From Sunday: Germany makes COVID tests compulsory for flight returnees

From Sunday: Germany makes COVID tests compulsory for flight returnees

A blanket travel ban on tourist trips is still up in the air, but in the meantime Germany is pressing ahead with its plan to make coronavirus tests compulsory for air passengers returning to the federal republic. 

Compulsory testing for travellers returning to Germany from this Sunday

From this Sunday onwards, anyone travelling to a German airport by plane will have to get themselves tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to board. According to a draft ordinance issued by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, all affected passengers will be asked to “provide the carrier with proof [of a negative coronavirus test] before leaving abroad.” 

Bild reported that travellers would be asked to pay for either a PCR or antigen (rapid) test themselves. The draft is, however, still being coordinated by various departments and may change in the details before it is put into effect. 

Blanket ban on tourist travel may be unconstitutional

The new regulation deviates from the previous one in that all returnees are now required to get themselves tested. Previously, only those returning from designated “risk areas” abroad were subject to compulsory testing requirements. 

The change was agreed by the federal and state governments during their coronavirus summit on Monday evening. The decision to remove popular tourist destinations such as Mallorca from the list of risk areas - thus prompting a flurry of Easter bookings to the island - has attracted extensive criticism, especially since travel within Germany is still heavily restricted. 

The government is also examining the possibility of temporarily banning tourist trips to popular destinations abroad. However, authorities have admitted that there are major constitutional hurdles that might prevent this from happening.

Edit: An earlier version of this article stated that the new rule would come into effect from Friday, March 26. This was later postponed to Sunday, March 28, to give passengers and airlines more time to prepare. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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Sankalp Singh 20:48 | 25 March 2021

I was looking for this information , I was planning to go to Northern Macedonia since that is open for visit but looks like I have to skip now.