The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

<p>Off limits: flags in Baden Baden, southwest Germany</p>

Off limits: flags in Baden Baden, southwest Germany

Why has Germany banned travel from the UK – and what are the rules?

Holidays, business trips and family visits are not allowed, but international flight connections are possible at Frankfurt or Munich

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Thursday 30 December 2021 12:52
Comments

As another swathe of Europe imposes travel restrictions in a bid to try to stem the tide of the Omicron variant, these are the key questions and answers.

Why has Germany banned travel from the UK – and what are the rules?

Because of the extremely high level of Omicron infections, the UK was added to the list of “areas of variants of concern” at midnight German time on Sunday 19 December.

As a result, British tourists, business travellers and people making family visits are banned from entering Germany.

Only German citizens and British residence of Germany are allowed to enter.

Travellers from the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and British Overseas Territories are covered by the same ban.

These locations join South Africa and seven other southern African nations “that can reasonably be believed to pose a particular risk”.

Are urgent family visits allowed?

I can see no legal exceptions, but in extreme circumstances – such as a close relative who is dying – travellers may be allowed in on compassionate grounds.

In such a sad situation the best approach is to contact the Foreign Office on 020 7008 1500.

What if I have a property in Germany?

Travelling to a second home is banned except for people who have official residence status in Germany.

If I am allowed in, what are the testing and quarantine rules?

Regardless of vaccination status, travellers aged 12 or over must present a negative test result: a PCR taken within 72 hours of entry to Germany or a lateral flow taken within 24 hours.

Two weeks of quarantine is mandatory. The German government says: “Make your way directly to your home – or other place of accommodation at your destination – upon arrival and remain isolated there.

“After your arrival, further PCR testing may be ordered by the health authorities at the airport or at the place of isolation/quarantine.”

Is there any flexibility on quarantine?

No. The German authorities say: “The duration of the 14-day quarantine may not be shortened.”

However, were the UK to be taken off the list, quarantine automatically ends.

Can I change planes at Frankfurt or Munich?

Yes, if your destination is outside Germany. The law says: “Airline passengers who are simply changing flights at an airport in the Federal Republic of Germany need not comply with the provisions of the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations.”

A transfer to another EU/Schengen Area nation is allowed, even though travellers will need to go through German passport control.

“A direct transfer at an airport in order to continue one’s journey into another (Schengen) state is not considered an entry,” the rules state.

Can I enter from another country to avoid the travel ban?

Not if you have been in the UK in the past 10 days. You could “launder” your British status somewhere along the way for 10 full days, but you would have to adhere to all the rules of the intermediate country.

How long will the ban last?

The Robert Koch Institute, which compiles the list of areas of variants of concern for the government, says the current classification will apply until 11pm GMT on 2 January – but could be extended.

The regulations on the obligation to quarantine will be in force at least until 15 January 2022.

What is happening in the Netherlands?

The nation has gone into lockdown until 14 January 2020.

All travellers from the UK, irrespective of their vaccination status or possession of a negative test, must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

“This period can be reduced to five days if the traveller receives a negative test result from the Dutch authorities on day five,” says the Foreign Office.

Restrictions within the Netherlands are not conducive to a relaxing break. “Museums, cinemas, theatres, concert venues, and the hospitality industry will close,” according to the British Embassy in the Hague.

Austria is opening up, though?

Yes, the authorities say: “With Vienna re-opening hotels and restaurants/cafés/inns on 20 December, the nationwide lockdown in Austria comes to an end.

“Travel to Austria for touristic purposes is possible for vaccinated and recovered people.

“However, if you haven’t received your booster jab, you need a negative PCR test on top.”

British travellers entering Austria must show a vaccine certificate (NHS Covid pass) indicating proof of full vaccination or a certificate of recovery from a past infection within the past 180 days.

Crucially, you must also provide a negative PCR test taken within the 72 hours of entering Austria – unless you can show that you have received your booster no less than 120 days after the second dose.

Teenagers born after 1 September 2006 can also use the Holiday Ninja Pass, a system of multiple tests designed to make skiing holidays feasible for unvaccinated young people.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in