The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many travellers out of the European Union for months. Would-be students, job seekers, and digital nomads from outside the EU have been unable to enter Germany except in extraordinary circumstances. But on July 1, the European Commission recommended the loosening of travel restrictions for citizens of certain countries.
So who will be able to enter Germany under the new rules? And what does this mean for those who don’t make the cut?
Travellers from just 14 countries will be allowed to enter Europe without restrictions, according to the new recommendations. These are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. China is also on the list, with the condition that China also open its borders to EU citizens.
These countries have been determined to have their COVID-19 outbreaks under control, so visitors from these countries are presumed to be “low risk”. Presuming they have the proper visas, travellers from these countries will be able to enter the EU for any reason, including tourism.
The list notably excludes visitors from many of the EU’s largest trade and tourism partners, like Russia, Turkey and the United States.
My country isn’t on the list. What can I do?
If you’re from a country that didn’t make the cut, there are a few ways you can still enter the EU. These include:
- Having a residence permit in an EU country;
- Being registered to study in an EU country;
- Having a job offer and work permit in an EU country.
So if you were planning a grand European tour this summer, you’re probably out of luck. But if one of the above situations applies to you, then you have a good chance of being able to enter. You’ll just have to make sure to lay the necessary groundwork to ensure entry at the airport or border crossing.
Having all your supporting documents on hand will certainly be helpful. This will mean doing some research to figure out what you need to gain entry, possibly including:
- Your admission letter to a school or university if you’re a student.
- Your Anmeldung document, if you’re already a resident in Germany.
- Your job contract and work permit.
But keep in mind that a job offer alone, for example, will not guarantee you entry to Germany. You will almost certainly need the necessary work permit, which means you’ll probably need to get in touch with your local embassy or consulate.
“I always recommend that people go to an embassy or consulate in their home country and get the necessary entry visa before they get on a plane,” says Johanna Sieben, founder of relocation firm c/o Germany, which helps non-EU freelancers and employees secure work and residence permits in Berlin. “I know it’s far from ideal, but it’s better to be safe and wait another month or two to see if things change.”