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Germany

Follow us on Twitter for the latest travel advice alerts and information on events at the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin, and consider obtaining a Passport Card before you visit. The German police have the right to ask you to present photographic identification. A valid passport or Passport Card is the only acceptable form of identification for Irish citizens

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Driving and Public Transport
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice is to avoid non-essential travel, other than to any countries on the ‘Green List’ where the advice is to take normal precautions.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas (including to Great Britain but not to Northern Ireland), other than to any countries on the ‘green list’ where the ‘normal precautions’ security status rating will apply. The request to restrict movements does not apply to individuals arriving into Ireland from any countries on the ‘green list.’

On 15 September, the Government agreed that, for the period ahead, this ‘green list’ will be updated on a weekly basis, to include any EU / EEA countries with a 14 day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of 25 or less, based on the latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Updates are being made on the basis of data each Thursday, with changes taking effect from the following Monday.

The Green List was reviewed again on the basis of the ECDC data on Thursday 15 October.  As no EU / EEA countries were below the required 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases, it remains the case that there are no countries on the Green List. The new EU Recommendation on coordinating travel within the EU / EEA was adopted at the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 13 October. Implementation of this is for consideration by Government next week.

The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination.

The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to any countries with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. Citizens who are considering travel to these countries are also advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their chosen destination. This includes information regarding possible restrictions on arrival from abroad, including from Ireland. The security rating for all other countries remains unchanged at either ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

Where additional restrictions apply within Ireland, these are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page.

Where to go for further travel information:

Check Embassy websites and Twitter accounts

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel

Security Status Last Updated: 24 September 2020 to take effect from 00.00 on 28 September 2020

Latest Travel Alert

Passengers arriving into Ireland from Germany are requested to restrict their movements for 14 days after arrival.

Entry to Germany from Ireland

The counties of Dublin, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth, including Dundalk and Drogheda, have  been added to Germany’s High Risk List which is maintained by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s Public Health Institute. This means that passengers who have been in these areas in the 14 days prior to arrival in Germany will be required to undertake a Covid test within 72 hours of arrival and remain in quarantine until a negative test result is provided. Many German States (among them Berlin and Hessen, where Frankfurt is located) waive this requirement if the passenger can provide their own negative Covid test result on arrival in Germany.  The test must not be more than 48 hours old and must have been taken in an approved test centre. 

If you are travelling to Germany from any High Risk area, you will be required to take a Covid test within 72 hours of arrival.  Tests are generally available at the airport and are free of charge.  After taking a test you must proceed immediately to your place of residence and remain in quarantine until your test result is communicated to you.  This can take a couple of days. If the test is negative, you will not have to quarantine further, but you may have to take a second test a few days later.

The full list of all areas that have been designated “High Risk” by the RKI can be found on their website - https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html 

For further information about whether you can avail of the waiver above, please check with your local health authority in Germany and with the RKI (available in German and English)  - https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Tests.html  

If you are flying to Germany from Dublin Airport, the restrictions do not apply to you if you have travelled directly to Dublin Airport for your flight and you have not otherwise spent time in any high risk area in the last 14 days.  However, you may have to provide proof of this to the German authorities. 

If you are required to quarantine, contact the relevant local authority to let them know where you will quarantine. If you develop symptoms of Covid, you must also inform the relevant local authority. Those in quarantine will be monitored by the relevant authority and infringements may incur fines of up to €25,000.  For further information, please contact the local health authority where you will stay in Germany.  Details of the local public health office (Gesundheitsamt) can be found by entering your postal code into this search tool on the RKI Website - https://tools.rki.de/plztool/

Entry to Germany from outside of Ireland

Irish citizens entering Germany from other countries may be subject to testing and quarantine procedures, depending on whether or not that country is designated as high risk by the German authorities. 

Other entry restrictions to Germany may apply to non-EU nationals travelling from outside the EU and Schengen area. These do not affect Irish citizens.

Public Health

Irish citizens in Germany are strongly advised to follow all public health advice.  This includes maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from other persons and wearing masks in shops and on public transport.  Further information on public health advice in Germany, as well as on COVID 19 more generally, is available at the links below.

Irish citizens in Germany may also wish to consider downloading the official German Government Corona tracing app, available here.

