Travel restrictions

Germany and the United States – Forbes Advisor

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Despite concerns about Covid-19 transmission, travel between Germany and the United States is open. But vaccination and testing requirements make it necessary to prepare before you go on a trip.

In addition, traveling to Germany poses a level 4, or very high, travel risk according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classification. Travel to Germany and other Tier 4 countries should therefore be avoided. The CDC bases risk determinations on data from the World Health Organization and other official sources, and metrics include cumulative new cases, test rates, and test-to-case ratios.

Related: Best home Covid tests

Requirements to enter Germany from the United States

If you are a US resident returning to the US from Germany by air, you must show proof of a negative Covid test (antigen or PCR) taken within one calendar day of your flight departure , even if you are vaccinated. If you do not have your negative test results upon departure or have not taken a test, you will not be permitted to board your flight from Germany to the United States.

Germany is strict but clear with its definition of being fully vaccinated: you need two doses, including if you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is sometimes considered complete after just one dose. Children aged 12 and over must also be fully vaccinated before arrival.

Proof of vaccination must be documented in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish. Both physical and digital forms are accepted, but photographs of physical forms are not – a digital form must be issued by an official source.

All travellers, including children aged 6 and over, must also have proof of a negative test result, regardless of their vaccination status. Germany accepts PCR tests within 48 hours of your flight departure and antigen tests within 48 hours of flight arrival; note the difference in timing depending on your type of test as it is significant, especially for long flights.

If you have just transited through Germany from a virus variant or high-risk area, you will still need at least one of the following: proof of full vaccination, proof of recovery or a valid negative test result.

It is important to keep in mind that the current situation is changing and that new restrictions could be put in place by the German government at any time. For more information on restrictions on US travelers entering Germany, visit the Website of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

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Requirements to enter the United States from Germany

All passengers aged 2 and over must present proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within a day of departing their flight to the United States.

Unlike previous requirements which allowed a longer schedule for vaccinated travellers, this new requirement treats all passengers equally, regardless of their vaccination status. As is currently the case, a PCR or Antigen test is still accepted as proof of being negative for Covid-19.

It is important to note that the test requirements include taking it within one calendar day and are not limited to 24 hours after your departure. This means that passengers can take their test at any time during the day before their flight, regardless of when their flight departs.

Alternatively, passengers who have recently recovered from Covid-19 can provide documentation of their recovery. Accepted documentation includes a positive Covid-19 viral test result within 90 days of flight departure, and a letter from an approved healthcare provider stating that the passenger is cleared to travel.

If you are not a US citizen and do not have immigration status in the United States, you must provide proof of vaccination before boarding a flight to the United States.

Testing in Germany costs around $20 to $35 for rapid tests, while PCR tests can cost more.

For more information on requirements for travelers returning to the United States, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Related: When should I use a Covid home test?