What is the change? The German Federal Ministry of the Interior has announced that it will continue border controls along Germany’s border with Austria and for flights arriving from Greece for an additional six-month period.

What does the change mean? Non-EU nationals traveling by land from Austria to Germany or flying from Greece to Germany should be sure to carry their passports and, if required, visas or other immigration documents when traveling. German and other EU nationals pass through border checkpoints using ID cards.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The border controls have been extended through May 11, 2018.
  • Who is affected: EU and non-EU nationals traveling by land from Austria to Germany or flying from Greece to Germany.
  • Business impact: Business travelers should take note that border controls have been extended and should carry the proper identification in order to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • Next steps: It is too soon to tell whether border controls will be extended again. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement that a “complete return” to a Schengen Area without border controls will only be possible when the “overall situation” in Europe allows for it. De Maiziere also kept open the possibility that Germany would add additional border controls if necessary.

Background: Germany and other EU countries set up internal border controls in 2015 amid an influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Reuters reported that Germany was recently joined by Austria, France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden at a recent meeting of European interior ministers in saying that it planned to continue internal border controls. The border controls had been set to end Nov. 11, but will now be extended an additional six months, until May 11, 2018.

BAL Analysis: Border controls in Germany and some other EU countries are set to remain in place amid ongoing concerns of irregular migration and the threat of terrorist attacks. Non-EU nationals traveling through border checkpoints should be sure to travel with their passport while EU nationals should be sure to carry appropriate ID.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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