What rules must everyone follow now?

Currently, the 3G, 3G Plus, 2G and 2G Plus rules apply in Germany:

  • 3G: vaccinated, recovered or those with negative (rapid) test results
  • 3G Plus: vaccinated, recovered or those with negative PCR test results
  • 2G: vaccinated or recovered
  • 2G Plus: vaccinated with a negative test result or recovered with a negative test result

With a COVID hospitalisation rate of over 3 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days, the 2G rule should apply in facilities nationwide. If the value rises above 6, the 2G plus rule should be enforced. And if the hospitalisation rate increases above 9, each federal state can implement further measures such as contact restrictions and bans on events.

When shopping and on the bus & train, you must cover your mouth and nose with a so-called “medical mask” - including surgical masks and FFP2 masks. Cloth masks or scarves are no longer allowed for shops and public transportation.

You must also wear the mask in closed rooms such as medical practices, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and event venues, museums, schools and many other public places. Otherwise, you will have to pay a fine of at least 50 €- the amount of fine differs depending on the federal state. You can find out more about the mask requirements and the amount of relevant fines at bussgeldkatalog.org.

At work, you must either maintain a distance of 1.5 meters between people or/and wear a medical mask. You must generally keep a distance of at least 1.50 meters from people who do not live in the same household.

Plus, the 3G rule applies at workplaces as well as on buses and trains.

In addition, many facilities require you to prove that you have been vaccinated, recovered or tested. You can find out more in the section " Where am I required to prove that I have been vaccinated, recovered or tested?

You can see current rules in your federal state at bundesregierung.de- you just need to click on the name of your federal state.  

Important: The police is tasked to enforce compliance with corona rules. Those who break these rules face a penalty which can range from a fine to a prison sentence. Some of the above rules no longer apply to vaccinated or recovered people. You can find out more about this in the section “What rules apply to vaccinated and recovered individuals?”.

Where am I required to prove that I have been vaccinated, recovered or tested?

In workplaces, the 3G rule currently applies - i.e., people must either be vaccinated, recovered or show negative test results. The same rule applies to passengers on buses and trains - except for people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons and anyone under 18.

The 3G regulation currently apply namely to the following institutions:

  • Hospitals
  • Retirement and care facilities
  • Indoor areas of restaurants, cafes, bars, etc.
  •  Indoor cultural and sports events
  • Hairdressing salons, cosmetic salons, etc.
  • Fitness studios, sports halls, swimming pools, etc.
  • Hotels, etc.
  • Clubs & discos.

Please note: If the hospitalisation rate per 100,000 residents is over 3 in the last seven days, the 2G rule should apply to institutions. If the value rises above 6, the 2G plus rule should be implemented. And in case the value increases above 9, each federal state can take further measures such as contact restrictions and bans on events. Many federal states have already introduced the 2G rule. You can find out which rules apply in your federal state (in German) at bundesregierung.de- you just need to select your federal state of residence.

What rules apply to vaccinated and recovered individuals?

There are some special regulations for people who have been fully vaccinated and those who have recently recovered from a corona infection. People are considered vaccinated if at least 14 days have passed since their last coronavirus vaccination (two separate doses are usually necessary: ​​only Johnson & Johnson comes in one dose). You can prove that you have been fully vaccinated with your yellow “Imfpass”, a vaccination certificate or a digital vaccination record. People who can prove they have recovered from a corona infection in the last six months are also subject to special regulation. You have to prove your recovery with a PCR test administered at least 28 days and at the latest six months before.

These rules apply to vaccinated and recovered people:

  • They can access spaces where the 2G rule apply.
  • Some contact restrictions do not apply to them. They can meet with as many other vaccinated or recovered people as they want. And if they meet up with non-vaccinated people, they do not count when a limited number of people are allowed to meet.
  • They don't need a negative COVID test if, for instance, they want to go to the hair salon or theatre- that is except when 2G Plus rule applies in the state or district. With 2G Plus, vaccinated and recovered individuals are also required to present negative test results.
  • They do not need a negative COVID test when entering Germany and do not have to go into quarantine even if they are coming from a high-risk area. Exception: If you enter Germany from a “virus variant area”, you must also present a negative COVID test and stay in quarantine. You can find out more in the section "What do I have to consider when entering Germany?".

