Entry requirements

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Germany set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact their embassy, high commission or consulate. You may also check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and travel documents meet their requirements.

If you are travelling to Germany for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Germany

The UK is designated as a ‘high-incidence area’. You may enter Germany from the UK for any travel purpose if you are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age are allowed to enter Germany without a negative test as long as they travel with at least one fully vaccinated parent. These children are not obliged to provide any kind of evidence (no COVID test, etc.), but have to quarantine on arrival. For them, quarantine ends automatically 5 days after entry.

Those individuals who are not fully vaccinated may only enter Germany from the UK if they are a German citizen; the spouse/partner/child under 18 of a German citizen; a resident of Germany; the spouse/partner/child under 18 of a resident of Germany; serve in an important role; or have an urgent need to travel. Further information about possible exceptions for non-residents is on the Federal Interior Ministry website, under “What constitutes an urgent need for travel”. The decision on whether to allow entry in such circumstances is at the discretion of border guards.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated and do not meet one of the exemptions outlined above may not currently enter Germany from the UK.

All travellers entering Germany from the UK are required to complete pre-departure digital registration, regardless of vaccination status.

For those individuals eligible to enter Germany who are not fully vaccinated, travel from the UK is generally subject to 10-day quarantine with test and release available after 5 days. Both individuals who can prove recovery from the virus and the fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine requirements. (See ‘Quarantine after travel from high-incidence areas’ and (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status’)

Germany uses a two-tier system of risk categories (virus variant areas and high-incidence areas), with distinct rules on entry and quarantine for each tier. See the complete list of designated areas.

Proof of residence

UK nationals resident in Germany must demonstrate proof of residence. If you are not yet in possession of a residence card, you will be required to provide credible evidence that you are resident in Germany.

This could include an address registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung), a tenancy agreement, a utility bill in your name, or a certificate of application (Fiktionsbescheinigung).

The German authorities have confirmed that individuals who are registered at a German address in the population register (Melderegister), who can present identification (including residence documents) displaying a German address, or documents (paper or electronic) issued in their name by third parties stating an address in Germany, may be presumed to be resident in Germany. A document which has been left in Germany but which can be accessed by someone else may be photographed or scanned and sent to the traveller abroad by email or via cloud for presentation at the border. See the guidance from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.

Hauliers

Hauliers from the UK are generally exempt from the requirement to possess a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery and the requirement to quarantine when entering Germany, provided they were not in the previous 10 days in an area designated at the time of entry into Germany as a virus variant area.

Testing requirements

From 1 August 2021 travellers aged 12 or over entering Germany from abroad must possess either proof of vaccination, or proof of recovery, or a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival and present this proof on request to carriers or authorities. If you are aged 12 or over, travelling from the UK and are not fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, you will need to enter Germany with either a PCR test result that is no more than 72 hours old, or a rapid antigen or other test sample that is no more than 48 hours old. The result of the test required by the German authorities can be either in paper or electronic form.

Molecular based tests (PCR tests) from the UK are accepted in Germany. Antigen tests are accepted as well, provided they meet the minimum criteria recommended by the WHO. This includes tests that meet ≥80% sensitivity and ≥97% specificity, compared to a PCR test. Most lateral flow tests work on the same basis as antigen tests and must meet the same criteria to be accepted. Details on the antigen or lateral flow test manufacturer must be given on the test certificate. ‘LAMP’ (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) tests are also now accepted. Border officials and local public health authorities will not accept a negative test result if there is justified doubt about whether the test meets the minimum performance requirements.

You can find more information about acceptable tests from Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute’s, website (PDF available in English via the link). Further information on testing requirements can be obtained from your local public health authority. You can find further details about the current restrictions, including quarantining after a negative test on the German Health Ministry website.

Quarantine after travel from high-incidence areas

From 7 July onwards the UK is designated as a high-incidence area. This means that travellers arriving from the UK, who are not fully vaccinated, are subject to 10 day quarantine, and test and release is available after 5 days. Fully vaccinated and recovered individuals are exempt from this requirement.

