Returning to Germany
Date: November 12, 2020
If you return to Germany from a trip abroad
Ultimately the border officials at the airport or point of entry have the authority to decide who is allowed to enter Germany. When you return to Germany, you must ensure that you have a valid residence permit. You must also be able to prove that Germany is currently your habitual place of residence and that you have an important reason to return. It will be necessary/helpful to have the following documents with you:
- Passport and valid residence permit
- Proof of enrollment at the university or proof of your admission as a doctoral candidate to your faculty
- Proof that your residence is registered in Germany (Anmeldebestätigung), perhaps also your rental contract
- Perhaps a confirmation from your doctoral supervisor that your doctoral studies in Heidelberg are ongoing and your presence in Heidelberg is necessary for your studies
The Graduate Academy cannot make any recommendations at this time about travelling to Germany. We are also not able to exert any influence on your behalf on border officials.
Citizens and permanent residents of the EU, the UK, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland as well as Australia, New Zealand, Sinapore, Thailand, and Uruguay are exempt from the current COVID-19-related entry restrictions. Please be aware that this list will be updated as the COVID-19 pandemic develops. There is up-to-date information about travelling to Germany in the Corona FAQs on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
After you return to Germany
Quarantine and COVID-19 testing
Travelers to Germany are currently being divided into two groups: 1) travelers from non-risk areas and 2) travelers from international risk areas. The list of international risk areas as determined by the Robert Koch Institute can be found here.
Travelers from non-risk areas
You do not have to self-quarantine or to be tested for COVID-19 after entering Germany.
Travelers from international risk areas
You are considered to be a traveler from an international risk area if you have spent any amount of time in the 10 days prior to your arrival in Germany in an international risk area.
You must register online shortly before travelling to Germany. The registration portal is here. When you register, you will be required to enter some personal data, your address in Germany as well as a list of the places you have stayed in the 10 days before your arrival in Germany. This information will be encoded and made available to the local public health office in the German city in which you will be staying so that they can contact you if necessary. The information will be deleted after 14 days. When you complete the registration, you will receive a PDF confirmation which you must carry with you and present upon demand to your transportation provider, border officials or police. There is more information about this online registration here:
Ministry of Health information for travelers
Ministry of Health information sheet
Upon arrival in Germany, you must go directly to your home or the place where you are staying and remain isolated there in self-quarantine for 10 days. During this period, you are not permitted to leave the house or have contact with people outside of your direct household. This measure is for the protection of your own health as well as that of your neighbors and other people in the community. After 5 days of self-isolation, you can be tested for COVID-19. If the test result is negative, you are permitted to end your self-quarantine. The test must fulfill the requirements of the Robert Koch Institute, which can be found here. There is an interactive map of places to get tested here. Please search according to where you will be living, e.g. “Heidelberg Stadt”, “Mannheim Stadt” or “Rhein-Neckar-Kreis”. You can also call the centralized medical care number – Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst – at 116 117 regardless of where you live or have a look at their website (in German). Many cities also have a specific hotline number for COVID-19 testing, such as
Heidelberg: 06221 - 522-1881
Mannheim: 0621 - 293-2253
If, at any time during the first ten days of your stay in Germany, you experience any of the typical symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, persistent cough or the loss of the sense of taste or smell, you are obligated to report this to the local public health authorities (see the hotline numbers above) and follow any instructions that you are given.
A failure to adhere to any of these regulations will be treated as a misdemeanor and can be penalized with a monetary fine of up to 25,000 Euro.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or think you might be infected
If for any reason you think you might be infected by the COVID-19 virus, you should call the telephone hotline for the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region, which is also responsible for Heidelberg. The hotline number is 06221 522-1881 and it is available Monday – Friday from 8 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. On the weekends you can also call the off-hours medical care service (Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst) at 116 117. If you have a medical emergency, you can call the medical emergency number 112. Please make sure to indicate that you suspect a COVID-19 infection so that the medical specialists can react accordingly.
The following websites provide up-to-date information about travel and entry regulations, quarantine and COVID-19 testing:
Einreisebeschränkungen der Bundespolizei (in German)
Information on entry restrictions and quarantine – Federal Foreign Office
Information for travelers – Federal Ministry of Health
Digital registration for travel to Germany
Corona FAQs – Federal Ministry of the Interior
Corona Ordinance of the state of Baden-Württemberg scroll down for link to English version
City of Heidelberg Corona Infosheet
Corona Information from the Federal Office of Integration
FAQs about the Baden-Württemberg Quarantine regulations
Informationen zu Corona Tests (in German)
Requirements for international corona tests
Information about international risk areas
Information from Heidelberg University pertaining to COVID-19
Heidelberg University provides information about courses, research and COVID-19-related regulations on the following website:
Coronavirus: FAQs about student affairs and teaching
Information about the corona virus