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July 2020 5 min

Status update: Relocating your employees during COVID-19

Find out about restrictions & exceptions to relocate your international hires

Affected by the worldwide pandemic COVID-19, embassies and borders worldwide were closed in March 2020. We are observing how travel restrictions are loosened and embassies start to re-open again. From many conversations with our customers, we know that international companies would like to know when relocating international hires will be possible again (and under what circumstances). Here's a recap of the current situation! Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter so we can inform you of ongoing updates.

Travel within Europe

As of July 1st, travel within Europe is possible again as all borders are re-opened. Please keep in mind that for some origin countries ("risk areas"), a quarantine is still required (more info below).

Travel from non-EU countries

Generally, travel from third-country states to Germany is restricted at the moment. However, certain exceptions continue to apply:

Exceptions based on the reason for travel

  1. German nationals, EU-citizens, and third-country nationals with their legal residence in Germany.

  2. Workers of the healthcare sector

  3. Skilled and highly qualified foreign workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad (Contact us for assistance!)

  4. Persons immigrating into Germany for the purpose of a family reunion or family visits for urgent reasons

  5. Other reasons, like certain groups of workers (e.g. freight transport personnel, seasonal workers in agriculture, seafarers, students (under certain conditions), diplomats, the staff of international organizations) and persons in need of international protection

💡 Keep in mind that the place of departure is decisive in regard to whether it is possible to enter Germany, not the nationality of the person wishing to enter.

Exceptions based on the infection rates

Entry from third countries with low infection rates is possible without restriction. Every two weeks, the EU evaluates the list of third countries it considers safe due to the relatively low infection rate there.

Revision as of 17 July 2020 (source BMI): Based on current data on infection rates, Germany currently allows unrestricted entry from seven countries:

  1. Australia

  2. Georgia

  3. Canada

  4. New Zealand

  5. Thailand

  6. Tunisia

  7. Uruguay

Quarantine requirements

Regardless of the possibility to enter the country, Germany still has a quarantine requirement in place in all federal states on the basis of the protection against the Infection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz) for those returning to and entering Germany from regions designated by the Robert Koch Institute as risk areas.

The quarantine can be avoided if a negative test result can be presented at the moment of entry. Read more about the recognition of tests.

Are embassies open again?

Open borders are great, but without a visa, many new hires are still stuck in their home country. In Europe, German embassies and consulates have picked up operations again. In third countries, the opening and operation of German embassies and consulates vary greatly and depend on the local situation. Capacities were regulated during the lockdown phase which causes increased waiting times for appointments in both EU and non-EU countries.

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