are currently among those countries that have been designated as virus variant areas. For up-to-date information on the coronavirus situation in your destination country, see the Foreign Office website or published by the RKI.
Anyone who goes on holiday to a region that was already classified as being at risk (risk area, high incidence area or virus variant area) prior to the trip is not entitled to remuneration or compensation for the period spent in quarantine on their return.
The situation is different if you are returning from an area that was not previously classified as a risk area. Anyone who has to go into quarantine in this case – for example due to an infection – is entitled to receive remuneration from their employer equal to their net pay for the duration of the quarantine, though only for a maximum period of six weeks. The employer can apply for reimbursement of the amount paid. Compensation is the responsibility of the federal state in which the authority (e.g. the health authority) that ordered the quarantine or the ban on employment is located. From the beginning of the seventh week, the state continues to pay benefits at the level of a regular sickness allowance.
Good to know: consumer tips for your travel planning
There is no one clear answer to this question, since situations vary. It will depend on whether you have booked a package deal or are travelling individually, where you are travelling from, whether you are travelling inside Germany or abroad, and what means of transport you use.
If “unavoidable extraordinary circumstances” or “force majeure” apply at the time of travel or in the case of short trips, i.e. circumstances that could not be foreseen at the time of booking, it should be possible to cancel the trip free of charge. Immigration bans imposed because of the pandemic, for instance, or an official travel warning are important indications that consumers have the right to cancel.
In the case of package deals, you are then entitled to choose between reimbursement of the cost, issue of a voucher or the option to re-book.
The situation is not so straightforward where travel arrangements have been booked individually. If the accommodation booked cannot be used because of “exceptional circumstances”, for instance, under German law you would be entitled to withdraw from the contract free of charge. The situation might be different if you have booked accommodation directly with the property owner in another country, however, and the legal situation in that country applies.
Even if a trip is planned several weeks or months in advance, consumers cannot automatically expect to be able to cancel free of charge. The pivotal factor in deciding whether or not it is possible to cancel a planned holiday is always that the “extraordinary circumstances” apply at the time of travel or shortly before. Simply being afraid of falling ill is not sufficient reason to be able to cancel a trip free of charge. If a tour operator cancels a trip, however, they are required to refund the cost or offer a voucher.
Many travel providers now offer special supplements (flex rates) as well as free re-booking or cancellation options. Be sure to take a close look at the specific terms and conditions when booking. Does the supplement have to be booked in addition or is it included in the cost of the trip? What requirements apply to free cancellation and which of the provider’s trips or products are covered?
In general: If consumers are unable or unwilling to travel, they should contact the hotel or travel company and endeavour to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides. As an alternative to cancelling free of charge, other options would be to accept a voucher or to re-book at a later date. Consumers can also contact the consumer advice centre in their federal state, which will be happy to give them advice on their specific case, whether it involves airlines or tour operators.
The consumer advice centres and the European Consumer Centre Germany have compiled various scenarios to provide consumers with guidance in different cases.
In many EU countries, the general terms and conditions of service and the discretion of the airline determine whether a fight can be cancelled free of charge. Contact your airline and negotiate. Given the current situation, many airlines are accommodating and will offer you the chance to re-book or cancel free of charge.
If your flight is cancelled, the ticket price must be reimbursed or you must be offered alternative transport to your destination, e.g. a rail ticket, or the option to re-book on a later flight. Your rights are set out in the .
If consumers have problems getting ticket prices reimbursed, the consumer advice centres are able to offer assistance. For further information, consult the website of the European Consumer Centre Germany.
Please contact your provider to find out whether the planned trip can take place and what hygiene measures apply.
If a coach is cancelled, the provisions of the EU Coach and Bus Passenger Rights Regulation apply. The operator is obliged to inform passengers about the situation and status of the trip in good time. Contact the company to find a solution. For further information, consult the website of the European Consumer Centre Germany.
Please check with your organiser. They provide details of the applicable regulations on their websites.
Crises in your destination country are not covered by a travel cancellation insurance policy. Here you are only covered if you fall ill yourself or are unable to travel as a result of certain events (e.g. death of a close relative, unemployment, short-time work). Many insurance companies do not offer cover for damage, sickness or death resulting from pandemics such as COVID-19. If your insurance policy does include coverage for a pandemic, your insurance company may not subsequently exclude this.
Important: Be sure to check with your insurance company. Some insurance companies have recently started offering additional coverage for pandemics.
I commute across a border to work – what do I need to know?
Cross-border commuters are subject to specific testing, certification and quarantine requirements, depending on the classification of the area/adjacent (neighbouring) country to or from which they are commuting.