Please note: The mask requirement and the distancing regulations still apply.

Important: Falsifying vaccination certificates or using falsified (or someone else's) vaccination records is a criminal offence. You can be punished with a fine or even a prison sentence. A conviction can also have an impact on your right of residence.

Where can I get a digital vaccination certificate?

If you are fully vaccinated, you can prove it with your yellow vaccination booklet  ("Imfpass") or the vaccination certificate issued after your vaccination. Since June 14th, you can also obtain a digital vaccination certificate: after you are fully vaccinated, you can get a QR code which you can scan using your smartphone. To do so, you need either the Corona-Warn-App or the CovPass-App. Later on, you can use one of these apps as digital proof of vaccination.

If you have already been fully vaccinated but have not received a QR code, you can collect the QR code from a pharmacy. You can find a pharmacy nearby that offers this service on mein-apothekenmanager.de.

Can I currently travel abroad?

Many countries have currently enforced entry bans or extra checks to curb the spread- same applies to parts of the European. Before you travel, check the situation in your travel destination carefully. To learn about the situation in EU countries, visit reopen.europa.de. On auswaertiges-amt.de you can find contact information of the embassies and consulates in Germany.

For many countries, currently you need a negative test result or proof of full vaccination to enter. Within the EU, travelers can use the "EU Digital COVID Certificate" to prove vaccination. For some countries you also have to fill out an entry form. You need to inform yourself in advance about the entry regulations concerning your country of destination.

For many countries, the travel warnings issued by the Federal Foreign Office still stands. On the website of the Federal Foreign Office you can find all essential information. You can learn about your rights as a holidaymaker whose trip is affected due to the current situation on the website of the Consumer Center and the European Information Center Germany.

Can I currently travel to Germany?

Whether you can enter Germany depends on your current whereabouts. If you are allowed to enter, please research the special regulations that you must adhere to before and after entering the country. You can find out more in the section "What do I have to consider when entering Germany?".

There are currently no entry restrictions for people from the EU, Lichtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Please note that the Great Britain is not part of EU anymore. To those who want to enter Germany from Great Britain applies the same regulation as entrees from other third countries.

People form the third countries: Unrestricted entry is currently only possible for people from certain third countries, a list of which you can find at bmi.de.

Important: Whether you can enter Germany depends on your place of residence not your nationality. For instance, if you If you live in Australia or have spent at least 6 months there, you are currently allowed to enter Germany (regardless of your own citizenship) since Australia is not currently a high-risk area.

Strict entry regulations still apply to the rest of the countries. Only the following individuals can currently enter Germany from other countries:

  • People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have evidence that at least 14 days have passed since they were fully vaccinated (i.e. received the second dose of vaccine). Exception: This does not apply to China and not to people from a so-called “virus variant area“. You can find the current "virus variant areas" on the website of the Robert Koch Institute. Upon entry, you must present the "EU Digital COVID Certificate" or a comparable proof of vaccination in German, English, French, Spanish or Italian. This regulation applies from June 25, 2021.
  • German nationals and close family members of German nationals (Spouses, minor children, parents of minor children)
  • Citizens of other EU countries as well as those from UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their close family members (Spouses, minor children, parents of minor children)
  • Third-country nationals with a permanent residence permit in Germany, EU member state, Schengen states or UK.
  • Close family members (spouses, minor children, parents of minor children) of third-country nationals with a long-term residence permit in Germany
  • Relatives (siblings, grandparents, children of legal age, parents of children of legal age) of German citizens, EU citizens, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain as well as relatives of third-country nationals with a long-term residence permit in Germany are only allowed to visit their families for urgent family matters. Urgent reasons may include: births, weddings, funerals, serious illnesses of a close relative.
  • People who come to Germany in the framework of family reunification.
  • People who want to get married in Germany and have obtained an appropriate visa.
  • People who want to visit their long-term partner in Germany and can prove that they are in a long-term relationship and have already met at least once in person.
  • People who work in medical and health care service.
  • Professional workers who are urgently required in Germany and their tasks and cannot be postponed or done abroad.
  • People who work in transportation sector.
  • People who work as agricultural workers in the field.
  • People who have to travel to Germany for urgent family reasons.
  • Seafarers who have to reach a certain port or return home via Germany.
  • Diplomats, employees of international organizations, humanitarian workers and military personnel who travel to Germany for work.
  • Students whose studies cannot be completed abroad.
  • Those in vocational training whose training cannot be fully carried out abroad.
  • People who travel to Germany for a preparatory measure to have their foreign professional qualifications recognize- given the measure in question requires their presence in Germany.
  • Au pairs, interns and people doing voluntary service, face-to-face training or a face-to-face language course if they stay for at least 6 months.
  • Asylum seekers
  • People who urgently need medical treatment in Germany and have an appropriate visa. You are allowed to bring up to 2 companions.
  • Passengers in transit
  • German emigrants who return to Germany (“Spätaussiedler”)

 

Important:

The officers at the border will decide about your entry. Make sure you bring relevant proofs (marriage certificates, family register, certificates, ...) with you if you want to cross the border. If you do not need a visa for entry, you must also ensure that your foreign documents (e.g. marriage certificate) are recognised in Germany. Or whether a so-called legalization or apostille is necessary. You can find an overview in German on dnoti.de. In some cases, you will also need invitations and applications. Unmarried couples in particular have to prove their relationship with private documents (previous flight tickets, photos, ...).

Make sure you carry all the necessary documents if you plan to travel across international borders. Inquire in advance at the German embassy in your area or directly at the Federal Foreign Office. If you have specific questions about your entry, you can also call the Federal Police on 0800 6 888 000 (free of charge). The staff speak German and the call is cost-free. You can also use the Federal Police's contact form in German or English.

Please note: Many embassies are closed due to the corona pandemic. Check the website of the relevant embassy regularly.

What should I watch out for when I come back to Germany?

Since August 1, 2021, anyone over 12 years of age must present a negative test result, proof of vaccination or prove that they have recovered from an illness with COVID-19 less than 6 months ago when entering Germany. Compulsory testing applies no matter how and from which country you enter Germany. That means it also includes those who enter by train,  ship or car. If you arrive by plane, you will be checked as soon as you board. For people arriving by train, ship, car or bicycle there will be random spot checks.

Attention: If you enter Germany from a virus variant area, all persons aged 12 and over need to present negative COVID test results. That also includes people who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from illness with COVID-19 less than 6 months ago. You can find a list of the current "virus variant areas" on the Website of Robert-Koch-Instituts.

Please note: The test must not be older than 48 hours. You have to pay for the test yourself. If your test is positive, you are not allowed to travel. If the country in which you are staying has a quarantine requirement, you must be quarantined there. You have to cover the costs yourself. 

There are additional rules for people entering Germany from a high risk area (“Hochrisikogebiet”) or an area where a virus variant is common (“Virusvariantengebiet ”):

For people traveling to Germany from an area with a so-called “high risk area” must, in addition to taking a COVID test, also register online at einreiseanmeldung.de before entry. You must also upload your negative test result and - if you have one - your vaccination certificate or proof of recovery on the website. For people who do not have proof of vaccination or recovery, the following applies: After entering the country, you must immediately go into quarantine for 10 days. After 5 days you can go and take a COVID test. If the test result is negative, you can end your quarantine early. You can call the hotline 116117 or check www.116117.de to find a testing facility nearby. To learn more about “home quarantine” check out our chapter "Coronavirus". You can find a list of current “high risk areas” (“Hochrisikogebiet”) at the Website of Robert-Koch-Institute.

