Germany Border ChekcsThe Coronavirus pandemic had pushed the Federal Government of Germany to undertake several measures in order to halt the increase of the number of infections, including measures related to border controls and travel measures.

Despite the attempt of the Ministry of Interior and other authorities, to forward the message to citizens on the importance of these measures, and how they are going to work out, any have failed to understand them.

Following in this article, we have listed the most commonly asked questions in the recent weeks relate to border controls and travel restrictions applied by the Federal Government amid the pandemic.

What Does the Introduction of Temporary Border Control Mean?

In 1995, the Schengen Area Member States abolished their internal border controls, including land borders between them. Which means that when a person goes from Germany to any of the neighbouring countries, there are no checkpoints at the borders.

Yet, the Member States have the right to reintroduce these borders, temporarily, amid security threats or similar.

Only this week the Ministry of Interior announced that the border controls with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark and (airside) with Italy and Spain set to expire on April 14, 2020, have been extended until May 4, to reduce the risk of infection for the COVID-19.

As a result, travellers without an urgent travel reason are no longer allowed to enter and exit. However, the cross-border movement of goods and the cross-border movement of commuters remain guaranteed.

Are Any of the Borders with Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Austria Crossable?

There are some border crossings at the land borders with these five countries, which can be crossed for essential needs. These are:

  • Denmark: Böglum (B 5), Ellund (BAB 7), Bahnhof Flensburg, Bahnhof Süderlügum, Kupfermühle (B 200), Fährhafen Puttgarden, Überseehafen Rostock, Fährhafen Sassnitz
  • Luxemburg: BAB 64 (Mesenich), B 419 Wellen, B 419 Wincheringen, B 418 Wasserbilligerbrück, B 257 (E29) Echternachbrück, B 50 Roth-Vianden, B 410 Dasburg-Marnach, B 407 / B 419 Perl-Schengen / Perl Apach (Kreisverkehr Dreiländereck), BAB 8 (Perl-Schengen)
  • France: Altenheim-Pflimlin-Brücke (Plobsheim/F), Kehl-Europabrücke (Strasbourg/F), Kehl-Eisenbahnbrücke (Strasbourg/F), Rheinau-Freistett (Gambsheim/F), Iffezheim (Beinheim/F), Weil am Rhein Palmrainbrücke (Huningue/F), Neuenburg am Rhein Autobahn (Ottmarsheim/F), Breisach (Neuf-Brisach/F), B 9 Bienwald, B 38 Schweigen-Rechtenbach, L 700 Hornbach, BAB 6 Saarbrücken-Stiring Wendel Goldene Bremm, Hauptbahnhof Saarbrücken, B 243- Habkirchen-Frauenberg, Saarbrücken-Stiring Wendel Goldene Bremm-Metzer Straße, Überherrn-Creutzwald B 269n
  • Switzerland: Konstanz-Autobahn – Kreuzlingen Autobahn, Bietingen – Thayngen Strasse, Friedrichhafen Hafen (BZV), Singen Bahnhof, Flughafen Friedrichshafen (BPOL/BZV), Konstanz Kreuzlinger Tor – Kreuzlingen (BZV), Rielasingen – Ramsen (BZV), Gailingen West – Dörflingen Pünt (BZV), Konstanz – Schweizerischer Personenbahnhof, BAB Basel, Basel Bad. Personenbahnhof – Basel, Weil Friedlingen – Hitalingerstr. (BZV), Weil Otterbach – Freiburgerstr. (BZV), Rheinfelden – Warmbach, Lörrach Stetten – Riehen (BZV), Rheinfelden – Rheinfelden, Erzingen – Trasadingen (BZV), Lottstetten – Rafz Solgen (BZV), Jestetten – Neuhausen (BZV), Grenzach-Wyhlen (BZV), Laufenburg – Laufenburg (BZV), Waldshut – Koblenz, Bad Säckingen – Stein
  • Austria: BAB 96, BAB 7, B 17 Füssen (BY), GÜG Balderschwang, GÜG Jungholz, B 19 Oberstdorf, Lindau Ziegelhaus (BY), Bahnhof Lindau, Oberaudorf (BY), BAB 93, Griesen Ehrwald (Bahn), Achenpass (BY), B 11 Mittenwald / Scharnitz von KE übernehmen, Bahnhof Rosenheim / Strecke Kufstein – Rosenheim, Burghausen (BY), B 304 Saalbrücke, BAB 8, Reit im Winkl, Winkelmoosalm, Melleck / Steinpass (BY), Marktschellenberg, Bahnhof Salzburg, Bahnhof Freilassing, Wegscheid (BY), Passau Achleiten, BAB 3 Rottal Ost, BAB 3 AS Pocking, GÜG Simbach Bahnhof, GÜG Mariahilf, Neuhaus / Neue Brücke, GÜG Kirchdorf (BY), Bahnhof Passau

Who Is Exempt from These Restrictions?

It is important to point out that the German Interior Ministry has asked all citizens to not try to cross the borders for non-essential needs. Trips to another country should be made only for urgent reasons, as in principle travellers without such a reason won’t be permitted to enter nor exit.

The following qualify as essential purposes for cross-border travel:

  • medical treatment
  • family deaths
  • movement of goods
  • commuters
  • Officials as EU parliamentarians, accredited diplomats, etc.

Are German Citizens Also Banned From Entering?

German nationals are still allowed to enter Germany.

Why Didn’t Germany Introduce Temporary Border Controls with Some Neighboring Countries?

Temporary internal border controls are introduced where this currently appears necessary. The Federal Government and the Joint Crisis Unit of the BMI and BMG constantly review the situation and undertake the necessary adjustment to the German measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The effects of measures taken by neighbouring countries are also taken into account, with the governments and authorities of which the Federal Government is in constant contact with its subordinate authorities. That is why, at some borders, there are no border controls introduced, as at the border with the Netherlands and Belgium.

However, at these borders, the Federal Police has intensified its search and surveillance measures.

What Is the Legal Basis of the Reintroduction of Temporary Border Controls?

All temporary controls at the internal borders have been reintroduced in compliance with the of Article 28 of the Schengen Borders Code, in the context of cases requiring immediate action.

What Are the Travel Restrictions in Intra-European Air Transport?

Air and boats from Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Switzerland haven’t been permitted to enter Germany unless their entry is essential, since March 19, 2020, on the decision of the Federal Interior Minister Seehofer.

Travellers with an urgent need to travel and commuters are asked to bring along relevant evidence that shows the need to cross the border.