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Information on visa applications, entry to Germany and quarantine regulations

19.01.2021 - Artikel

Here you can find information on visa applications, entry to Germany and quarantine regulations.

Processing of visa applications

Visas can currently only be issued in the specific exceptional cases listed below:

  • Healthcare professionals, health researchers and elderly care professionals;
  • Transport personnel employed in the movement of goods; other transport staff;
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture;

  • Sailors who need to travel through Germany to reach a port from which their ship is sailing or an airport to return to a third country;

  • Temporary visits in the following cases:
    - Visits by third-country members of the “nuclear Family” (i.e. spouses, registered partners, minor children and parents of minor children) of German citizens, EU citizens, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or of third-country nationals with a valid residence permit for Germany. These persons can enter Germany on their own or together. In the case of third-country nationals with a valid residence permit for Germany, they must additionally have their permanent residence in Germany.
    - only for imperative family reasons (births, marriages, deaths/funerals or other specific exceptional cases where there is an imperative family reason):
    Visits by first and second-degree relatives who do not belong to the ”nuclear family“ (i.e. children over the age of majority, parents of children over the age of majority, siblings and grandparents) of German citizens, EU citizens, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or third-country nationals with a valid residence permit for Germany.
    - Visits by the third-country partner to a non-married/non-registered partner in Germany. The partner issuing the invitation must be a German citizen, a citizen of another EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or a third-country national with a long-term residence permit for Germany.
    a. It is conditional on the relationship/partnership being long term, i.e. intended to be lasting and both partners having met in person in Germany at least once or until recently having had a joint place of residence abroad.
    b. Appropriate documentation must be provided as proof:
    a written invitation from the person resident in Germany (including a copy of ID papers), a declaration by both partners on the nature of the relationship ( / ) and proof of prior meetings in person (specifically in the form of passport stamps or travel documentation/airline tickets or proof of a joint place of residence abroad (e.g. residence registration certificate)). Supplementary proof can be provided in the form of documentation such as photos, social media, letters and email correspondence.
    - In the case of serious personal reasons:
    visits by unmarried couples from abroad travelling together (e.g. wedding, illness or funeral of close relatives). One of the partners must be a German citizen or a citizen of another EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom.

  • Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel, humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions;

  • Passengers in transit;

  • Persons in need of international protection or protection for other humanitarian reasons, including urgent medical reasons;

  • Applications for family reunification. If entry into Germany for a permanent stay is possible due to one of the exceptions listed here, it is also possible for family members to enter Germany at the same time (e.g. the spouse and minor children of a skilled worker can enter Germany together with the skilled worker).

  • Applications from skilled workers and highly qualified workers from the following categories:
    - skilled workers with a concrete job offer in accordance with the legal definition (sections 18 (3), 18a, 18b of the Residence Act), as evidenced by the declaration of employment
    - scientists/researchers (section 18d of the Residence Act)
    - secondments (section 19c (1) in conjunction with section 10 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment) and in‑company transfers (ICT) restricted to managers and specialists (sections 19 (2), 19b of the Residence Act)
    - senior employees
    - managers and specialists (sections 19c (1) in conjunction with section 3 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment)
    - IT experts (section 19c (2) of the Residence Act in conjunction with section 6 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment)
    - employment in particular public interest (section 19c (3) of the Residence Act)
    - business travellers
    Entry as a skilled worker or highly qualified employee is conditional on proof of an obligation to be present in Germany (e.g. employment contract) and prima facie evidence that employment is necessary from an economic perspective and that the work cannot be postponed or carried out from abroad (verification from the employer/contractor). Economic necessity refers to economic relations and/or Germany’s economy or that of the single market. Relevant documentation must be carried and presented to border control personnel.

  • Persons employed under contracts for work and services (section 19c (1) in conjunction with section 29 (1) of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment), only Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey

  • Students whose studies cannot be performed entirely from outside Germany. This exemption applies to all those who have a notification of admission (even if preceded by a language course or an internship). It does not, however, apply to university applicants and those who wish to travel to Germany for a language course and then look around for a course of study (isolated language course). Evidence of an obligation to be present in Germany is necessary in the form of verification from the university (e.g. via email); documents must also be presented to border control personnel.

  • Apprentices who are completing a qualified training course. This must be a training course for a state-recognised or similarly accredited training occupation with a planned duration of at least two years (with a preparatory language course). A prerequisite is submission of confirmation from the training provider that it is necessary for them to enter Germany even taking the current pandemic situation into account (actual, not merely online presence).

  • Participants in additional training opportunities with the goal of having vocational training courses completed abroad recognised. Here, too, confirmation is required from the training provider that it is necessary for them to enter Germany even taking the current pandemic situation into account (actual, not merely online presence).

  • School pupils who are attending a boarding school for a period of at least six months (possibly with prior language course)

Information on entry restrictions and quarantine regulations in Germany 

Entry restrictions

For Germany, travel restrictions apply for entry from a large number of countries. These are issued by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community. Please check with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) prior to your trip to find out what regulations apply specifically with regard to the country from which you plan to enter Germany.

