It finally happened. After a very long wait, Germany announced it was going to allow American tourists to enter.
When I first heard that Germany was finally opening up for Americans, I decided I had to try it out myself. After all, I thought, what’s the worst that could happen?
So on June 18th, hours before the rules changed allowing US travelers to enter the country, I hopped on a plane to Germany. And the rest is history.
After experiencing it first-hand, the best way I’d describe entering Germany as an American in 2021?: “The new normal.”
As of August 31st, 2021, the United States were taken off of the EU’s green/white “safe” list. What does this mean for Americans wishing to travel to Germany?
It simply means that all non-essential travelers wishing to head to Germany must be vaccinated. According to the Germany.info website,
"Travelers who have spent time in the U.S. within 10 days prior to entering the Federal Republic of Germany will have to be a) fully vaccinated or b) need to demonstrate an important reason for entering Germany. More information on this new regulation can be found here."
Note that this rule doesn’t apply to passengers in transit – the travel restrictions pertaining to your final destination are what matter.
And as of September 15th, 2021, the United States is also considered a ”high risk” zone – which means you will have to quarantine if not vaccinated.
Unfortunately, travelers (from anywhere) who have been in any country with a variant of concern – now including the United States – in the last 10 days will be forced to quarantine on arrival in Germany.
According to Germany’s Health Ministry website;
“Following a stay in an area classified as an area of variants of concern at the time of their entry into the Federal Republic of Germany, obligated to quarantine for 10 days.“
The quarantine in Germany is normally 14 days – but can be reduced to 5.
Fortunately, Germany does allow travelers to cut their quarantine in less than half.
Quarantine can be ended early by submitting a negative test result via the Federal Republic’s travel portal at einreiseanmeldung.de. Your test may not have been taken earlier than five days following entry into the country. Quarantine can be ended as soon as you submit your negative test result.
If you can find a testing center that provides results in hours, you could theoretically get tested day 5 and be free to explore!
What changed to allow Americans to enter Germany?
Until recently, listed on the top of Germany’s coronavirus info website was a banner stating that Germany has lifted all restrictions on residents from the United States. That’s pretty straightforward, especially for Germany.
So what changed?
Well, cases plummeted in the US in early June and travel was proven to be safer than ever. Germany and other countries took a science-backed approach to travel by using the active cases per capita as the means for determining who’s allowed in or not.
As such, Germany added the United States to its Coronavirus “white list”, joining countries with low levels of active cases like Australia and Japan. This means that Americans could now enter Germany for non-essential travel – with a few restrictions.
What are the requirements to enter Germany as an American in 2021?
So, Americans are allowed into Germany. But there are still travel requirements.
According to Germany’s coronavirus info website,:
Travelers who are full vaccinated:
- Must fill out the digital registration at https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de and carry the confirmation with you when entering the Germany. Make sure to complete this prior to checking in for your flight.
- Travelers older than 12 years of age must carry with them a proof of full vaccination. This proof must be uploaded via the travel portal at https://einreiseanmeldung.de. If you don’t fill this out, you will have to quarantine for 10 days.
You can find more important info, including acceptance of the CDC-issued vaccination card and further test requirements on the website.
Non-vaccinated travelers cannot travel to Germany from outside the Schengen area unless it’s for essential or urgent reasons.
My experience entering Germany as an American tourist in 2021
I (nervously) checked into my Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt at the check-in counter, hours before I would legally be able to enter Germany.
It was the eve of June 18th, and my flight would be leaving 4 minutes before the rule change allowing American tourists to enter Germany went in effect.
To my surprise, the Delta ticket counter agents were totally up-to-date with the last-minute rule change and I had no issues checking in. All I had to do was show my passport and CDC-issued vaccination card. No questions asked.
Once I arrived at the gate, I was asked to once again show my passport. Just in case, I made sure to show up at the gate an hour and a half before departure. Luckily for me, this last check was quick and easy as well.
Upon arrival in Frankfurt, everyone – even Europeans – had to go through the “All Passports” line at Customs. This is simply because they are checking that everyone meets the above restrictions.
After a short wait in line, I walked up to customs officer sitting in his comfy mini-officer. I pulled out my passport and CDC-issued paper vaccine card. And that was it! It was really that easy.
Note that with the latest changes, they will verify that you have completed the “Digital Registration on Entry” form.
The lines were surprisingly short compared to my previous travels in 2020 back when nobody really knew what they were doing. I hope this “new normal” is here for good!
Other European countries open for travel right now
Though Germany is an epic country and I’m ecstatic it’s finally re-opened, there are a lot of other exciting countries open for Americans right now.
In Europe, these include:
- France (if vaccinated)
- Netherlands (if vaccinated)
I’m excited and cautiously optimistic that the rest of the world will soon follow.