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Information on visa applications, entry to Germany and quarantine regulations

25.11.2020 - Article

Here you can find information on visa applications, visa renewal, entry to Germany and quarantine regulations.

Travel restrictions due to the corona pandemic

On 30 June 2020, the Council of the EU made a recommendation to further extend the temporary travel restrictions, in place since 16 March 2020, except for travelers from a limited number of countries (“positive list”). Germany has adopted this recommendation.

As a result, the restrictions remain in force for the USA, among others, until further notice. The “positive list”, however, will be reviewed and updated regularly. Depending on the developments of the epidemiological situation, changes in the list may occur.

Despite the continuing entry restrictions, existing exceptions for entering Germany will be significantly expanded.

Exemptions from travel restrictions

Please find the most up to date regulations regarding travel excepctions on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI).,

Processing of visa applications

Visas can currently only be issued in the specific exceptional cases listed below:

  • healthcare professionals, health researchers and elderly care professionals;
  • Transport personnel employed in the movement of goods; other transport staff;
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture;

  • Sailors who need to travel through Germany to reach a port from which their ship is sailing or an airport to return to a third country;

  • Temporary visits in the following cases:
    - Visits by members of the so-called nuclear family (i.e. spouses, registered partners, minor children and parents of minor children) of German citizens, EU citizens, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or of third-country nationals with a valid residence permit for Germany, together with the nuclear family or alone. In cases in which the spouse or registered partner is a German or EU citizen or a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, visits are possible regardless of whether the spouse or registered partner is permanently resident in Germany or abroad.
    - only for imperative family reasons (births, marriages, deaths/funerals or other specific exceptional cases where there is an imperative family reason):
    Visits by first and second-degree relatives who do not belong to the “nuclear family” (i.e. children over the age of majority, parents of children over the age of majority, siblings and grandparents) of German citizens, EU citizens, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or third-country nationals with a valid residence permit for Germany.
    - Visits by first and second-degree relatives who do not belong to the “nuclear family” (i.e. children over the age of majority, parents of children over the age of majority, siblings and grandparents) of German citizens, EU citizens, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or third-country nationals with a valid residence permit for Germany.
    - Visits by the third-country partner to a non-married/non-registered partner in Germany. The partner issuing the invitation must be a German citizen, a citizen of another EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or a third-country national with a long-term residence permit for Germany.
    a. It is conditional on the relationship/partnership being long term, i.e. intended to be lasting and both partners having met in person in Germany at least once or until recently having had a joint place of residence abroad (the meeting does not need to have taken place in Germany).
    b. Appropriate documentation must be provided as proof:
    a written invitation from the person resident in Germany (including a copy of ID papers), a declaration by both partners on the nature of the relationship (for a visit) and proof of prior meetings in person (specifically in the form of passport stamps or travel documentation/airline tickets or proof of a joint place of residence abroad (e.g. residence registration certificate)). Supplementary proof can be provided in the form of documentation such as photos, social media, letters and email correspondence.
    - Where there are urgent reasons:
    Joint visits by unmarried couples from abroad (e.g. wedding, illness or funeral of close relatives). One of the partners must be a German citizen or a citizen of another EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom.
    a. It is conditional on the relationship/partnership being long term, i.e. intended to be lasting and on both partners having a joint place of residence abroad.
    b. Appropriate documentation must be provided as proof:
    written explanation of the urgent reason for the joint entry, a declaration by both partners on the nature of the relationship and the essential reason for entry (for the joint entry) as well as proof of the existing relationship, particularly proof of a joint place of residence abroad (e.g. residence registration certificate). Supplementary proof can be provided in the form of photos, social media, letters and email correspondence

  • Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel, humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions;

  • Passengers in transit;

    Third-country nationals should enter the country of destination directly as a rule. Transit to another EU member state, Schengen country or the United Kingdom as a country of Destination. The entry of third-country nationals into Germany (as a country of transit) for transit to another EU member state, Schengen country or the United Kingdom (country of destination) is permitted, however, if the following conditions are met:

  • a. The stay in Germany (as a country of transit) is limited to the duration required for direct transit to the country of destination (or, if applicable, another country of transit);

  • b. The third-country national is allowed to enter the country of destination (or, if applicable, another country of transit) in accordance with Annex I or II of the Council Recommendation of 30 June 2020 or an individual confirmation of the granting of entry issued by the country of destination.

    Under these conditions, entry by air and onward travel to the country of destination by land are also permitted.

    Third-country nationals must provide prima facie evidence for the aforementioned conditions on entry. In particular, tickets, flight tickets, etc. can be presented in order to provide prima facie evidence for scenario a. In order to provide prima facie evidence for scenario b., a current printout of the national regulations of the country of destination for the implementation of Annex I of the Council Recommendation can be submitted, demonstrating that no proof of the reason for travel is required from residents of certain countries in the country of destination. In other cases, prima facie evidence for the urgent need for entry in accordance with Annex II of the Council Recommendation must be provided. In this case, the German border officials will only check the entry regulations applicable to Germany. Alternatively, an exemption from travel restrictions certified by the competent authorities of the country of destination or a preliminary approval for entry may be presented.