In principle, entry is possible from:

EU member states

states associated with Schengen: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Other countries, from which entry is possible due to the epidemiological situation assessment by the EU.

Entry from any other country is only possible in exceptional cases and is conditional on there being urgent need.

Digital entry registration

Travellers who have visited a risk area, high incidence area or virus variant area in the last ten days before entering Germany must register at www.einreiseanmeldung.de before arriving in Germany and carry proof of registration with them upon entry.

This obligation always applies to those entering the country who have previously stayed in virus variant areas. Certain exceptions apply for previous stays in other risk areas and high incidence areas. In particular, those who have only passed through a risk area and have not had a stopover there are exempt.

If, in exceptional cases, it is not possible to complete a digital entry registration, travellers must instead fill out a substitute registration on paper.

Travellers can find more information in a fact sheet as well as on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Test requirement on entry

Travellers aged six years or older who have been in a high incidence area or in a virus variant area in the past ten days prior to entry into Germany must carry proof that they have been tested for infection with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus with them upon entry and present it to the competent authorities upon request and, if necessary, to the transport company prior to travelling.

Travellers who have visited any other risk area (neither high incidence area nor virus variant area) during the ten days prior to entry into Germany must be in possession of a test result no later than 48 hours after entry and present it to the competent authorities upon request.

The lists of high incidence areas, virus variant areas and other risk areas are published on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.

The test must have been performed no more than 48 hours prior to entry (time of swabbing). Proof of the test result must be on paper or in an electronic document in English, French or German. Travellers can find details regarding the test requirements on the website of the Robert Koch Institute. The test result must be kept for at least ten days after entry.

No exceptions can be made for entry from virus variant areas. Those in transit from high-incidence areas and other risk areas are exempt from registration, testing and quarantine requirements under certain circumstances. This includes transit through a risk area without a stopover prior to entering Germany as well as transit through Germany via the fastest route, e.g. with a confirmed onward flight to a third country.

Regardless of the test result, there is a quarantine obligation in accordance with the regulations of the respective Land.

Travellers can find more information on entry regulations and testing requirements on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Quarantine regulations

In Germany, the individual Länder are responsible for quarantine regulations. The Länder have put in place their own regulations on the basis of a specimen regulation.

Because the new specimen regulation contains significant changes, we ask that prior to entering a Land you read the regulations on quarantine and testing carefully that apply to your specific destination. 
By entering the post code of your destination you can find the contact information of your competent local health office using the following Website: https://tools.rki.de/PLZTool/en-GB

Quarantine regulations

According to the new specimen regulation, the following applies as a rule:

Upon entry to Germany following a stay in a risk area, high incidence area or virus variant area within the last ten days, you must register at www.einreiseanmeldung.de before entering the country and carry proof of having done so with you, be tested for infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus before or immediately after entering the country,

proceed directly to your destination following entry and self-isolate there for ten days (quarantine).

Travellers can find further information on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

A stay in  a risk area means a stay in the area concerned at any point within the 10 days prior to entry.

What counts is whether the area was classified as a risk area at the time of entry to Germany (i.e. not necessarily at the time of the stay).

Exception: transit

The obligation to self-isolate at home does not apply in the case of transit through Germany. In this case, however, you are obliged to leave Germany immediately. The specific regulations of the Länder apply.

Exception: negative test result after 5 days

The ten-day quarantine can, according to the applicable regulations of the Länder, be terminated at the earliest after the fifth day following entry with a negative test result for infection with coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

How to conduct yourself when in Germany?

Mouth and nose must be covered aboard any public transport, in stores and busy outdoor places, where the minimum distance to others cannot be kept at all times. Masks must fulfill the requirements of FFP2, KN95/N95 or surgical masks.

If travellers develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 (coughing, a runny nose, sore throat or fever) they should get in touch by phone with a doctor or contact the hotline 116 117. Often travel guides or hotels can also help in such cases. Travellers should keep the contact details of their home country’s embassy or consulate in Germany in case they need to contact them.

Information by the Federal Ministry of Health in english can be found here.

Extensive information in English and other languages on current regulations is available here.

A short overview on what to do to help protect yourself and others is available here:

Coronavirus – Informationen and practical advice.

Watch out for local regulations

Measures for fighting the spread of COVID-19 are subject to local regulation. This may include quarantine measures in the case of a confirmed infection.

The international advice on reducing the spread of COVID-19 should be followed. This includes washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap for 20-30 seconds, sneezing into the elbow or the quick disposal of handkerchieves or tissues, keeping a distance from other people and avoiding shaking hands. Further information and details can be found on the World Health Organization’s Website.

Where possible, travel should be reduced and public transport avoided to further reduce the risk of infection.

Where to find more information

More information is available from the following institutions:

Information on coronavirus and regulations in English and other languages

Ministry of the Interior

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Transport

The World Health Organization

Robert Koch Institute


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