June 2021: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

June 2021: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

From digital vaccine certification to online train delay compensation, there’s a few changes coming along with the meteorological start of summer this June. Here are seven changes expats in Germany should know about. 

1. Vaccine priority list ends

So far, by and large, vaccinations against COVID-19 in Germany have been reserved for those assigned priority according to their age, medical history and job. This is due to end on June 7, after which everybody in Germany will be able to apply for a vaccine appointment, either with their regular doctor, or at their local vaccination centre. 

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has said that everyone in the country should be offered a vaccination this summer - but he also warned that demand would continue to outstrip supply initially, and that a little patience was required. 

2. Children aged 12 and above offered vaccine

The federal government and the federal states have also agreed that, when the vaccine priority list is lifted, the offer should also be extended to children aged 12 and up. The BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine will be available to 12 to 15-year-olds after June 7, once the European Medicines Agency gives the go-ahead. 

3. Digital vaccination certificates

In addition to the yellow vaccination booklet, by the end of June it should also be possible to display proof of vaccination on one’s mobile phone, with a QR code. The so-called digital COVID certificate will be accepted across Europe and thus make travelling within the bloc easier. It will also display details of previous infections and coronavirus tests. 

4. Start of school holidays

The second coronavirus-dominated school year is coming to an end for millions of children in Germany as the school holidays kick off this month. First to go on break are students in the coastal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein, where the holidays start on June 21. The holidays begin latest in Bavaria, on July 30. 

5. Apply for Deutsche Bahn delay compensation online

Good news for anyone who regularly travels by train in Germany: from June 1 onwards, you can apply for a partial refund online or via the Deutsche Bahn app if your train is delayed. The previous process of claiming compensation had long been criticised by consumer rights groups as needlessly bureaucratic and complicated. It now shouldn’t take more than five minutes, but the proviso is that you must also have bought the ticket itself online. 

6. More training subsidies for companies

Companies in Germany that maintain or even expand their opportunities for training, despite coming under financial pressure during the coronavirus crisis, can receive up to 6.000 euros per position from June 1, twice as much as before. The scheme will also be expanded so that companies with up to 499 employees can benefit, instead of the previous 249 employees. 

7. Judgement on neighbourly disputes about overhanging branches

Yes, this is a big one. On June 11, the Federal Court of Justice is due to announce its decision on a matter that seems trivial, but is actually responsible for a lot of neighbourly disputes across the country: can property owners cut off overhanging branches from a neighbour's tree? The case revolves around a 40-year-old pine tree in Berlin that is causing a lot of aggro between two neighbours. 



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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