Germany introduces new quarantine and testing rules for travellers from risk zones

On November 8th, Germany officially introduced new quarantine and testing rules for people coming from risk areas.

Germany introduces new quarantine and testing rules for travellers from risk zones
A sign saying: "Returning from high-risk area? Comply with the quarantine" Photo: DPA

The new regulation came into force in Germany on Sunday, although some areas had already introduced the system.

The rules were decided on by the federal government but each state is implementing them. That's why there may be regional variations across the 16 states.

What should I know before entering?

If you have stayed within a non-German risk zone within the last 10 days prior to entering Germany (the Robert Koch Institute provides an updated list here of risk areas), you have to register online prior to entry by filling in information on this site:

Once you have provided all the necessary information, you will receive a PDF file as confirmation. Your carrier will check whether you can present a confirmation before you can travel. 

If, in exceptional cases, it is not possible to make a digital entry, you will have to fill in a replacement declaration on paper instead.


What about quarantine and testing?

Previously, you had to quarantine for 14 days when arriving in Germany form a risk area. However you were able to get a test on arrival, and you'd be released from the quarantine if the test came back negative. If it was positive, you'd continue the quarantine on the orders of health officials.

Now, the new general rules on quarantine are:

  • A stay in a 'risk zone 'means you stayed in the area concerned at any point within 10 days prior to entry to Germany
  • After arriving at your destination in Germany, you must self-isolate at home for 10 days (this is mandatory)
  • You must also report your arrival into Germany immediately to the responsible health authority (Gesundheitsamt)
  • If no other grounds for exception apply (such as if you are an essential worker) you may only be released from the obligation to quarantine at home – no earlier than five days after entering Germany– if you provide proof of a negative test result. So a test can be taken five days into the quarantine at the earliest.
  • Even if the test is negative, some states may order or urgently recommend that you repeat the test after five to seven days due to the potentially long incubation period of the virus

The test is free of charge for people entering the country from risk areas within 10 days after entering, until December 1st, the government says.

You can find out where you can take a test near your home by calling 116 117 or online at If you would like to be tested by your family doctor, you should call and ask if they are doing the tests beforehand.

It is important to note that you must remain in quarantine until the test result is available.

READ ALSO: Bavaria introduces compulsory Covid-19 testing for commuters

What are the exceptions?

There can be some exceptions to the quarantine rule but check with the state you are travelling to.

Here are some general exceptions (although they could differ from state to state):

  • Anyone who can provide an up-to-date medical certificate confirming they do not have coronavirus
  • Essential workers (such as doctors, nurses, supporting medical staff and 24-hour care staff)
  • People whose stay is due to urgent medical treatment

The regulation also does not apply to people who are travelling through Germany to get to another destination.

However, if you have coronavirus symptoms you are required to report them immediately. For any exceptions, you still have to notify the health authority of your arrival into Germany.

READ ALSO: What are Germany's new quarantine rules after travel?

Remember that during the lockdown, hotels and other overnight accommodation in Germany is not open to tourists.

Here are the coronavirus websites for each state so you can familarise yourself with the rules.

Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.

Member comments

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


The six most spectacular train trips in Austria

With its mountain peaks and crystal-clear lakes, Austria has more than its fair share of stunning scenery to fall in love with. And travelling by train can give you the chance to take the views in properly without any distractions. Here are Austria's most scenic train routes.

The six most spectacular train trips in Austria

Semmering rail line in winter

You’ll get epic views whether you travel in summer or winter, but the snow adds to the romanticism. Photo by Miroslav Volek on flickr.

Semmering Railway
Built between 1848 and 1854, the 41-kilometre-long Semmerling line was made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1998 and it’s easy to see why: it runs through some jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery between the mountain towns of Semmering and Gloggnitz. It was a huge technical achievement for its time, not least because of the hefty gradient of the line. It was also the first European mountain railway to have a standard gauge track.

You’ll see glorious mountains, obviously, plus huge viaducts – 16 of them, if you’re counting – and 15 tunnels, including one whopping 1,430-metre-long one, and over 100 bridges, as well as plenty of lush forests and deep valleys.

Mariazeller Bahn

Clear skies are made for scenic train rides. Photo by flightlog on Flickr

Mariazell Railway
Remember we mentioned gauges above? Well, the Mariazell Railway is a narrow-gauge route – built like that because it was a difficult terrain for trains to cross. Running from St Pölten in Lower Austria to Mariazell in Styria, at 84km-long, it’s Austria’s longest narrow-gauge line.

The mountain section (Bergstrecke) of the line is the most picturesque. Get on at Laubenbachmühle where this starts and enjoy the train’s climb to its peak of 892m above sea level in Gösing where you’ll have gorgeous panoramic views and a glimpse of the 1,893-metre-high Ötscher mountain. Stay on board to see viaducts, reservoirs and deep gorges, in particular glimpses of the wild Erlauf gorge.

Want to really make the most of those views? Book a panorama carriage, which gives you super-comfy seats and unobstructed views of the scenery unfolding as the train trundles along.

Perfect peaks and lush valleys await. Photo by Schnitzel_bank on Flickr

Arlberg Railway

The Arlberg raiway is one of Europe’s highest – it climbs to 1,310 metres above sea level at its highest point. It goes up at a fair tilt, too and is one of the steepest passenger lines out there.

Connecting Innsbruck and Bludenz (on the Swiss border), it’s the only east-west mountain line in Austria. Visual delights include the Tyrolean Trisanna Bridge near the hilltop castle Wiesberg, snow-peaked mountains, the 6.6-mile-long Arlberg tunnel, and verdant valleys and forests at the Arlsberg pass  – go at sunset/sunrise and look to your right for the best views.

Schafberg Railway

There are – unsurprisingly – a lot of steep railways in Austria and this one is no exception. This is the steepest steam cog-railway in the country and has been running between St Wolfgang in Salzkammergut up to the 1,783-metre Schafberg mountain since 1893.  

It’s a gorgeous journey up the mountain with the views getting better and better the higher you go. At the top, you’ll have (weather-permitting) clear views over Salzkammergut’s glittering lakes, as well as the soaring peaks of neighbouring mountain ranges, such as the Höllengebirge.

Tauern Railway
If you’re heading to Venice by train, then this is the most scenic route to take and it’s worth the trip in its own right, too. You’ll pass stunning valleys and gorges as the line winds its way up the High Tauern mountain range of the Central Eastern Alps.

The best views are on the right-hand side of the train when you’re heading in this direction, so try to get a window seat if you can.

Are you even in Austria if your train doesn’t pass a field of cows? Photo by Schnitzel_bank on Flickr.

Zillertal Railway
There’s always something rather romantic about travelling by steam train and the traditional Zillertal locomotive with its wooden carriages is no exception. It putters gently by the side of the Ziller river along the 32-kilometre stretch between the towns of Jenbach and Mayrhofen, giving you ample opportunity to take in the views as you pass picture-perfect villages and gorgeous valleys surrounded by mountains. 

If you’ve got your heart set on the romanticism of steam trains, make sure you check which train you’re getting as the steam-powered engine doesn’t run as frequently as the faster diesel one. If you haven’t pre-booked, get there early to make sure you get a seat as it can get very busy.