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Entry despite COVID-19

Entry to Germany for Summer Semester 2021

| Organizational matters

What restrictions and regulations regarding tests and quarantine must be observed?

The COVID-19 virus unfortunately still has an enormous impact on the (almost) worldwide everyday life in 2021, also or even especially that of students. The situation is particularly challenging for those who would like to start studying abroad or spend a semester abroad in the summer semester of 2021. In order to prevent a little uncertainty, we have summarized the most important information on entry restrictions and regulations for you.

UPDATE: This article has been updated on July 6th, 2021.

Are you currently allowed to enter Germany for studies?

Basically, you are allowed to enter Germany for the purpose of studying, which also includes a doctorate. Furthermore, citizens of EU countries do not need a so-called "valid reason for entry". Third-country nationals usually have to prove that they have a place at a university (find out more about visa requirements here). It is important that the studies cannot be completed entirely from abroad. However, since most universities offer a mixture of online and face-to-face studies or you have to be on site at least for certain exams, proof of compulsory attendance is usually not required. Please check with your (host) university in case of doubt. In addition, for all entries by air, a negative test result not older than 48 hours must be presented. Instead of a test result, proof of complete vaccination with a vaccine accredited in the EU or proof of recovery can also be presented. Furthermore, there are special entry requirements for different regions of residence, which vary from region to region:

1. "Virus Variant Areas"

The German Robert Koch Institute declares certain countries and/or regions as "virus variant areas". This means that there is a high spread of the virus mutations here, which one tries to prevent in Germany. Therefore, the entry of persons from these areas is currently completely prohibited. This also applies to those who have been fully vaccinated or recovered. Exceptions are only possible in very rare cases, for example if a person already lives in Germany or has a right of residence for Germany. Unfortunately, this does not apply for students and scientists, even if they have a confirmation for a study place. Since the entry is not possible, no corresponding visas are issued. The current list of the areas can be found on the page of the RKI website. Currently (as of July 6th, 2021), these include Brazil, South Africa and Namibia. The entry ban has been temporarily extended until July 28. It is not yet clear when the ban will be lifted.

2. "High-incidence Areas"

Another category is formed by the so-called "high-incidence areas", i.e. areas with very high case numbers. These are also constantly updated by the RKI and can be viewed on the institute's website. Currently (as of July, 6th 2021), Egypt, Iran, Tunisia and Russia are among them. If you are entering Germany from one of these countries or regions, you must present a negative test result or proof of vaccination or recovery to the airline or travel company with which you are entering. It may also be necessary to show the test again at the entry control in Germany by the Federal Police. Immediately after entering the country, you will have to go into domestic quarantine. This lasts ten days. Five days after entry at the earliest, you can end the quarantine prematurely with a negative test result. Those who have recovered or been vaccinated can end their quarantine immediately by submitting the respective proof.

3. "Corona Risk Areas"

The third group is that of "corona risk areas", which can also be viewed on the RKI site. These currently (as of July, 6th 2021) include Indonesia, Ghana and Pakistan among others. Whoever has stayed in one of these areas within the last ten days before entering Germany must register with the corresponding portal of the health authorities before arriving in Germany and be able to prove this registration upon entry. Subsequently, one has to go into quarantine in Germany for (usually) ten days. At the latest 48 hours after entry from a corresponding area, one must be able to present a negative test result, proof of vaccination or recovery. This way, the domestic quarantine can then be terminated prematurely.

Of course, entry is more complicated than usual at the moment. However, you don't have to let Corona stop you from your plans to study in Germany. It is important that you always check if the regulations are still up to date before entering the country. After all, there are frequent changes at the moment - and hopefully soon there can be changes that will make it easier for you to enter the country again.