COVID 19 Travel advise & visa update

COVID 19 Travel advise & visa application and extension
update for Germany

Summary of the most important information up front: Entry and borders

Germany has intensified border controls at airports and land borders. Unless travellers are resident in Germany, can demonstrate a compelling reason for their travel to Germany, or are border workers commuting between Germany and neighbouring countries, they will be refused entry. Frontier workers and goods traffic are not currently affected.

If you intend to fly to Germany, check with your airline before you travel and ensure you bring any supporting documents you need to justify your travel. If you are transiting through an airport in Germany in order to travel to another European country, you will need to have onward travel, and, if necessary, temporary accommodation booked before you will be permitted to enter Germany.

If you’re living in Germany, you can return as long as your habitual place of residence is Germany and you can provide proof of this. Proof of residence might include:

• Certificate of registration of address (also available online)
• Payslip (with German address) Free movement certificate (not issued any longer)
• Other official documents evidencing residence in Germany
– electronic residence permit (eAT)
– category D visa in passport

You should bear in mind that the situation is changing quickly and that border police in some regions may take a more strict approach.

1. Entry: travel restrictions, border controls and quarantine

Germany introduced travel restrictions for entries from outside the Schengen area on 17 March 2020. They
were prolonged on 15 April 2020, based on an EU recommendation. All corresponding entries from non-EU-citizens and citizens of non-Schengen states by plane or ship will be affected. Entry will be possible for German citizens.

Citizens of EU member states and their families, as well as citizens of the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their families are also allowed to travel through Germany to reach their home country if no other travel connection is possible. They will also be allowed to enter if their home or legal residence is in Germany. Other people may be refused entry if they cannot provide proof of urgent reasons for their entry. Please refer to the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community for details.

In addition, temporary borders controls were introduced between Germany and France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark from 8.00 on Monday, 16 March. Deliveries of goods and commuters are allowed to cross these borders. Travellers on non-essential travels may be refused entry. These border controls were prolonged on 15 April 2020. Further details are available here.

The Federal Government and the Länder have agreed that all German citizens, EU citizens, citizens of countries that signed agreements in association with the Schengen Agreement or individuals living in Germany will be required to spend two weeks in mandatory quarantine when they return to their residence in Germany after having been abroad for several days. The Länder are responsible for imposing the quarantine measures and implementing the decision. The proposed draft decree provided by the Federal Government allows for exceptions for the following groups provided the individuals in question do not have any COVID-19 symptoms are given:

  • Activities connected to the transport or health sectors, public security, diplomats, governments,
  • public administration, EU and international organisations.
  • Employees and crews of planes, ships, trains and buses that were abroad as part of their
  • professional activities.
  • Commuters and business travellers,
  • Armed forces and police
  • Transit
  • Seasonal workers

Please refer to the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior for details. The Federal Ministry of Health has issued a regulation requiring transport companies to inform passengers about these regulations via an information sheet. People entering the country are required to isolate themselves and to proceed directly to their own homes, or other suitable accommodation, immediately after their arrival and remain there exclusively for a period of 14 days after their entry into the country. They are also required to contact their competent public health office (Gesundheitsamt) without delay and inform the latter of their entry into
the country. The details of the competent public health office (Gesundheitsamt) can be found by entering your postal code into the tool on the RKI website.

According to Guidelines, local authorities will only allow hotels to provide accomodations if it is strictly necessary and not for tourism purposes. In Addition, many establishments such as bars, clubs, theatres and cinemas are required to remain closed. Essential stores such as grocery stores, supermarkets, drug stores, pharmacies and banks remain open. Other stores may be closed.

All travellers should take note of the information and instructions outlined in the following leaflet. Leaflets will be handed out by carriers to passengers on trips to Germany:

Handout on coronavirus

Passengers arriving from China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea by plane or ship, must provide information on their flight/trip. They will be handed a disembarkation card for this purpose. Disembarkation cards will also be mandatory on trains if there is a suspected case on board.

Plane disembarkation card

Ship disembarkation card

Travellers 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. More detailed information on entry requirements and procedures are available here:

Ministry of Transport

Ministry of Health

2. Facilitations for expiring visas and residence permits

To take into account the current difficulties in leaving the country before a visa/residence permit expires, the following facilitations apply:

  1. Citizens whose national visa (D visa) is about to expire should submit an application for an extension to the relevant immigration office by email before expiry. Until the decision of the immigration office has been made, the residence will remain legal. Personal details (surname, maiden name, first name, spelling of the names, date of birth, place and district of birth, gender, nationality, passport number), type of title and any file number must be specified. It is advisable to carry a printed version of the application in addition to the expired visa and your passport/ID card. 2. Citizens who were in
  2. Germany on 17 March 2020 with a valid Schengen visa (C visa) or who entered Germany after 17 March 2020 and before 9 April 2020 with a valid Schengen visa are exempted from the requirement of a residence title until 30 June 2020. The other conditions under which the respective Schengen visa was issued remain unaffected until then.
  3. 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 expiry of that period and provide their personal details (see above) to legalise their stay (if necessary by email). Provided that this application reaches the authority before expiry of the named period, the stay will remain legal until a decision is made by the immigration office. It is advisable to carry a printed version of the application in addition to the expired title and your passport/ID card. Local Worldwide Relocation Stand: Mai 2020

This also applies to third-country nationals of those countries listed in section 41 (1) of the Ordinance Governing Residence who did not require a visa to enter the Federal Republic of Germany. If the individual has approval from the Federal Employment Agency and has applied for a residence title as described above, they may take up the employment stated in the notification approval from the Federal Employment Agency. The solution above does not apply to third-country nationals of those countries listed in section 41 (1) of
the Ordinance Governing Residence who have already entered the Federal Republic of Germany and did not require a visa but who do not yet have approval from the Federal Employment Agency. They are asked to contact the relevant immigration office. Citizens whose residence permit expires during their stay abroad and who were unable to travel
to Germany in time due to existing travel restrictions may submit an application for renewal of their residence permit informally (i.e. by email) to the relevant 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 procedure described above also applies if the residence permit has already expired at the time of the application and the immigration office has approved its continued validity. Further details are available here.

3. Local measures

There are nationwide rules in place restricting movement and limiting activity:

  • gatherings of more than two people are prohibited, excluding families and members of the same household
  • all contact with other individuals should be kept to a minimum, and a distance of 1.5m should be maintained at all times.
  • commuting, exercising outdoors or offering assistance to others are permitted. Meetings deemed absolutely necessary for business and official purposes are also allowed
  • restaurants may only offer takeaway or delivery services
  • body care services, such as hairdressers, nail and tattoo salons opening up again gradually with strict hygiene measures in place.
  • workplaces must have specific hygiene rules for staff and visitors
  • visits to hospitals and care homes may also be restricted. Regulations are being enforced by the police and regulatory authorities. The German government has announced that these restrictions will remain in place until at least mid May, although states are gradually relaxing these.

There are enforced rules that require the wearing of face masks in certain public areas in all of Germany’s 16 states. The rules vary from state to state – check the latest local guidance.

Further restrictions vary by region, so you should follow the latest local guidance, much of which is available in English.

4. Further information

Further advice and information is available from the Federal Health Ministry (in English) and RKI public health agency (in German).

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information provided by:

Local Worldwide Relocation Stand: Mai 2020

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