Germany has instituted mandatory COVID-19 testing for anyone traveling to the country from any of roughly 130 high-risk countries.

Key points:

  • As of Aug. 8, tests must be completed within 48 hours of departure or within 72 hours of arrival and will be required for anyone, including German nationals, traveling from high-risk countries. Tests will be offered at airports, doctors’ offices and testing facilities free of charge.
  • Travelers arriving in Germany or returning to Germany from a high-risk country must self-isolate until they receive their result. If they test positive for the COVID-19 virus, they must continue to isolate at home for 14 days.
  • Travelers who are required to take a test are also encouraged to take an additional test five to seven days after their first test. Travelers coming from countries that are not considered high-risk may take up to two free tests within 72 hours of arriving, but are not required to.
  • Those who fail to follow the testing protocol could face monetary fines.
  • In addition to the high-risk countries, authorities have deemed parts of Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain as high-risk. The complete list is available here.

Background: Germany shut down nonessential travel in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country took steps to reopen in June and July, first for travel from within the Schengen Area and then for certain travelers from outside the Schengen Area.

Restrictions have now been lifted on nationals of EU/Schengen Area countries and the United Kingdom and for residents of Australia, Canada, Georgia, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Entry to Germany from outside the Schengen Area is also permitted for third-country nationals if they hold a Germany visa or residence permit and have an established residence in German or have residence in another EEA country or Switzerland and are traveling through Germany to reach their country of residence.

Third-country nationals can enter Germany if they serve an “essential function” in Germany. This category includes third-country nationals coming to Germany for high-skilled work, as foreign students or for family reunification, in some cases. It is also possible for unmarried couples to reunite in Germany if the partner living in Germany invites the other partner and the couple can show that they have a long-lasting partnership. Visit Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map for more detailed information.

Analysis & Comments: Anyone planning travel to Germany from a high-risk country should take note of the new testing requirements and make employee travel arrangements accordingly. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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