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
- 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 / for joint entry) 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.
- In the case of serious personal reasons:
visits by unmarried couples from abroad travelling together (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.
Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel, humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions;
Passengers in transit;
Persons in need of international protection or protection for other humanitarian reasons, including urgent medical reasons;
Applications for family reunification;
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)
- business travellers
Entry as a skilled worker or highly qualified employee is conditional on proof of an obligation to be present in Germany (e.g. employment contract) and prima facie evidence that employment is necessary from an economic perspective and that the work cannot be postponed or carried out from abroad (verification from the employer/contractor). Economic necessity refers to economic relations and/or Germany’s economy or that of the single market. Relevant documentation must be carried and presented to border control personnel.
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). Evidence of an obligation to be present in Germany is necessary in the form of verification from the university (e.g. via email); 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).
2. Restrictions on entry to Germany
As a rule, entry from Hong Kong is not possible due to existing entry restrictions. 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.
3. Quarantine regulations and COVID‑19 tests upon entry into Germany
In principle, no quarantine applies for entry to Germany from Hong Kong. Quarantine may, however, be necessary if travellers have stayed in a risk area at any time 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 [Ankerlink]), 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.
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.
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.