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Information on visa applications, entry to Germany and quarantine regulations

30.06.2020 - Artikel

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

1. 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 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.

  •    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 (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 international transit;

  • Persons in need of international protection or protection for other humanitarian reasons, including urgent medical reasons;

  • 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 (Section 18d of the Residence Act)
    - 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) restricted to managers and specialists (Sections 19 (2), 19b of the Residence Act)
    - senior employees
    - managers and specialists (Sections 19c (1) in conjunction with Section 3 of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment)
    - IT experts (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)
    - persons employed under contracts for work and services (section 19c (1) in conjunction with section 29 (1) of the Ordinance on the Admission of Newly-Arrived Foreigners for the Purpose of Taking up Employment), only Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey

  • 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.

  • Students whose studies cannot be performed entirely from outside Germany. This exemption applies to all those who have a notification of admission (even if preceded by a language course or an internship). It does not, however, apply to university applicants and those who wish to travel to Germany for a language course and then look around for a course of study (isolated language course). Documents must also be presented to border control personnel.

  • Apprentices who are completing a qualified training course. This must be a training course for a state-recognised or similarly accredited training occupation with a planned duration of at least two years (with a preparatory language course). A prerequisite is submission of confirmation 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).

  • 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 are attending a boarding school for a period of at least six months (possibly with prior language course)

Korean citizens (for example students) may still enter Germany without a visa, if they can show proof of one of the afore-mentioned exceptions to the airline and border authorities and there is an urgent need for the entry.

Please note that you are responsible for providing the necessary proof to the Airline and border Police. You can contact the German Federal Police (Bundespolizei) prior to your intended travel so as to obtain up-to-date information on whether you can expect being granted entry to Germany upon your Arrival.

2. Restrictions on entry to Germany

Due to existing entry restrictions, as a rule the entry from South Korea is only possible in limited exceptional cases and corresponding proof at the entry. More information is available below under the heading Urgent Need.

For Germany, travel restrictions apply for entry from a large number of countries. Please check with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) prior to your trip to find out what regulations apply specifically with regard to the country from which you plan to enter Germany.

In principle, entry is possible from:

  • EU member states
  • states associated with Schengen: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
  • the United Kingdom
  • Other countries, from which entry is possible due to the epidemiological situation assessment by the EU.

Entry from other countries is only possible in exceptional cases and is conditional on there being an urgent Need.

3. Quarantine regulations for entry to Germany

In principle, no quarantine applies for entry to Germany from Korea. Quarantine may, however, be necessary if travellers have stayed in a risk area in the 14 days prior to entry. In these cases, proof of a negative test for SARS-CoV‑2 must be provided or a test carried out within 14 days of entry at the request of the competent authority. The Länder are responsible for practical implementation. More details on the risk areas are available below under Risk Areas. 

Upon entry into Germany following a stay in a risk area within the last 14 days

  • you must proceed directly to your destination following entry into Germany,
  • self-isolate at home until a negative test result is available (for more details on this see Exception: proven negative test result), provide proof of the negative test result to the competent authorities, as a rule the health office, upon request, and
  • email or phone your competent authority, as a rule the health office in your place of residence/accommodation. If travellers have filled in and submitted a disembarkation card on the plane, ship, bus or train, they do not have to register again after entry.

Travellers can find more information on the newly introduced mandatory tests here.

Exception: transit

The obligation to self-isolate at home does not apply in the case of transit through Germany. In this case, however, you are obliged to leave Germany immediately.


Exception: proven negative test result

If you can prove that you are not infected with COVID‑19, no quarantine is necessary in most Länder. However, some Länder require you to take another test after a few days.

This proof must take the form of a medical certificate. The molecular test to detect an infection must have been conducted no more than 48 hours prior to entry (i.e. the result must be no more than 48 hours old upon entry). The test must have been carried out in a European Union member state or a state with comparable quality standards.

Alternatively, the test may be carried out upon entry

  • at the border crossing point or
  • at the place where you are staying.

The test is free for travellers up to 72 hours after entry and can be conducted at airports, for example.

The test result must be retained for at least 14 days after entry – regardless of whether the test was conducted prior to or following entry. It must be submitted to the health office upon request.

Laws on entry requirements

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