Useful Links

Robert Koch Institute (German Public Health Institute)

German Health Ministry

Health Service Executive- Ireland

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

World Health Organisation

Visitors should be aware that a global risk of indiscriminate terror attacks also applies to Germany (see Safety & Security advice). We advise visitors to Germany to exercise a high degree of caution. Irish citizens who require emergency assistance outside of working hours can leave a message for the Embassy Duty Officer on +49 (0) 30 220 720. (We aim to return your call within one hour, but where there are multiple calls we will prioritise medical and other emergency matters over lost/expired passports).

Irish citizens in Germany should download TravelWise, the Department's new free smartphone app, and set an alert for 'Germany', to receive all of our significant security and other updates direct to your phone. You should also follow the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin and the Consulate General of Ireland in Frankfurt on Twitter. In the event of a crisis, we will issue travel advice from @IrlEmbBerlin and @IRLinFrankfurt, based on updates issued by the authorities in Ireland and Germany.

More detailed advice is included in the Safety and Security tab.

Emergency assistance for Irish citizens

The best help is often close at hand; try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Numbers for emergency services:

  • Police 110
  • Ambulance / Fire Brigade 112
  • Embassy of Ireland in Berlin +49 (0) 30 220 720 (message service for Irish citizens in a genuine emergency only)

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

Germany remains a very popular destination for Irish visitors, but these incidents have reinforced the need for travellers to take seriously the global risk of indiscriminate terror attacks, which also applies to Germany. We continue to advise visitors to Germany to exercise normal precautions.

  • Irish citizens in Germany should download TravelWise, the Department's new free smartphone app, and set an alert for 'Germany', to receive all of our significant security and other updates directly to your phone.
  • Follow the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin on Twitter. In the event of a security incident, we will issue travel advice from @IrlEmbBerlin. In the event of a crisis, we will only post updates issued by the authorities in Ireland and Germany.
  • Make sure that you have comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Ensure that your policy includes medical repatriation and the repatriation of human remains.
  • Have the contact details and Twitter handle of the police authority of the city/state which you are visiting. 
  • In any crisis, follow the instructions of the local authorities, the most reliable source of information.
  • Once you are out of immediate danger, let your family know that you are safe, ideally by phone. Be aware that your family will become concerned if you do not answer your phone. 
  • Be aware that public transport is likely to shut down following a major security incident. You may have to make alternative travel arrangements. If you are flying into an area where there has just been a major security incident, your flight could be diverted or you may be stranded at the airport until public transport resumes. Check with your airline before travelling and follow the security updates of your destination airport on their website or on Twitter. If the event of a flight diversion, contact your airline and travel insurance company for advice.
  • If you are an Irish citizen and require emergency assistance outside of normal working hours, leave a message on the Embassy Berlin emergency number (+49 30 220 720) stating your name, location, telephone number and the nature of the emergency and the Embassy duty officer will return your call. Do NOT send an email if you require emergency assistance outside normal working hours.

Crime

  • There has been an increase in pickpocketing and petty theft in Berlin (particularly around Alexanderplatz and Hauptbahnhof), and in the tourist areas and transport hubs of other cities. Be careful of your personal belongings, especially around airports, train stations and tourist attractions. Do not walk around with your passport or wallet in the back pocket of your jeans. Do not keep your valuables in a bag/pouch which someone else can open without your noticing. Keep a close watch on your belongings. Avoid falling asleep in a public place after a night out as you could become a target for pickpockets.
  • Reports of sexual assault can increase at events attracting large crowds including festivals such as Silvester (New Year's Eve), Karneval/Fasching (Carnival) or Oktoberfest. If you are a victim of an assault, contact the police on 110. You can also contact the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin for advice and assistance. Outside of working hours, Germany operates a system of emergency pharmacies (Notapotheken). For details of emergency pharmacists in your area, go to the Pharmacists' Association website www.aponet.de and enter your postcode in the "Notdienst" box on the top right of the screen.
  • Be alert regarding possible scams. If you are stopped for assistance in a busy area, this could be an attempt to distract you while you are robbed. If you are approached by someone claiming to have been robbed, do not hand over money but instead advise the individual to contact the police free of charge on 110. If the person is an Irish citizen they can also contact the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin.
  • There has been a documented increase in crimes committed against asylum seekers in recent years, along with a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Avoid demonstrations by any organisation or political party which appears to be inciting racism or hatred. Using or displaying Nazi symbols or material is illegal.
  • Please be advised that illegal drugs and substances are very common in the Berlin club and night life scene. These can be unknown drugs or new substances as Berlin is a point of exchange of these in Germany.

