Questions on travel for all my Schengen- and/or Germany-located Doper friends

Some of you may know my son is studying in Germany this semester. Either way, he called the other day to say his last week there (end of June) had opened up, did we want to visit? And yes, I do want to visit, and so I am, for roughly five days. [for background, I’ve been to Germany many (many) times, and also driven through many of the Schengen countries]

But my questions now, obviously, are about traveling under current conditions. US embassy websites have a lot to say about US citizens not being allowed to travel directly from the US to most European countries, but not much about indirect travel. You’d think it would be the same, but I found this gem on the website for the US Embassy in the Netherlands:

I’m in the EU for a short stay. Can I travel on to a Schengen country or to another EU country?
This depends on the country you are travelling to. In principle, if you are already in the EU or the United Kingdom, you can travel on to a Schengen country or another country in the EU. But you will need to meet the entry conditions for that country.

Also, unless things have changed, it’s not like someone is checking the border anyway, it seems like I could just drive right into the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, whatever, though presumably there’s some risk.

I guess my real question here is: any general thoughts on any of this? It’s really hard to gauge from over here how locked down things really are, and my son hasn’t gone outside of Germany. I’m not looking for research from you (doing plenty of that myself), just wondering what you might know.


ETA: Austria may be a bad example above, I know they’ve had a lot of border stops so far…

Free movement in the Schengen area doesn’t currently apply as each country is applying its own set of entry restrictions, and enforcing test or quarantine requirements that vary depending on your nationality and where you are travelling from. These rules are changing all the time.

You’ll need to check the official government website of each country you are considering visiting.
Here’s the relevant page for the Netherlands:
Checklist for travel to the Netherlands | Coronavirus COVID-19 |

As you can guess from the global situation and especially from typical German bureaucracy, it’s complicated, but I’ve found a good site that summarizes it best, from the ADAC, the biggest German automobile club, an institution and a renowned source (sorry, only in German): Einreise nach Deutschland: Test- & Quarantäne-Pflicht | ADAC

According to this site, Germany differentiates between three categories of countries: risk territories, high risk territories and virus variant territories. The USA isn’t one of the latter two, but I couldn’t find out if it’s a risk territory. Anyway, if we assume that it is, the rules for entry to Germany are that you have to go into quarantine for 10 days unless, and that’s a big unless, you are able to provide a negative test that isn’t older than 48 hours before the time of entry, or has to be made 48 hours after entry. If you are fully vaccinated (two vaccinations at least 2 weeks before entry) or have recoverd from a covid infection, you are exempt from having to be tested, but you have to attest it before you travel. Here’s the website of the foreign office for the form you have to fill out with some info (you can change the language to English): Digitale Einreiseanmeldung

Sorry, that’s all very complicated, but all I could find out.

ETA: here’s an overview from the ministry for health: Coronavirus | Current information for travelers

@hibernicus, @EinsteinsHund, thanks for your responses, those were helpful.

When you search for information it’s important to include ‘COVID’. I had a look at our (UK) rules and all the government sites at the top of the list gave pre-COVID data.

You also need to check almost every day near the travel date as the rules change frequently at short notice. For example, last week it was okay for me to fly to Portugal, now it is not.

I digged a little deeper and found here that at the moment, the USA indeed is considered a risk territory, so the rules as explained above actually apply.

Thanks. I’m vaccinated, so that part is good . More worrisome is that the EU voted in mid-May to ease travel restrictions to allow in vaccinated tourists, but Germany hasn’t done so yet for the US, at least according to the Bund site. There’s usually a rules update mid-month, so maybe it’s coming….

I’m sorry, I think I misinterpreted the info on the ADAC site I quoted. On review, it speaks about people returning from risk territories who can avoid quarantine by providing a negative test or attesting their immunity, and that implies that it applies only to German citizens returning to Germany. The Bund site quite categorically states that US citizens travelling to Germany have to quarantine no matter what. Sorry for the confusion, and sorry that the actual statutes don’t allow you an easy entry.

Man how things change in less than two weeks. The EU announced today that it wants to open up to vaccinated travelers (vote was Wednesday), and Germany has already updated it’s website to say travel from the US is good w/an approved vaccine. On my way next week!

In case anyone is interested: Germany is pretty open right now, but we abandoned any attempts at other Schengen countries because their websites were slow to update for the EU vote.

Everywhere we ate did have contract tracing, either via paper or via an app called Luca. But things felt pretty open. There weren’t many non-German tourists there, but Germans have started exploring again, so it wasn’t empty (but it certainly wasn’t typical summer crowds either).

Important note: full vaccination gets you into Germany, but not back into the US; the US requires a test within the last 72 hours. I, and a bunch of other people, got caught up in that.