It seems as if German authorities can’t make up their minds.
After announcing on May 26 that all Covid entry requirements would be removed on June 1, officially joining an extensive list of European nations that have reopened, Germany backtracked and decided to not only keep restrictions in place, but also tighten them. For the first 10 days of June, only the vaccinated were allowed to enter Germany for tourism purposes.
However, as of this week, Americans and all other foreigners have again been permitted to visit Germany regardless of their immunization status – even as tourists. While these are certainly good news, the constant back and forth has eroded traveler confidence, with Germany showing rules could change any minute, with very little warning:
Germany’s Confusing Path To Reopening
Since June 11, 2022, all of Germany’s travel restrictions have been officially lifted after a 10-day delay. Although they were initially set to be removed on June 1, as previously reported, the country canceled the reopening and in fact made rules even stricter for a brief period of time, effectively going back on its word.
Amid the updates, they banned the unvaccinated and removed negative tests as valid proof of entry. From June 1 to June 10, only the vaccinated were allowed to visit Germany, marking a complete shift in approach for the Western European nation. Under the revised, short-lived rules, starting October 1, the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ would also change.
In the fall, Germany was set to add a validity date to vaccination certificates, requiring a booster dose 270 days after the second dose. This means Americans who had only been vaccinated twice would not be allowed to enter from October 1, even when presenting a negative test – much like the unvaccinated.
Then, on June 11, the country awkwardly dropped all of these rules once again, fully returning to normal as originally planned. In other words, they will no longer apply a validity date to two-dose vaccine certificates on October 1, or ban non-immunized tourists from visiting. Yes, you read that right: Germany has hardened rules only to cancel them 10 days later.
Lifting Of Rules Is ‘Provisional’, But What Does That Mean?
Despite the U-turn, we would like to bring attention to the wording on Germany’s Federal Foreign Office website: they specifically state that rules have been ‘provisionally’ lifted. Etymologically, a ‘provisional’ decision is either subject to further confirmation, or valid ‘for the time being’. That is, in the very least, an interesting choice of words.
Now being more careful in their statements, following last week’s debacle, German authorities have stopped short of reassuring visitors the lifting of the rules is a definitive measure. Judging by their recent, unexpected backslide, we understand anything could happen, including a new tightening of the rules should the Government deem it appropriate.
- On May 26, Germany announces a full lifting of rules for June 1
- June 1 then came, and the country did not reopen as promised
- From June 1 to June 10, travel restrictions were made worse*
- On June 10, German authorities agree on a new reopening date
- Restrictions are again scrapped ‘provisionally’ on June 11
- Since June 11, all are welcome in Germany regardless of vaccination
*Testing option removed, definition of fully vaccinated updated to three doses
Reiterating, under the current guidelines, all restrictions have been scrapped, and unless you are a Chinese citizen, who continue to be banned due to reciprocity, you are welcome in Germany. Since June 11, there are:
- No vaccination requirements in place
- No pre-departure testing
- No post-arrival testing
- No mandatory quarantine for the unvaccinated
- With the exception of China, no nationalities are banned
Germany’s Reopening Does Not Mean Covid Is Now Endemic In The Country
Additionally, Germany continues to ban foreigners arriving from areas where a ‘variant of concern’ has been identified. While there are no countries currently listed as ‘virus variant areas‘, this is further Germany’s relaxation of rules is by no means a return to normal: unlike Mexico, it is not treating Covid as endemic just yet.
If you’re visiting Germany in the near future, we advise you to double check the country’s entry requirements ahead of traveling. As we have seen this week, the German Government has shown a lack of assertiveness when it comes to lifting rules, and some tourists are now under the impression authorities may not keep their promises.
As most of Europe restores their pre-pandemic state of normality, with the exception of a few Western European nations like France and Portugal, Germany’s confusing changes may continue driving more cautious travelers away. After all, there is no guarantee the new policy will be in place throughout the whole summer, or once the tourist season is over.
Instead, restriction-wary travelers could opt for country-hopping across Eastern Europe, which has officially become the most restriction free area of the world, or even avoid Europe’s more touristy sites altogether. For more information on Germany’s Covid policies affecting travel, please visit this page.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories