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COVID-19 HEALTH PASS

What documents do you need to carry for Germany’s 2G-plus restrictions?

Many people - including tourists - are wondering exactly what they need to carry for Germany's new restrictions that favour Covid- boosted people. Here's what you should know.

A person getting their vaccination pass checked at a cafe in Düsseldorf.
A person getting their vaccination pass checked at a cafe in Düsseldorf under the new 2G-plus rules. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Henning Kaiser

What’s happened?

Last week the federal government and states agreed on tougher entry restrictions to get into cafes, restaurants and bars. The 2G-plus rules mean that people have to be vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 and have a negative Covid test, or have had a booster shot. 

States are bringing in their own legislation on that, and many of them are extending the 2G-plus rule to almost all public places, including in leisure and cultural facilities. 

There are still a few unclear points, but we hope this information helps explain the current situation. 

What documents do I need to carry?

As with the previous 2G rules, the latest restrictions mean you will be stopped from entering a public place – like a restaurant – unless you show a number of documents. 

OPINION: The pandemic has revealed Germany’s deep obsession with rules and compliance

READ ALSO: What we know so far about Germany’s 2G-plus rules for restaurants

Vaccinated (geimpft)

You need to have proof that you are fully vaccinated – preferably with a QR code. That can be the EU digital vaccination certificate (either uploaded to the Corona-Warn or CovPass app) or the paper with the QR code. Other foreign digital vaccination passes – such as the NHS app from the UK – are also accepted. 

When it comes to people who were vaccinated abroad and don’t have a digital vaccination pass, things get a bit more tricky. 

If you are based in Germany and were vaccinated abroad you should be able to get an EU digital pass from a pharmacy. If you show them your documents (vaccine certificate with a vaccine approved in the EU, ID and possibly registration certificate or Anmeldung), they can convert it for you.

If you are not based in Germany – for instance if you are visiting as a tourist – you are technically not meant to get the EU digital vaccine certificate in Germany. 

The official line from the German government is that to get the digital certificate, you need to live, work or study in Germany.  However, some people have able to get it by trying different pharmacies. 

READ MORE: Visiting Germany – is it possible to get the EU digital vaccine certificate?

The Local has been reporting how some German states, such as Berlin, Baden-Württemberg and Saarland are phasing out paper proof like the international vaccination booklet and require a vaccination pass with a QR code. 

Some pharmacies are also now offering an alternative card to people who either don’t have a smartphone, or want a physical document proving their vaccination.

The Immunkarte, developed by a Leipzig start-up, is available either online or at about 7,500 partner pharmacies across Germany for just under €10.

READ MORE: How proving vaccinations in Germany changes in 2022

Tourists and visitors can still present the vaccination proof they were issued in their country (eg a CDC card from the United States).

It is usually accepted (Berlin for instance allows non-German residents to show proof of vaccination that doesn’t have a QR code). But keep in mind that some businesses could be super strict if they prefer to scan the QR code to allow entry. 

Booster shot (geboostert)

Under the 2G-plus rules, you will also need to show proof of being boosted – usually having three jabs. Currently about 45 percent of the German population has received a booster vaccination against Covid.

There is some debate over what being boosted actually means in Germany. For instance, the Health Ministry told us that people who’ve had the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine plus an mRNA shot, are technically not boosted as they require another shot three months later. 

But some Local readers say their J&J and top-up shot is accepted as being fully boosted.

According to broadcaster ZDF people who’ve had J&J and a single shot are accepted as being boosted in the states of Hamburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia.

READ ALSO: What people who’ve had J&J in Germany need to know

States also handle vaccination breakthrough infections differently: while in Bavaria, Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia a Covid infection after two vaccinations leads to the status “boosted”, this regulation doesn’t seem to apply in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Saarland and Thuringia. Here, recovered people have to also get a booster jab after a breakthrough infection in order to be considered boosted.

There is also some debate over when you are counted as being booster under the 2G-plus rules following your booster shot. Most states say that you are boosted straight after you get your top-up vaccination, but according to Focus Online, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein count people as being boosted for the 2G-plus rules 14 days after their booster shot.

A lot of it will depend on the operator of the restaurant or bar you’re trying to enter, which is not ideal. 

Hopefully these issues will be ironed out in the coming days as states bring in the rules. 

Covid-19 test (getestet)

If you have not yet received a booster vaccination, you need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test. This usually has to be taken within the last 24 hours if it’s an antigen test, or 48 hours if it’s a PCR test. 

In Germany, rapid tests are free and there are many test centres in towns and cities. People are allowed one per week, but lots of places offer residents one per day.

You will usually receive the result of the test in digital format and you will have to show that along with your vaccination proof when entering a 2G-plus facility. 

You can find more information on test sites across Germany here.

ID (Ausweis)

As well as your vaccination proof, you will usually be asked for photo ID. That can be a passport, residence permit or health insurance card.

Recovery (genesen)

In Germany you are classed as “recovered” if you received a PCR test  or a similar test checked in a lab taken at least 28 days ago. It must also not be older than six months. However, if you have recovered and have been vaccinated, you can be given an EU digital certificate from the pharmacy or doctor.

Member comments

  1. I’m vaccinated (two doses) and recovered (I was infected a few months after). I don’t understand why I’m not considered as boosted. Infection should grant an immunity better than a booster shot.

    1. Should have been infected before your two doses. Welcome to German bureaucracy.

      On a serious note. I think the rules have changed. And a PCR test showing infection counts. Regardless of date

  2. FYI —- Schloss Nymphenburg museum would NOT accept a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) as proof of identification. Incredibly frustrating.

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For members

COVID-19 RULES

End of the pandemic? What the expiry of Sweden’s Covid laws really means

With the expiry of Sweden's two temporary Covid-19 laws, the downgrading of the virus's threat classification, and the end of the last travel restrictions, April, officially at least, marks the end of the pandemic. We explain what it means.

End of the pandemic? What the expiry of Sweden's Covid laws really means

What are the two laws which expire on April 1st? 

Sweden’s parliament voted last week to let the two temporary laws put in place to battle the Covid-19 pandemic expire on April 1st.

The first law is the so-called Covid-19 law, or “the law on special restrictions to limit the spread of the Covid-19 illness”, which was used during the pandemic to temporarily empower the authorities to limit the number of visitors to shops, gyms, and sports facilities. It also gave the government power to limit the number of people who could gather in public places like parks and beaches. 

The second law was the “law on temporary restrictions at serving places”. This gave the authorities, among other things, the power to limit opening times, and force bars and restaurants to only serve seated customers.  

What impact will their expiry have? 

The immediate impact on life in Sweden will be close to zero, as the restrictions imposed on the back of these two laws were lifted months ago. But it does means that if the government does end up wanting to bring back these infection control measures, it will have to pass new versions of the laws before doing so. 

How is the classification of Covid-19 changing? 

The government decided at the start of February that it would stop classifying Covid-19 both as a “critical threat to society” and “a disease that’s dangerous to the public” on April 1st.

These classifications empowered the government under the infectious diseases law that existed in Sweden before the pandemic to impose health checks on inbound passengers, place people in quarantine, and ban people from entering certain areas, among other measures. 

What impact will this change have? 

Now Covid-19 is no longer classified as “a disease that’s dangerous to the public”, or an allmänfarlig sjukdom, people who suspect they have caught the virus, are no longer expected to visit a doctor or get tested, and they cannot be ordered to get tested by a court on the recommendation of an infectious diseases doctor. People with the virus can also no longer be required to aid with contact tracing or to go into quarantine. 

Now Covid-19 is no longer classified as “a critical threat to society”, or samhällsfarlig, the government can no longer order health checks at border posts, quarantine, or ban people from certain areas. 

The end of Sweden’s last remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions

Sweden’s last remaining travel restriction, the entry ban for non-EU arrivals, expired on March 31st.  This means that from April 1st, Sweden’s travel rules return to how they were before the Covid-19 pandemic began. 

No one will be required to show a vaccination or test certificate to enter the country, and no one will be barred from entering the country because their home country or departure country is not deemed to have a sufficiently good vaccination program or infection control measures. 

Does that mean the pandemic is over? 

Not as such. Infection rates are actually rising across Europe on the back of yet another version of the omicron variant. 

“There is still a pandemic going on and we all need to make sure that we live with it in a balanced way,” the Public Health Agency’s director-general, Karin Tegmark Wisell, told SVT

Her colleague Sara Byfors told TT that this included following the “fundamental recommendation to stay home if you are sick, so you don’t spread Covid-19 or any other diseases”. 

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