People who enter from a “virus variant area” (“Virusvariantengebiet ”): In principle, travelling to Germany from areas where new variants of the virus are widespread is currently not allowed. There is an entry ban and a transport ban for people from these areas, i.e. they are not allowed to enter the country by car, nor are they allowed to be transported by an airline, bus company, etc. A list of the current "new variant areas" can be found on the website of the Robert Koch Institute. However, the entry ban and transport ban do not apply to:

  • People with German citizenship
  • Spouses and children of German citizens if they enter the country together
  • People who hold residence rights and reside in Germany
  • Certain professions such as health workers or freight transport staff
  • People with urgent humanitarian reasons such as a death, childbirth or urgent medical treatment

If you are allowed to enter from a country where a new virus variant is common, the following rules apply to you: YIn addition to taking a COVID test, you must also register online at einreiseanmeldung.de before entering. You need to upload your negative test results, your vaccination certificate or proof of recovery - if you have one - on the website. After entering the country, you must immediately go into quarantine for 14 days. It is not possible to end the quarantine early. This applies to everyone, including those who are already fully vaccinated against COVID and those who have recovered from a COVID infection less than 6 months ago.

If you have only traveled through a „high risk area“ or “virus variant area” and did not stop there (transit flight), the same rules apply to you as to those who enter (directly) from a non-risk area. Those who spend less than 24 hours in a high-risk area or virus variant area do not have to go into a quarantine either.

The exemption from quarantine also applies to people who have a reasonable ground to visit close family members (spouse, parents, children) in a high risk area for less than 72 hours. This way, for instance, one would be able to visit an ill family. But the exceptions form quarantine only apply if you don't show any typical symptoms. If you have visited close family members in a high risk area for more than 72 hours for an urgent reason, you can exempt yourself from the quarantine obligation by presenting a negative corona test. The test must not be older than 48 hours when you enter Germany. In addition, the test must meet the criteria listed by the Robert Koch Institute. You can find out which countries meet these criteria on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.

Please note: In the individual federal states there may be further rules or exceptions to the quarantine obligation. For instance, for certain professional groups such as medical staff. For more information ask with your employer. Or read the quarantine regulation of your state online. You can find the regulation which currently apply in your federal state (in German) at bundesregierung.de. You can find out more detailed version of rules in your specific federal state (in German) at dihk.de by clicking on the name of your federal state. To learn more about “home quarantine” check out our chapter "Coronavirus".

Which shops and facilities are currently open?

Currently, almost all shops and facilities, e.g. theatres, restaurants, etc., can re-open. However, the hygiene and distance rules still apply. The 3G rule (access allowed for vaccinated or recovered individuals or those who present negative test results) applies in most facilities. However, in many federal states, the 2G rule applies, i.e. access is only allowed for vaccinated and recovered people. Which rule applies depends on the hospitalisation rate.

You can find out more about the rules in your specific federal state (in German) at bundesregierung.de by clicking on the name of your federal state.

Is there going to be enough food and hygiene products for everyone?

There is currently no shortage of food or hygiene products in Germany.

Can my child go to school as usual again?

Currently, all schools in Germany operate as usual. If you have any questions, you can directly contact your child’s school.

It will no longer be possible to close schools across the board. Occasionally, schools can close if they have a sizeable COVID-19 outbreak.

Both teachers and students should do at least two rapid corona test per week. The tests are free and will be carried out at schools. If your child’s test result is positive, you must take them home.

In the future, a standard quarantine regulation shall be in place for all of Germany. If a child has been tested positive for Coronavirus, this child and any children sitting directly next to this child in the classroom have to go into isolation. Quarantine lasts five days and can be shortened with a negative Coronavirus test. This regulation is only valid if schools can prove they have implemented correct airing, mask and testing concepts. If this is not the case, it is possible that the entire class is sent into quarantine.

Can my child go to daycare again?

