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Entry restrictions due to the Corona Pandemic

Following a decision by the Federal Minister of the Interior and Germany’s neighbouring countries and the affected federal states, it was decided to introduce temporary border controls to further contain the corona pandemic. Since the introduction of the Schengen Agreement in 1985, the EU has had practically no border controls at inner-European borders. The border controls now introduced at the internal borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark are initially to remain in place until 14 April 2020.

While cross-border movement of goods should continue to be possible without problems, private travellers will no longer be allowed to enter or leave the country at the above-mentioned borders without an urgent reason for travelling. Travellers with symptoms of corona disease will no longer be allowed to enter the country. However, any necessary measures will be coordinated with the local health authorities.

Furthermore, crossing the above-mentioned borders is now only possible at certain border crossing points. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has published a list of possible border crossing points.

Crossing the borders is now only permitted in urgent cases, whereby crossing the border is not tied to a nationality. Urgent reasons should be, for example, medical treatment, family deaths. However, the assessment of the existence of an urgent reason will be made on a case-by-case basis. This assessment takes place on the spot, i.e. at the border crossing, and is at the discretion of each official. EU citizens and third-country nationals are still allowed to return to their home country via a transit through Germany.

Crossing borders for professional reasons is still permissible and possible. Thus, commuters can still enter the respective state without having to fear any restrictions. However, it must be possible to provide proof of the work-related crossing by means of an employment contract or similar.

Persons who are in possession of a Schengen visa, i.e. who wish to travel for tourism purposes, are in principle no longer allowed to enter the country.

German citizens are still allowed to enter Germany.

It is problematic that harvest workers and seasonal workers from abroad are no longer allowed to enter Germany. German farmers currently fear a crop failure. The industry is looking for 300,000 harvest workers. Following a call by the farmers’ associations, helpers from Germany have already come forward, some of whom are suffering a loss of income due to short-time work or loss of orders.

The above-mentioned measures also apply to air traffic, with air travellers from Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Switzerland in particular being subject to stricter controls. Without an urgent reason for travelling, they too must not be allowed to enter the country. It is advisable not to travel abroad without an urgent reason for travel.

It is also true for entries outside the EU that entry without an urgent reason is no longer possible. German nationals are expressly excluded from this. Transit for the purpose of travelling home is still permitted for EU citizens as well as citizens of Great Britain, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members. For third-country nationals who have a long-term residence permit from an EU state, the rule is that they may return to their usual place of residence. If this condition cannot be met, third-country nationals will be turned back at the border if there is no urgent reason.

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