I have a co-founder for a startup we've been working on and my co-founder is from Estonia. He already has a flight ticket on May 18th, 2020 with FRA as final destination. We have been finding it very difficult to work remotely so he is planning to come here and work together.

Assuming he is able to arrive at the Frankfurt airport, will he be let in? Or will he be sent back i.e. deported back to Estonia? Looking at German airport websites it is not very clear- for instance, Munich airport to me seems like has no issues, Frankfurt has 'may be' language. Also, currently our startup is not officially registered to issue him any official document.

Also, for the sake of this question, please let's assume that he is no risk to the current pandemic and that he is traveling because at this point it is almost "essential" for us.

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    I have significantly edited your question's title to improve its clarity, while trying to retain the same meaning. If you disagree with my edits, you can use the "edit" button below the question text to revert the title to what you originally wrote. May 16, 2020 at 15:53
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    I must observe that while your partner's entry seems essential to the two of you, the entry may well be deemed non-essential by German immigration authorities. May 16, 2020 at 15:54
  • @DavidSupportsMonica I agree that's exactly why I asked the question here; my ASSUMPTION is that if someone makes it to FRA, there's no way they would make someone take a flight back. The Foreign Ministry in Estonia (not the Embassy or German Consulate in Estonia though) said they don't see any issues whatsoever.
    – DaveIdito
    May 16, 2020 at 15:59
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    One final comment: being refused entry to Germany is not the same as being "deported." And I disagree with your assumption that if he's refused, they won't send him back to Estonia. They will most certainly do exactly that by requiring the airline to return him to his point of departure. May 16, 2020 at 16:10
  • The German Ministry of the Interior's page here bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/kurzmeldungen/EN/2020/03/… addresses entry into Germany by non-German citizens who are arriviing from Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg or Denmark. While not directly relevant to the OP's co-founder, the page's language in the first "The following principles" list suggests that the co-founder should carry paper copies of business documents to show at airline check-in in Estonia (thanks for @Crazydre for raising this) as well as to German immigration, May 16, 2020 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


According to an e-mail from the border section of the German federal police headquarters, the restrictions only apply when arriving from Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland or from outside Schengen.

However, the TIMATIC database, used by airlines, states the restrictions apply everywhere. Since IATA gets their info from the federal police headquarters (at least in part), this confuses me and I am in fact seeking clarification on this as we speak.

TIMATIC states:

Passengers are not allowed to enter Germany.


This does not apply to passengers with evidence that their travel is to perform a professional activity, e.g., commuters, diplomats, nursing staff, food industry personnel, specialists

So in practice, the check-in staff in Tallinn will require evidence of your business activity.

  • The BMI FAQ indicates that an urgent reason (which includes work) is needed, but systematic border controls are done only when arriving from the listed countries (which also has gotten considerably shorter yesterday) May 16, 2020 at 20:50
  • @cbeleitesunhappywithSX It also says the restrictions only apply within the frame of the border checks.
    – Crazydre
    May 16, 2020 at 22:54

Summary: For entering Germany, work is a valid reason - they shoud bring documentation that they will be working.

Once inside Germany, they may be required to quarantine for 14 days. This is expected to be relaxed for inner-EU travel any day now.

The Corona virus FAQ of the federal ministry of internal affairs (BMI) says:

What are urgent reasons for crossing the border?

The cross-border flow of goods and cross-border travel for work purposes are permitted (including for commuters, members of the European Parliament and accredited diplomats), irrespective of the traveller’s nationality. Cross-border travel to carry out professional contractual services is also permitted. Commuters must carry appropriate documentation (e.g. work contract, project contract/documents, permit for frontier workers) as proof of the need to cross the border for work.


What restrictions are in place on air travel within the European Union?

On 18 March 2020, Federal Minister Seehofer, in coordination with the EU Member States affected, extended temporary border control to include air traffic within the European Union, in order to further contain the spread of the coronavirus. Checks at Germany’s borders were imposed immediately and include flights from Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Switzerland.

For travellers who have no urgent reason to travel, immediate restrictions apply to these travel routes. Travellers who have an urgent reason to travel, and cross-border commuters, are required to provide appropriate proof of the necessity to cross the border.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior urges citizens not to travel unless it is absolutely essential.

Since Frankfurt is in Hesse, the Hessian Corona-Verordnung applies once they are inside Germany.

It prescribes that in general anyone entering Hesse from abroad has to directly go into quarantine for 14 days and contact the local health authorities about this.

However, there are exemptions for people entering in oder to work (exemptions in the sense that instead of them quarantining theemselves, their employer or business partner can take safety precautions and register the case with the health authorities). Please check the actual text for details.

Also, if they are only transiting Hesse (you are in another Land), also check the regularions there.

The BMI press release of May 13th discusses recent relaxation of border controls and also says:

 The federal states are encouraged to revise their quarantine regulations for arriving and returning travellers as needed. A 14-day quarantine should be ordered in future only for travellers entering Germany from countries outside of the EU.


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