Currently, all childcare facilities operate as usual. If you have a question, you can directly contact your child’s Kita.

Are state offices open now?

Government offices are currently only open to the public for limited hours. If you have an appointment or an urgent query, check the proper offices' website or call them.

How can I extend my residence permit?

Check the website of the relevant Immigration Office to see if it is open. If they are partially opened again, you can apply for the extension online on their website. You can Search for your Immigration Office’s website on bamf.de. Check the website and inform yourself thoroughly about the procedure. After you apply online, the Immigration Office will then send you a so-called "Fiktionsbescheinigung" in your mailbox- and your residence permit will remain valid for the time being.

My visa has expired during my stay in Germany. What should I do?

If your visa expires and you cannot leave due to coronavirus, you will need to apply for a visa extension. You need call or write an informal e-mail in due time and specify relevant personal data (name, date of birth, etc.) to the Immigration Office in your area. To find the Immigration office responsible for you, check bamf.de.

Please note: If your stay depends on the continuation of your employment and you lose your job, you may have to leave the country. in case that is not possible for the time being, you will be issued a tolerated stay permit or "Duldung". You can find out more in our chapter "tolerated stay permit".

My visa expired before entering Germany. What should I do?

You have to apply for a new visa. The simplified process of renewal for so-called D visas (family reunification, study, etc.) was only possible until December 31, 2020.

I would like to apply for a visa but I can't acquire a language certificate at the moment. What now?

If you are unable to acquire a language certificate, you may be eligible for a visa nonetheless if you fulfill certain requirements. Nevertheless, you have to prove that you are unable to attend a language course due to coronavirus. This regulation only applies to certain states. You can find a list of these federal states in German at migrationsrecht.net.

When will my language classes start again?

Get in touch with your language school directly and ask them about their opening schedule. In our chapter "Learning German", you can find plenty of helpful materials which allow you to practice online and offline.

How can I help my child to study from home?

There are several opportunities for children to find help studying online:

  • On stayschool.de, students starting from 5th grade can get help with learning without paying anything. Volunteers help your child learn via video chats. The tutoring is available in many languages.
  • On corona-school.de, children starting from 1st grade can also find cost-free advice from university students who are working voluntarily to help school children with their homework through video chats while the schools are closed.
  • On klicksafe.de, you will also find various learning offers from public television broadcasters and various learning aid on the Internet for schoolchildren of all levels.

My child needs a laptop for homework. Any help?

If you receive assistance from Jobcentre or Social Welfare Office and your child needs a device to study from home, you can apply for a grant from the Jobcentre to buy a laptop or alike  for your child- they pay up to 350 euros per child and you can by computer, printer, etc. The purchase must be necessary for your child’s schooling-and the Jobcentre requires you to show a certificate from the school which verify the purchase. Check tacheles-sozialhilfe.de for further information and sample applications. Please note: You can also apply for the grant if you have already bought a laptop or a similar device in January 2021 or later.

Same also applies to so-called "low earners", i.e. people who earn very little money. If you receive money from the Social Welfare Office, you, too, can apply for a grant to buy a laptop, etc. for your child. There are currently no official regulations, but in principle, you are entitled to the same rights as people who are registered with the Jobcentre. Find the details of regulation and requirements in the section above. Keep in mind you can seek advice from a counseling centre if your application is rejected. You can find counselling centres nearby at jugendmigrationsdienste.de or fluechtlingsrat.de. You can also reach them via phone or email. Plus, there are organisations which give away used but functional laptops to students in need. You can find an overview of these initiatives at computertruhe.de. Another worthwhile option is to check lapdoo.org and search for a laptop for donation.

Are counselling centres open now?

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many counselling centres throughout Germany work at a limited capacity. In principle, you have to first call and make an appointment. You can still reach many of these centres by phone or email. Under the sections "Where can I find help?" and "Help for special target groups" on our page Local Information you will find several direct links to counselling centres' websites where you can find help with various problems.