Coronavirus: Travel Restriction Information for International Students in Germany

travel restrictions for international students

Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, citizens of the world have been facing travel restrictions, apart from the obvious threat of the pandemic. Starting from the end of February, the majority of the Schengen Members started introducing border controls, one after the other. Later on, entry bans for non-nationals and non-residents were also introduced.

On March 17, the EU Commission recommended that a travel ban be placed for third-country citizens, something that was later on implemented by all members, including candidate countries. This period of time was difficult for travellers having to travel to and from Germany, something that impacted international students as well.

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Recently, borders have been reopening, and numerous travel restrictions will stop being implemented. Find the updates introduced by the German Federal Foreign Office just below:

24 June 2020 – Latest Update

The European Commission has recommended that the travel restrictions that are already being implemented for non-essential travel to the EU from third countries, to be extended until 30 June 2020. This recommendation will be implemented by Germany as the Foreign Office has announced.

Individuals who will be exempted from these restrictions include the following:

  • EU-nationals, nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, as well as UK-nationals (including family members returning to their place of residence).
  • Nationals of third countries who have a long-term residence right in an EU member country or the countries mentioned above. A prerequisite is that these third-country nationals must have a long-term visa or residence permit for study or work purposes and are returning to their place of habitual residence.
  • Nationals of third countries with essential functions or needs (healthcare workers, transit passengers, cross-border workers, etc).

The Federal Foreign Office, as of 22 June, has advised against travel to Great Britain, Malta, as well as Ireland.

Those Wishing to Travel Within the EU

Starting from 20 June, no valid reason is required for entry to Germany from other EU-countries, Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), and the UK.

Find our coronavirus FAQs section for international students in Germany here.

7 April 2020 – Previous Updates

1. People Entering Germany From Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg or Denmark

Non-essential travel is advised against and tourism is not allowed. German citizens will not be prohibited from entering Germany, while, non-German citizens are allowed to enter Germany only under certain conditions. Non-German citizens can enter Germany, by land, air or sea, during travel restrictions if the following apply:

  • If you are returning to your home or legal residence in Germany.
  • In urgent situations which require your entrance. Such situations include medical treatment or death of an immediate family member.
  • If you have to work or carry out professional contractual services. In this case, you must prove your need to enter Germany by providing the needed documentation such as work contract, permit for frontier workers, etc.
  • If you need to transit through Germany to travel to your home country, in case no other travel transit route is possible.

2. People Entering Germany From Non-Eu Countries

German citizens are allowed to enter Germany regardless of where they come from. Persons travelling from non-EU countries, by air or the sea, must comply with certain conditions.

  • Citizens of EU member countries travelling to Germany from non-EU countries are allowed to do so if their home or legal residence is in Germany.
  • Citizens of EU member countries, including the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, travelling from non-EU countries to Germany, are allowed to do so if it is the only way to reach their home country.
  • Non-EU citizens who are holders of a long-term visa or residence permit and whose home or legal residence is in Germany are allowed to enter the country.
  • Non-EU citizens who have a residence permit or long-term visa in an EU country (including United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland) and their families can enter Germany to get to their home country as a travel connection.
  • Non-EU citizens who do not have a long-term visa or residence permit, will not be allowed to enter Germany. The only way they can enter Germany is if they have an urgent reason to do so.

Reintroduced Border Controls

The German Ministry of Interior has temporarily reintroduced internal border controls on flights arriving in Germany from Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Switzerland. As of March 16, land border controls have been reintroduced with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark.

This is done as a means of halting the transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. People who travel for non-essential purposes will be restricted from entering and leaving Germany. Those who have symptoms similar to the ones that imply a coronavirus infection, will not be allowed to either leave or enter Germany, in coordination with the relevant neighbouring country.

Travelling From Germany to Other Countries

Travel restrictions have also been introduced by countries other than Germany, as a way to stop the transmission of the virus and protect the health of their citizens. Some of these countries may ban entry from Germany or impose quarantine restrictions for travellers coming from Germany. The situation may change depending on how the pandemic progresses. All those wishing to travel from Germany are advised to contact the relevant embassies in their home countries/or transit countries, to see whether they will be prone to any travel restrictions along the way.

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