  • Transit to a third country as a country of destination

    The entry of third-country nationals into Germany (as a country of transit) for transit to a third country is permitted if the following conditions are met:
    a. The stay in Germany (as a country of transit) is limited to the duration required for direct transit to the country of destination (or, if applicable, another country of transit).
    b. The third-country national is allowed to enter the country of destination (or, if applicable, another country of transit).                                                                                                                                 Third-country nationals must provide prima facie evidence for the aforementioned conditions a. and b. on entry. In particular, tickets, flight tickets, etc. can be presented in order to provide prima facie evidence for scenario a. In order to provide prima facie evidence for scenario b., an entry permit for the destination country (e.g. a visa) or an identity document or residence permit of the destination country may be submitted

  • Persons in need of international protection or protection for other humanitarian reasons, including urgent medical reasons. A form for confirming the existence of urgent medical reasons for entry can be found here.

  • Applications for family reunification. If entry into Germany for a permanent stay is possible due to one of the exceptions listed here, it is also possible for family members to enter Germany at the same time (e.g. the spouse and minor children of a skilled worker can enter Germany together with the skilled worker).

  • Applications from skilled workers and highly qualified workers from the following categories:
    - skilled workers with a concrete job offer in accordance with the legal definition (sections 18 (3), 18a, 18b of the Residence Act), as evidenced by the declaration of employment

    - scientists/researchers and teachers (sections 18d, 18e and 18f of the Residence Act, as well as section 19c (1) of the Residence Act in conjunction with section 5 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment)
    - secondments (section 19c (1) in conjunction with section 10 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment) and in company transfers (ICT card) (sections 19 and 19b of the Residence Act)
    - managers and company specialists (section 19c (1) in conjunction with section 3 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment)
    - Professional sportspeople and professional e-sportspeople for participation in competitions, international sports events or participation in German clubs (section 19c (1) of the Residence Act in conjunction with section 22 (1), section 22 (4), section 22 (5) or section 23 (2) of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment), as well as accompanying personnel, referees and sports administrators.

  • contracts for work and services/specialists for setting up/installing machines (section 19 (1) of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment for up to 90 days within a 12-month period)

  • - IT specialists (section 19c (2) of the Residence Act in conjunction with section 6 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment)
    - employment in particular public interest (section 19c (3) of the Residence Act)
    - business travellers, if they fulfil the requirements of section 16 (2) of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment, or to attend trade fairs.
    - self-employed persons (section 21 of the Residence Act ),  trade fair participants and congress participants

  • The prerequisite for the entry of self-employed and employed business travelers is that they can provide sufficient evidence that it is absolutely necessary for them to enter Germany even taking the pandemic situation into account. A on the absolute necessity for a business trip at short notice personally signed by the business partner or employer in Germany is required as prima facie evidence. A declaration by a business partner or employer in the sending State (third country) is not sufficient by itself.
    The following documents are required as prima facie evidence of the absolute necessity of entry by business travellers to attend trade fairs as visitors or exhibitors: For trade fair exhibitors, confirmation of participation by the trade fair organiser; for trade fair visitors, the ticket for the trade fair as well as confirmation by at least one trade fair exhibitor of an appointment for a business meeting at the trade fair.   The following documents are required as prima facie evidence of the absolute necessity of entry by speakers or participants at congresses: Prima facie evidence that physical attendance at the congress is absolutely necessary also during the pandemic, i.e. especially where adequate attendance via online formats is not feasible; and registration confirmation or other suitable proof from the organiser regarding the planned attendance of the congress by the third-country national.

  • Students whose studies cannot be performed entirely from outside Germany.  This exemption applies to all those who have either (i) a (conditional or unconditional) notification of admission from the educational establishment, even if preceded by a language course or an internship, or (ii) intend to enter the country for a preparatory language course or internship without notification of admission. It does not, however, apply to university applicants, unless a date for an entrance examination has been set.

  • Entries for further training and internships are possible for a minimum residence period of six months. In the event of further training, the training provider must provide confirmation that attendance is required despite the current pandemic situation (i.e. actual, not merely online presence).
  • Participants in additional training opportunities with the goal of having vocational training courses completed abroad recognised. Here, too, confirmation is required from the training provider that it is necessary for them to enter Germany even taking the current pandemic situation into account (actual, not merely online presence).

  • School pupils who attend a school for a period of at least six months (possibly with a prior language course if proof of school registration is provided at the beginning of the language course). Here, too, confirmation is required from the training provider that it is necessary for them to enter Germany even taking the current pandemic situation into account (actual, not merely online presence).

  • Entries for further training and internships are possible for a minimum residence period of six months. In the event of further training, the training provider must provide confirmation that attendance is required despite the current pandemic situation (i.e. actual, not merely online presence).

  • Au pairs and those completing voluntary service, for which the minimum stay must be six months.

  • Entries for language courses for a planned minimum stay of six months. The organiser of the course must provide confirmation that attendance is required despite the current pandemic situation (i.e. actual, not merely online presence).

Simplified procedure for new national visas (for long stays; D visa)

The entry restrictions and local lockdown measures may mean that you are not able to use a national visa issued by the a German Consular Mission in the U.S. prior to the entry into force of the entry restrictions on 17 March 2020 during its period of validity.

As soon as travel is possible again, a new national visa can therefore be issued as part of the simplified procedure upon application. This fast‑track procedure will be available if your date of travel has changed, but the purpose of your stay and destination remain unaltered.

An informal application for the issue of a new visa under a simplified procedure must be submitted to the German Consular Mission in the U.S. not later than 31 December 2020. Please contact the issuing German Consular Mission for further information. It is possible that up‑to‑date documents proving that the applicant still fulfils the requirements for a visa will have to be submitted. Another interview or appointment booking is not necessary.

Quarantine regulations and COVID‑19 tests upon entry into Germany

Click here for the latest quarantine regulations in Germany

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