Germany: Free COVID-19 tests for travellers from risk areas scrapped

Germany: Free COVID-19 tests for travellers from risk areas scrapped

Germany has scrapped its offer of free coronavirus tests for travellers returning from risk areas abroad, the DPA has learned. 

No more free coronavirus tests for travellers from risk areas

Up until very recently, anyone who came to Germany from a high-risk area abroad (as designated by the Robert Koch Institute) had the option of being tested for COVID-19, free of charge, five days after their return. If the test result came back negative, they were released from the mandatory 10-day quarantine. 

This is now set to change. While the rules about quarantining and testing are still in place, the option of the free test has, however, expired. This week, the DPA learned from sources inside the Health Ministry that the free coronavirus test will no longer be offered to those who have been in a risk area in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Germany.

Initially, the date given was December 16, but the Federal Ministry of Health has already updated its website to say that free tests will not be granted after December 1 - meaning that the change has already taken effect. 

A further change is that the government will no longer provide compensation for loss of earnings during the quarantine period to people who make an “avoidable” trip to risk areas. However, an exception will be made in “extraordinary circumstances”, such as the birth of a child or the death of a close relative. 

Travelling to Germany from a risk zone: What you need to know

As of November 8, Germany has new rules in place regarding quarantining and testing for people coming from risk areas abroad. Although the regulations in theory apply nationwide, each individual state remains responsible for their implementation, so there may be regional variations between federal states

Anyone who has been in a risk area at any point in the 10 days before travelling Germany is now required to fill out a digital entry form via a new online portal. Once you have provided all of the important details, you will receive a PDF confirmation of your registration. You will be required to display this at the airport before you can even travel to Germany. 

Your details will automatically be passed on to the responsible health authority. You do not have to report your arrival independently. 

Previously, travellers from risk areas were required to quarantine for 14 days - unless they tested negative for coronavirus upon arrival. Now, a 10-day quarantine is mandatory for everyone arriving from a risk area. This can only be ended with a negative coronavirus test, which must be taken no earlier than five days after entering Germany. 

You can find out where to take a test in Germany by calling 116 117 or visiting the website If you would prefer, you can also be tested by your regular GP, but you should call them beforehand, and not simply turn up to the surgery. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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