EXPLAINED: The current travel rules between India and Germany

Due to the severe Covid-19 situation, there are strict travel regulations in place for travel from India to Germany and vice versa at the moment. Here's what you need to know about the latest travel rules and conditions.

EXPLAINED: The current travel rules between India and Germany
A Lufthansa plane in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Alejandro Ernesto

Currently in the midst of a major crisis, India has been recording over 300,000 new Covid-19 infections a day for the last two weeks

On April 24th, Germany joined the list of countries to impose a temporary travel ban on visitors from India, with few exceptions.

Here are the circumstances under which people can travel to India from Germany. 

READ ALSO: Germany restricts travel from ‘high-risk’ India

Who can enter Germany? 

Germany has a classification system that divides geographical regions into risk areas, high-incidence areas and virus variant areas. The website of the Robert Koch Institute shows which countries falls into which category. 

For virus variant areas, stricter rules apply when returning to Germany.

There is essentially a ban on all transport from areas with concerning variants circulating. The ban is initially in place up to and including May 12th but may be extended.

Only people with residence or right of residence in Germany and transit passengers may enter the country if travelling from a country that is on “areas of variant of concern” list. India was recently added to this list, as well as the high incidence area list.

In a tweet on Wednesday May 5th, the Indian Embassy in Berlin laid out what travellers to Germany need to know about the current coronavirus situation, and what travel rules apply.

What are the exceptions?

German nationals and their accompanying close family members (spouse and children) are exempt from the travel ban.

People with a German residence permit can also enter Germany. But holders of German short and long term visas are not allowed entry at this time. Any Indian traveller who enters Germany, regardless of the length of stay, is normally required to have a visa first. 

Only students who have both a student visa and a residence permit will be allowed to enter the country. 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know as an Indian student moving to Germany

Members of foreign diplomatic missions and consular offices and accompanying family members can also enter the country, provided their arrival to Germany has been notified by the German Federal Foreign Office. 

Arrival in Germany

If you meet the above categories and are travelling to Germany, you have to register on the Einreise Anmeldung’s website before setting off on your journey.

Additionally, everyone travelling to Germany by air has to provide a negative Covid-19 test and present it to the airline prior to boarding. This includes transit passengers. The test result may also be checked by border police.

The test has to be taken no later than 48 hours prior to the scheduled arrival time in Germany. Children under six are exempt from taking the test.

A home quarantine is mandatory on arrival in Germany for people coming from any type of risk areas. People coming from “virus areas of concern” are required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival in the country.

Check with the state regulations for the area you are travelling to for any regional variations on rules after travel.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the latest rules on travel to and from Germany

What about travel in the other direction?

The German Foreign Office advises against all non-essential tourist travel to India due to the current situation.

According to the Foreign Office, airlines flying to India are only allowed to carry passengers who present a negative PCR test (max. 72 hours old).

Prior to travel, it is mandatory to complete a self-declaration form and upload the negative PCR test result.

A printout of the registration form, as well as a passport copy should be carried by passengers. The use of the Covid-19 tracking app Aarogya Setu is mandatory. Current information on entry, testing and quarantine regulations can be found on the New Delhi Airport website.

Keep in mind that there are varying local rules such as in the state of Maharashtra which has imposed a 14-day mandatory quarantine for travellers from the EU, the UK and the Middle East. Part of this must be spent in a state institution.

After entry to India, a further Covid-19 test, for which a fee is charged, must be carried out at the airport. Transit passengers are not allowed to leave the arrival area until the test result is received, which can take several hours.

Commercial international travel is currently prohibited in principle in India. Tourist travel remains banned until further notice.

Donating to India

A day after the temporary travel ban was issued against travellers from India, Angela Merkel announced that Germany was preparing emergency aid for India. 

“To the people of India I want to express my sympathy on the terrible suffering that Covid-19 has again brought over your communities,” Merkel said in a message shared on Twitter by her spokesman Steffen Seibert. 

While Germany is in the process of sending and preparing aid for India, people can donate to various foundations tackling the lack of oxygen tanks, shortage of food supply, arrangement of ambulances, among other noteworthy causes.

One Indian activist has compiled a list of credible nonprofits to consider donating to. 

READ ALSO: Germany prepares ‘urgent support’ for Covid-hit India

Member comments

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


Could there be a new wave of Covid-19 in Germany this autumn?

It’s back again: amid sinking temperatures, the incidence of Covid-19 has been slowly rising in Germany. But is this enough to merit worrying about the virus?

Could there be a new wave of Covid-19 in Germany this autumn?

More people donning face masks in supermarkets, friends cancelling plans last minute due to getting sick with Covid-19. We might have seen some of those familiar reminders recently that the coronavirus is still around, but could there really be a resurgence of the virus like we experienced during the pandemic years?

According to virologists, the answer seems to be ‘maybe’: since July, the number of people newly infected with Covid-19 has been slowly rising from a very low level.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), nine people per 100,000 inhabitants became newly infected in Germany last week. A year ago, there were only around 270 reported cases.

Various Corona variants are currently on the loose in the country. According to the RKI,  the EG.5 (also called Eris) and XBB.1.16 lines were each detected in the week ending September 3rd with a share of just under 23 percent. 

The highly mutated variant BA.2.86 (Pirola), which is currently under observation by the World Health Organisation (WHO), also arrived in the country this week, according to RKI. 

High number of unreported case

The RKI epidemiologists also warned about a high number of unreported cases since hardly any testing is done. They pointed out that almost half of all registered sewage treatment plants report an increasing viral load in wastewater tests.

The number of hospital admissions has also increased slightly, but are still a far cry from the occupation rate amid the pandemic. Last week it was two per 100,000 inhabitants. In the intensive care units, only 1.2 percent of all beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.

Still, a good three-quarters (76.4 percent) of people in Germany have been vaccinated at least twice and thus have basic immunity, reported RKI. 

Since Monday, doctors’ offices have been vaccinating with the adapted vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer, available to anyone over 12 years old, with a vaccine for small children set to be released the following week and one for those between 5 and 11 to come out October 2nd.

But Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has so far only recommended that people over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions get vaccinated.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who should get a Covid jab this autumn in Germany?

“The pandemic is over, the virus remains,” he said. “We cannot predict the course of coming waves of corona, but it is clear that older people and people with pre-existing conditions remain at higher risk of becoming severely ill from Covid-19”

The RKI also recommended that people with a cold voluntarily wear a mask. Anyone exhibiting cough, cold, sore throat or other symptoms of a respiratory illness should voluntarily stay at home for three to five days and take regular corona self-tests. 

However, further measures such as contact restrictions are not necessary, he said.

One of many diseases

As of this autumn, Covid-19 could be one of many respiratory diseases. As with influenza, there are no longer absolute infection figures for coronavirus.

Saarbrücken pharmacist Thorsten Lehr told German broadcaster ZDF that self-protection through vaccinations, wearing a mask and getting tested when symptoms appear are prerequisites for surviving the Covid autumn well. 

Only a new, more aggressive mutation could completely turn the game around, he added.

On April 7th of this year, Germany removed the last of its over two-year long coronavirus restrictions, including mask-wearing in some public places.

READ ALSO: German doctors recommend Covid-19 self-tests amid new variant