Reporting crime

If you're a victim of a crime while in Germany, report it to the local police immediately by contacting 110. You can also contact the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin for advice and assistance.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Personal identification

German police have the right to ask for identification at any time, and the only acceptable form of ID for Irish citizens visiting Germany is the Passport Card or full passport. We strongly recommend that you apply for a Passport Card before you visit so that you do not have to carry your passport with you at all times (lost passports account for approximately 90% of emergency assistance cases).

If you lose your passport in Germany, you may have to travel to the Embassy, the Consulate General in Frankfurt or one of our Honorary Consulates for a travel document, as well as paying for a new flight and accommodation. Please note that the Embassy or the Consulate General in Frankfurt only issues replacement travel documents outside of office hours in genuine emergencies and charges an €80 call-out fee on top of the cost of a replacement travel document. The Embassy and the Consulate General in Frankfurt charge a €110 call-out fee on top of the cost of a replacement travel document. A Passport Card costs €35, fits neatly into a wallet and can be used for travel within the EU/EEA and Switzerland. It is available to Irish citizens, aged 18 and over, who hold a valid Irish passport with at least 6 months remaining validity. If you decide to bring your full passport, make sure to bring a photocopy in case you lose the passport and need to prove your identity at the embassy or police station.

File sharing

Germany has a vibrant digital media industry with robust legislation protecting the sector. Unless you have paid to share content through a reputable service provider, such as Spotify or iTunes, assume that any sharing is illegal. Illegal downloads are tracked by law firms on behalf of copyright holders and substantial fines can be imposed on anyone caught downloading or sharing files illegally. The Embassy does not provide legal advice or intervene in legal disputes but can provide you with a list of English-speaking lawyers in Germany should you wish to pursue the matter privately. Bear in mind that if you challenge, and subsequently lose, you may be liable for the plaintiff’s legal costs as well as your own.

The First of May

The first of May is a bank holiday in Germany. Every village and town will be celebrating this day with parade and the "Mai-Baum" (May Tree) will be put up. Public Transport, Shop Opening Hours and Opening Hours of authorities, such as also the Embassy, are affected.

Health

Health

Health care

Health insurance is compulsory in Germany. While the level of health care is generally very good, you will be unable to access free healthcare in an emergency unless you have a European Health Insurance Card. Possessing a medicine without the relevant prescription is legal, provided the medicine in question does not contain substances prohibited under the German Narcotics Act.

European Health Insurance Card

Make sure to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel to Germany. This card replaced the E111 and entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as German nationals. The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. You can apply online.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions. 

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million. 

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

Medical emergency

An emergency medical service operates in Germany outside of normal business hours. To locate the nearest clinic operating an emergency service, contact the 24-hour hotline of the German Doctors’ Association on 116 117. An emergency pharmacy service (“Notapotheken”) also operates throughout Germany. The emergency pharmacy in any area changes every day. Enter your German postal code at the website of the German Association of Pharmacists to locate the nearest pharmacy offering an emergency service that evening. The website of the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin contains a list of English-speaking medical facilities 

Morning-after pill

Two different types of “morning after pill” (Pille danach in German) are available over-the-counter to women and young women aged 14 and older. Girls under the age of 14 must present evidence of parental consent. The morning-after pill cannot be purchased by men.

Crisis pregnancy

The Embassy can provide you with the contact details for English-speaking medical and counselling options. 

Driving and Public Transport

Driving and public transport

Driving

You must be 18 to drive in Germany. Make sure that you drive on the right hand side of the road and that you always carry your driver’s licence, insurance and vehicle documents, as well as written permission from the registered owner if the vehicle does not belong to you. In the event of a road accident dial 110 for the emergency services.

Traffic can be faster-paced than in Ireland, especially on the motorways (Autobahn), and traffic laws, speed limits and driving customs are different.

Inner city areas of certain German cities are designated as environmental inner city zones (Umweltzone) into which only vehicles bearing a low emissions’ sticker may enter. The website of the Environmental Protection Agency (Umwelt Bundesamt) has information in English.

