New rules on testing for COVID-19 upon return to Germany

September, 21

Germany has amended its rules on testing for COVID-19 upon one’s return to the country: as of September 15, anyone returning to Germany from countries that are not on the coronavirus “high risk” list will have to undergo a test upon arrival only if they are showing symptoms or are suspected of COVID-19. The reason for switching to the targeted testing model is the fact that the German labs have been processing around 1.1 million tests a week, which has proven to be both too comprehensive and too expensive.

However, travelers coming from areas still on the coronavirus “high risk” list, regardless of their citizenship, will have to take the free test for another two weeks. Afterwards, at the start of October, Germany is expected to quash that decision. In that case, travelers arriving from said areas will need to remain in self-isolation for 14 days and then take a test at their own expense, remaining in self-isolation until they get a negative result back.

Finally, entering the country from “high risk” countries and areas is still allowed only for German citizens and foreigners living and working in Germany, as well as people coming to Germany on business, such as truck drivers and seasonal workers, and people who need to attend court, have scheduled hospital treatments, or are visiting their spouses. Tourist visits are banned.

More information on this new decision are available here and here.