The German Ministry of the Interior has announced new travel restrictions to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Key points:

  • With immediate effect, controls at the inner-EU borders are being expanded to air and maritime traffic.
  • This means that flights from Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Switzerland will be affected by stricter controls. Ships from Denmark will be as well.
  • Until March 18, only the land borders to France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg were closed.
  • Individuals commuting for work to their German employer, with a written confirmation proving their travel is employment-related, and individuals who are transporting goods are still allowed to pass the inner-EU border as usual. Everyone else will be refused.
  • Additionally, Germany’s Schengen borders are closed to all third-country nationals. Exempted are German and EU nationals, individuals with essential functions (medical staff, diplomats etc.), those holding a valid German long-term residence permit or permit from another EU member state and those having their permanent place of residence in Germany or in another EU member state.

Analysis and Comments: The new travel restrictions will significantly impact travel to Germany. It is possible that restrictions may be extended or additional ones may be announced. Employers should account for affected travellers and rearrange travel schedules accordingly. Significant delays may occur for consular and in-country processing, as more and more German missions abroad and Immigration offices in-country continue to close down their services and/or cancel visa appointments. The response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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