How to get tested for coronavirus at Germany’s airports

An increasing number of German airports are offering coronavirus tests for travel returnees, with negative results exempting them from a 14-day quarantine.

How to get tested for coronavirus at Germany's airports
A sign for testing at the Frankfurt airport on June 29th. Photo: DPA

Travellers returning to Germany from a “risk area”, as classified on a continually updated list from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), need a negative coronavirus test. Otherwise they have to go into a domestic quarantine for 14 days. 

Several airports throughout the country either offer these tests, or have plans to:

  • There are currently tests available at airports in Frankfurt, Munich, and Cologne/Bonn.
  • Free tests are also planned at all airports in Bavaria
  • Berlin also intends to offer tests at its airports, but there are not yet plans in Hamburg and Düsseldorf

Here's what you need to know for each airport.

Berlin: Travel returnees from risk areas are expected to be tested for coronavirus at Berlin's airports from next week onwards.

This was announced by Mayor Michael Müller on Thursday: “We have been in talks with the airport company since last week and are currently coordinating where and when we will install the test stations for returnees from RKI risk countries in Tegel and Schönefeld,” said the SPD politician.

“Our goal is to be able to offer Covid-19 test stations there at the beginning of next week.”

Frankfurt airport: This airport paved the way in airport testing in Germany by opening the country's first walk-in testing centre in June – although an advanced registration is required.


READ ALSO: Walk-in coronavirus test centre opens at Frankfurt airport

The test is carried out via a throat swab, and must be paid for by the traveller: €59 for a result within six to eight hours or €139 for a result within three hours.

The test result is then displayed via mobile phone. For an extra charge of €9, returnees can receive an official valid proof of the test result which can be shown to authorities in various countries. 

The testing centre is centrally located in the passage between Terminal 1 and the mainline railway station. More information is available on the airport website.

Munich and Bavaria: Holidaymakers can also have themselves tested for the coronavirus at Munich Airport. MediCare, a subsidiary of Flughafen München GmbH, offers such tests for around €190. 

Anyone wishing to take a test must register by telephone (089/975-63399) via the airport's emergency ambulance.

The test results are available approximately four hours after the swabs have been taken. The test centre is located in the airport's medical centre (Terminal 1, Area E).

Bavaria is also planning on testing all holiday returnees at all airports in the southern state. The fees for this will be covered by the state or health insurance companies, but it is still unknown when the regulation will come into force.

A sign with hygienic measures at Munich's airport. Photo: DPA

READ ALSO: Bavaria plans free coronavirus tests to halt virus at border

Cologne/Bonn Airport also offers holiday returnees a test opportunity in a mobile laboratory for €90 (Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). The result is usually available within 24 hours. However, until the results are available, people returning from risk areas must go into domestic quarantine.

The test station is currently located outside the terminal on the parking deck opposite the ICE train station. In the next few days, though, it will move to a permanent station within the arrival terminal.

Where is there currently a travel warning?

For more than 160 countries outside the EU, the Federal Foreign Office has issued an initial travel warning until August 31st. For most European countries, it was lifted on June 15th and replaced by individual travel and security warnings for specific countries.

READ ALSO: Who is allowed to travel to Germany from outside the EU?

On the basis of various information, the Foreign Office decides how it assesses a danger situation and whether it advises against entering a coronavirus risk area:

How is a risk area determined?

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) names three factors that can lead to the classification of a country as a risk area.

  • If there are more than 50 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days
  • If there is insufficient testing capacity in a country or the measures to contain coronavirus are inadequate (e.g. hygiene regulations)
  • When no reliable information is available for a particular country

Classification as a risk area is not the same as a travel warning. The travel warning can also be lifted for individual countries before August. If a country is classified as a risk area, however, this is pretty unlikely.

Member comments

  1. I would guess that these tests are nasal swab tests… with results within 4 hours? That does not seem like a reliable test. While a positive result is probably accurate, a negative result may be meaningless: the person is just not making enough virus, the virus wasn’t in that part of the nose, etc.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Is the pandemic over in Germany?

As much of Germany lifts - or prepares to lift - the last remaining Covid-19 measures, intensive care units say Covid-19 admissions are no longer straining the system.

Is the pandemic over in Germany?

Despite a difficult winter of respiratory illnesses, intensive care units in Germany say Covid-19 admissions have almost halved. The number of cases having to be treated in the ICU has gone down to 800 from 1,500 at the beginning of this month.

“Corona is no longer a problem in intensive care units,” Gernot Marx, Vice President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, told the German Editorial Network. “A the moment, we don’t have to think every day about how to still ensure the care of patients, but how to actually run a service that can help.”

Marx said the drop has allowed them to catch up on many postponed surgeries.

The number of sick employees in hospitals is also falling, helping to relieve the pressure on personnel.

The easing pressure on hospitals correlates with the assessment of prominent virologist and head of the Virology department at Berlin’s Charite – Christian Drosten – who said in December that the pandemic was close to ending, with the winter wave being an endemic one.

German federal and state governments are now in the midst of lifting the last of the country’s pandemic-related restrictions. Free Covid-19 antigen tests for most people, with exceptions for medical personnel, recently ended.

READ ALSO: Free Covid-19 tests end in Germany

Six federal states – Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein – have ended mandatory isolation periods for people who test positive for Covid-19.

Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt, and Schleswig-Holstein have ended the requirement to wear FFP2 masks on public transport, while Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia, and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania will follow suit on February 2nd.

At that time, the federal government will also drop its requirement for masks to be worn on long-distance trains. Labour Minister Hubertus Heil says that’s when he also intends to exempt workplaces – apart from medical locations – from a mask requirement.

READ ALSO: Germany to drop mask mandate in trains and buses from February 2nd

Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg will also end the requirement for patients to wear a mask in doctor’s offices. That’s a requirement that, so far, will stay in place everywhere else. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has also said that he thinks this requirement should remain. 

But some public health insurers and general practitioners are calling for a nationwide end to the obligation for wearing masks in doctor’s offices.

“The pandemic situation is over,” National Association of Statutory Health Physicians (KBV) Chair Andreas Gassen told the RND network. “High-risk patients aren’t treated in all practices. It should generally be left up to medical colleagues to decide whether they want to require masks in their practices.”