In a move to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV2-variants, the German Government on 30th January 2021 has imposed a general ban on travel and entry from countries with widespread occurrence of such virus variants (referred to as areas of variant of concern). These include South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho.
The ban has been extended until further notice.
Transport companies, e.g. air carriers and railway companies, may not transport any persons from these countries to Germany. Entry for such travellers into Germany is not allowed under Art. 14 (1) / Art. 6 (1) lit e of the Schengen Borders Code.
Travellers fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus or those having recovered from a COVID-19 infection do not enjoy any privileges under the travel ban when coming from an area of variant of concern.
There are only a few, strictly defined exceptions to the travel ban:
- German citizens
- Citizens of the EU-countries and Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland who have their permanent residence in Germany
- Third country nationals with permanent residence and lawful residence in Germany
- Members of the nuclear family of the a.m. persons under 1-3.
The nuclear family comprises spouses, legal partners, minor children and parents of minor Children.
- Partners in an existing relationship sharing a joint household* of the a.m. persons under 1-3.
If the joint household is not in Germany it is furthermore required during the process of a visa application that a compelling reason** for entering Germany together exists.
- Transit passengers (in international Transit only, not within the Schengen Area)
- Cargo transport staff and other staff needed for the transport of goods (including mail, freight and empty carriers, as well as returning aircraft, ships and crews)
- Medical staff (physicians, nurses and caregivers including persons undergoing measures regarding the recognition of corresponding foreign professional qualifications ) and escort staff needed for air ambulance and organ transplant flights
- Persons traveling on urgent humanitarian reasons
Urgent humanitarian reasons include the following:
- death of an immediate relative in Germany (spouse, registered domestic partner, own child or parent);
- birth of own child;
- two close relatives in the absence of any other adult entitled to care and custody of a minor child;
- persons in need of medical treatment if serious harm to their health would otherwise result (confirmed by medical certificate) and one escort;
Persons traveling in official mission for EURATOM safeguards, the International Atomic Energy Organization or the United Nations or UN-organizations.
*no 5: sharing the same household and proof of existing relationship:
Please provide proof of a joint household in South Africa by appropriate documents: lease or proof of house/apartment ownership in both names, utility bills (electricity, cell phone provider etc.) or bank statements for at least three consecutive months for both partners showing the same address.
To prove the existing relationship, please submit the filled out declaration, signed by both partners.
**no5: Compelling reason for entering Germany
The existence of a compelling reason for entry within the scope of a visa application is usually given in the case of births, weddings, deaths/funerals or special exceptional cases e.g. serious illness of a 1st or 2nd Degree relative who therefore requires assistance.
Applications for long-term visa
If you are planning a long term stay in Germany (such as for work or family reunification) you can find more information here.
Please note that although it is currently possible to submit a national visa application the visa itself will not be issued as long as the above mentioned travel ban is in place, unless one of the exceptions applies to your case.
Applications for Schengen visa
Should you be planning a trip under one of the exception categories mentioned above, you may schedule an appointment with the external service provider TLS to submit your application.
Please make sure that, in addition to all the documents required for the basic purpose of the trip you also submit supporting documentation to prove the exception category you apply under (e.g. proof of family relationship, same household, doctor´s certificate on medical treatment in Germany in life-threatening cases etc.).
You must also submit a statement with corresponding proofs where you intend to spend the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Applications for which the required documentation is missing, including proof of the existence of an exceptional case, must unfortunately be rejected. Neither the visa fee nor the service providers’ fee will be refundable in these cases.
You can find general information on Schengen-Visas here
If you already hold a valid Schengen visa issued before 17.03.2020 you will only be permitted entry into Germany -if one of the a.m. exceptions apply to you- if you can provide sufficient proof regarding such exception upon entry.
Quarantine in Germany - still mandatory
When entering Germany you are subject to quarantine regulations. Check carefully whether the duration and circumstances of the quarantine make it possible to achieve your purpose and duration of the trip, justifying the current trip.
Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Corona-Virus situation in Germany can be found here.