If, in the 10 days before you travel to Germany, you have been in an area designated at the time of entry as presenting an increased risk of infection, you must register online in advance of travelling to Germany. On arrival, you must travel to your accommodation and quarantine there for up to 14 days. If you are travelling from a high-incidence area, you can be released from quarantine immediately if you provide one of the following with the pre-departure digital registration:

  • A negative C-19 test (only available after 5 days for travel from high-incidence areas such as the UK)
  • Proof that you are fully vaccinated (this means that you have taken the last of the recommended doses of a C-19 vaccine authorised in the EU more than 14 days ago)
  • Proof that you have recently recovered from a C-19 infection. Proof of recovery is a positive PCR test no older than six months, but older than 28 days

If you are travelling from a virus variant area, you must quarantine for the full 14 days, and do not have access to test to release.

For travel from designated high-incidence areas there are some exemptions from the quarantine requirement, including for frontier workers and individuals deemed to be providing essential activities. Precise rules are set by the federal states, so please consult the provisions applicable in the place where you are staying.

If you have specific questions about the quarantine requirements which apply in your particular case, you should contact the local public health authority in your place of residence. Please also contact your local public health authority for further details on test and release. You can identify the relevant authority here.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status

Fully vaccinated individuals may enter Germany for any purpose.

Germany will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. If you are travelling with a printed PDF proof of vaccination status, it must date from 1 November to ensure that the certificate can be scanned successfully. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Evidence of your COVID-19 vaccination status can be provided digitally (through the NHS app or NHS website) or as a printout (this can be requested from the NHS by calling 119). However, a screenshot or photo is not sufficient. Further details can be found (in English) on the German Embassy website.

The German government has published a checklist of acceptable proof of vaccination for entry purposes (under “What constitutes proof of vaccination?”). Such proof must demonstrate that a full course of vaccination against COVID-19 has been completed. The vaccination must be comprised of one or more of the listed vaccines. It must comprise the number of vaccine doses necessary to provide full protection, and at least 14 days must have elapsed since the last required single vaccination. For recovered persons, the vaccination may consist of the administration of one dose.

The proof must be provided in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish and include:

  • the personal data of the vaccinated person (at least surname, first name and date of birth)
  • date of vaccination, number of vaccinations,
  • vaccine name,
  • name of the disease vaccinated against,
  • characteristics that indicate the person or institution responsible for carrying out the vaccination or issuing the certificate, for example an official symbol or the name of the issuer.

Proof in written or digital form is accepted if it meets the above criteria. For the purposes of inspection by the carrier or border authorities, photographs of written proof are not considered proof in digital form. Proof in digital form should have been issued in digital form by the authorised issuer and transmitted in digital form to the authorised recipient.

The German government notes that, in addition to the above checklist, further requirements may have to be satisfied for the issuance of a digital COVID certificate on the basis of the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation.

Transiting Germany

For further information about transiting Germany, please consult the Federal Interior Ministry website, under the heading “When is transit through Germany permitted?”.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
  • if you are travelling to Germany and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business or for other reasons, you will need to meet the German government’s entry requirements. Check with the German Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit, if any, you will need
  • if you stay in Germany with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit

Any time you spent in Germany or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

At German border control, you may need to queue in separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.

Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Germany as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.

You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.

You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay

If you are resident in Germany your passport should not be stamped. You should proactively show your proof of residence as well as your valid passport at German control. For further information, see our Living in Germany guide.

Passport Stamps

UK nationals resident in Germany should not have their passports stamped on entry and exit, though they are required to demonstrate credible evidence of residence during checks to avoid receiving a stamp (see above). If a resident’s passport is stamped, this has no bearing on their legal status or rights, for instance as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. You should consult the Federal Police (Bundespolizei) if you wish, as a resident, to have any stamp annulled. You should bear in mind that if your passport is stamped and you subsequently exit the Schengen area after more than 90 days, you must carry credible evidence of residence status with you.

Entry for British citizens who are resident in Germany

If you are resident in Germany, please carry proof of your residence when travelling.

If you were living in Germany before 1 January 2021, you should carry your residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB), as well as your valid passport when you travel. If you have applied but not yet received your document, carry your certificate of application (Fiktionsbescheinigung).

If you have not yet applied for a residence document GB, you should carry credible evidence that you are resident in Germany. This could include an address registration certificate (Meldebestätigung), tenancy agreement, or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020.

If you cannot show that you are resident in Germany, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the Schengen area, and your passport may be stamped. This will not affect your rights in Germany.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

Make sure your passport is:

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave Germany, or any other Schengen country
  • less than 10 years old

The 3 months you need when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum 3 months needed.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Germany.

Working in Germany

If you intend to work in Germany, you should get detailed information on employment regulations from the German Embassy.