There have been a small number of reports of scams on motorways in northern Germany in which individuals claiming to be Irish have stopped motorists, said they were involved in an accident and asked to “borrow” money. If you are stopped by someone claiming to have been in an accident, contact the police on 112 with your location and a description of the individuals seeking assistance and their car registration number. Do not hand over money.

Lost licence

The Embassy has no involvement in driving licences. If you lose your Irish driver’s licence, you will need to contact the National Driver Licence Service in Ireland. If your licence is subsequently handed into the Embassy, the Embassy will return it to the NDLS. 

Car hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we strongly advise against giving your passport as a form of security. If you allow your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times. Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged). The Embassy cannot provide legal advice if your deposit is retained due to damage. We can send you a list of English-speaking lawyers and consumer rights organisations should you wish to pursue the matter privately.

Public transport

German public transport operates on an honour basis. This means that you are trusted to have the correct ticket but you must produce that ticket immediately if asked to do so by a ticket inspector. Ticket inspectors are often dressed in plain clothes and will not make an exception for non-German speakers. If you are caught without a valid ticket or pass you will have to pay an on-the-spot fine which could be €60 or more. The Embassy of Ireland in Berlin cannot assist you to avoid paying a fine. We can send you a list of English-speaking lawyers in Germany should you wish to pursue the matter privately.

Certain tickets, such as a day pass (Tageskarte) or a 7-day pass, have an open date or time and must be validated before boarding public transport to show at which time and date you began to use the ticket. Tickets are validated by inserting them into a validating machine (Entwerter). Validating machines (yellow or red in colour) are usually located on under- and over-ground platforms and inside trams and buses. Make sure that you have a ticket that is valid for each zone in which you are travelling. Transport prices and rules vary between cities so make sure to check the transportation authority of the city you are visiting. At the time of writing, a day pass on the Berlin public transport system expires at 3am the day after validation (i.e. not 24 hours after validation) and a 7-day pass expires at midnight on the seventh day of validation. In Dresden a day passes expires at 4am, in Hamburg 6am and in Frankfurt at close of operations or the last journey of the day. Ask the ticket office which rules apply. Anyone caught without a valid, or validated, ticket can face an on-the-spot fine.

When booking a Deutsche Bahn rail ticket online you will be asked to designate an identity card (passport, passport card, credit card etc.) which you must present to the ticket inspector on the train to show that you are the person named on the ticket. Make sure to bring the same card/identification document with you on your journey. If your ticket is for a specific train and time it may not need to be validated. If your ticket is open make sure to validate it before boarding the train at one of the red validating machines located on the platform. Failure to validate your ticket can result in an on-the-spot fine or in your being removed from the train.

Jaywalking

It is illegal to cross German pedestrian crossings when the red pedestrian light is on. Offenders risk a fine and payment of all costs in the event of an accident. While the Embassy cannot provide legal advice if you wish to challenge any fine, we can send you a list of English-speaking lawyers should you wish to pursue the matter privately. 

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you are an Irish citizen and require urgent assistance while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, + 49 30 220 720, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox.

Embassy of Ireland
Botschaft von Irland
Jägerstraße 51
10117 Berlin
Germany

Tel: +49 30 220 720
Fax: +49 30 220 72299

Contact us

Consulate Contact

WeWork Taunusanlage,
Taunusanlage 8,
60329,
Frankfurt am Main,
Germany
Website: www.dfa.ie/frankfurt

Tel: +49 (0)69 5095 48400

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Ms. Brigitte Wagner-Halswick
Honorary Consulate General of Ireland
Frankenforsterstraße 77
51427 Bergisch Gladbach
Germany

Tel: +49 2204 609 860
Fax: + 49 2204 609 861

Monday to Thursday 10:00-14:00

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Dr. Michael Fisser
Honorary Consulate of Ireland
Böttgerstraße 9
20148 Hamburg
Germany

Tel: +49 40 4418 6113
Fax: +49 40 4418 6551

Monday to Friday 09:00-12:00

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Dr. phil. h.c. mult. Erich Lejeune
Honorary Consulate General of Ireland
Denninger Straße 15
81679 Munich
Germany

Tel: +49 89 2080 5990
Fax: +49 89 2080 5989

Monday to Friday 09:00-12:00

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Dr. Wolfgang Häfele
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Meßstetter Str. 8
70567 Stuttgart
Germany

Tel: +49 711 351 607 10

Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30

Email: Email us