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What are the travel rules for Germany? Travel restrictions explained as most UK visitors banned

Germany classified the UK as a virus variant area of concern, which is the highest Covid risk level

Travel restrictions are tightening for UK visitors across Europe amid the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.

But what new restrictions have been brought in for travellers going to Germany?

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Here’s what you need to know.

What are the travel restrictions for UK visitors?

From midnight on Sunday - or 11pm UK time on Saturday (19 December) - the UK is designated a virus variant area by Germany.

According to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), this means that:

  • Carriers such as airlines are restricted to transporting a narrow range of individuals from the UK to Germany, including British citizens who are resident in Germany, and German citizens. UK nationals resident in Germany must demonstrate proof of residence at entry to Germany.
  • Tourists are not allowed to be transported to Germany. There are limited additional exemptions, which are outlined on this page from the German Federal Health Ministry.
  • Permitted travellers entering Germany from the UK are required to complete pre-departure digital registration, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Permitted travellers from the UK to Germany aged 12 and over are required to have proof of a negative pre-flight test, regardless of vaccination status. This must be either a PCR or a rapid antigen test. The PCR test can be 72 hours old at entry into Germany and the rapid antigen test 24 hours at entry into Germany.
  • On arrival in Germany, all permitted travellers from the UK must quarantine at home for 14 days irrespective of their vaccination status.

Why have the new restrictions been put into place?

The Robert-Koch-Institut announced the new rules as it classified the UK as a virus variant area of concern, the highest Covid risk level.

It said the restrictions could last until at least 3 January. The restrictions come amid mounting concerns over the soaring rates of Covid-19 driven by the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.

What restrictions are in place in Germany?

Both the vaccinated and unvaccinated must continue to adhere to guidelines in Germany, such as social distancing, wearing masks in enclosed spaces, and regularly ventilating indoor spaces.

Wearing a medical-grade mask remains a legal requirement in retail outlets and on public transport.

Proof of vaccination, recovery from infection or a negative test (up to 24hrs old for rapid antigen testing or 48 hrs old for PCR testing) is required for entry into:

  • Hospitals and social care settings
  • Indoor gastronomy
  • Participating in events and celebrations
  • Barbers, hairdressers, or beauty salons
  • Indoor sport such as fitness studios, swimming baths or sports halls
  • Hotels (test at arrival and twice a week during the stay)