Update: Germany requiring vaccination for American visitors and at certain indoor spaces

Sep 1, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published Aug. 15.


New vaccination requirements have been implemented in Germany to require proof of vaccination in certain indoor spaces as of Aug. 23.

Dubbed the “3G rule,” select institutions and recreational facilities are now enforcing proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test for patrons wishing to enter, per the German government. Affected areas include fitness studios, hotels, cafes and restaurants.

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(Screenshot courtesy of the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government of Germany)

“Anyone who is not fully vaccinated or has not recovered from the illness will have to present a rapid antigen test that is no more than 24 hours old or a PCR test that is no more than 48 hours old in order to take part in any indoor events,” the mandate reads. “Testing will therefore become mandatory when visiting hospitals, nursing and care homes and for access to indoor cafés and restaurants, for instance, as well as for attending celebrations and events, or using personal care services such as hairdressers’ or cosmetics studios. The same rule will apply to indoor sports and to overnight accommodation at hotels and guest houses.”

This presents a potential issue for visiting Americans since non-EU citizens cannot apply for the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate and there is no digital version of the vaccination card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at this time.

We have reached out for clarification regarding whether the CDC vaccination card will be accepted as proof to fulfill this requirement.

On Aug. 15, Germany announced Americans must be fully vaccinated to enter the country or face a 10-day mandatory quarantine for visitors from “high-risk” countries who cannot prove they’ve been fully vaccinated or have previously recovered from COVID-19.

Visitors can test out of quarantine if they get a test on day five that comes back negative.

The United States, Turkey and Israel were reclassified as “high risk” on Friday as part of Germany’s weekly reconsideration of travel restrictions.

As TPG has reported, Germany opened back up to American tourists in June despite the United States still having a ban on visitors from Germany.

Related: I was one of the first American tourists allowed back into Germany

The European Union decided to welcome back American tourists on June 16, and Germany began allowing visitors a few days later after some confusion on June 20.

Related: France adds US to ‘green’ list: I’m in the country now — here’s what it’s like and what to expect

The new rules may have some visitors scrambling to change their plans since most unvaccinated travelers will not want to quarantine.

All unvaccinated travelers must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result taken within 72 or 48 hours of arrival, respectively.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Germany, the testing requirement is waived for those who are fully vaccinated (14 days after the second shot of a two-dose vaccine or the first shot of a one-dose vaccine) with an approved vaccine, as well as those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months, unless they are entering from a virus-variant area of concern.

The latest updates for travel can be found here. Updates on risk areas are provided by the Robert Koch Institute.

Additional reporting by Caroline Tanner.

Featured photo of Berlin by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

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