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I'm looking at the feasibility of a trip from the US to Germany (Bavaria) for extremely important reasons. I've been pulling my hair out researching rules & regulations mostly going around in circular links from one government website to the next.

I think I have some idea how this could work, but I'm not entirely sure so I would very much appreciate comments, feedbacks or double checks from anyone who has recently researched or done this as well.

Here is what I have found:

  1. As a German citizen (I'm dual), I can always enter the country even if I arrive from a "high incidence area" as the US has been classified by the Robert Koch Institut.
  2. I need to provide a negative covid test that's less than 48 hours old to the airline before I'm allowed to board. The timing here is super tricky, and what I don't know:
    • What's the exact reference time for the 48 hours. Scheduled departure, scheduled arrival, actual wheels down, time when you show up at the control, something else ?
    • I also don't know when they check this: boarding of the first leg or boarding of the Germany bound leg?
  3. According to https://www.gesetze-bayern.de/Content/Document/BayEQV/true I think I can be exempted from quarantine if there is an unavoidable business reason and you are in the country for less than 5 days. The "unavoidability" (zwingende Notwendigkeit) needs to be certified by the employer/client.
    • Is there some sort of template for this certification?
    • Can this be issued by an American client? Does it need to be in German?
    • Does the German business partner also have to provide something?
    • when does that certificate needs to be there and who gets it ? When and where is it checked?
  4. I will need some permits and notifications. But I'm not sure about the timeline of these either
    • I will have to fill out this https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de/#/ before travelling. Do they need a few days or can I just do it after I have my negative Covid test in hand (which will be VERY close to departure).
  • I think I also have to notify the local health authority (Gesundheitsamt) but I don't know how, when and what about? Do you just write them an e-mail: "Hey guys, I'm here"?

I tried to contact the local Gesundheitamt with all of these question but unsurprisingly haven't received a reply yet and time is running out. So I would appreciate any input and feedback.

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Answering my own questions since I just returned from this trip. Maybe that helps someone in a similar situation.

As a German citizen (I'm dual), I can always enter the country even if I arrive from a "high incidence area" as the US has been classified by the Robert Koch Institut.

Yes. Germany has currently 4 country categories. "Safe", "risk area", "high incidence" and "virus variant". German citizen can enter from all of these EXCEPT "virus variant".

I need to provide a negative covid test that's less than 48 hours old to the airline before I'm allowed to board. The timing here is super tricky, and what I don't know:

That's 48 hours before the scheduled arrival. This got checked before boarding both the first US domestic leg and the transatlantic to Germany. It also got checked at least twice at arrival: once directly when getting off the plane and once again during immigration.

The good news: they do accept a rapid antigen test. Officially an antigen test is only acceptable if it meets certain criteria established by the WHO (World Health Organization) but no one seems to know what these requirements are, how they would be documented on a test report, and how to actually read & verify them.

According to https://www.gesetze-bayern.de/Content/Document/BayEQV/true I think I can be exempted from quarantine if there is an unavoidable business reason and you are in the country for less than 5 days. The "unavoidability" (zwingende Notwendigkeit) needs to be certified by the employer/client.

A free form letter is fine. We made something nice on company stationary but something less formal would have likely worked to. I doubt anyone read it, it's more a check box item.

You can only stay in a hotel if you certify that it's for business purposes and not for tourism. However, the check is trivial: you need to check and sign a form and no supporting documentation is required.

The main purpose for this letter is to get exemption from quarantine: that's been handled by the local health office (Gesundheitsamt). There is a lot of variability. The one in Ingolstadt was very responsive and clear. Another one in Berlin never replied back and they apparently don't care one way or another.

I will need some permits and notifications.

The only thing required is the travel registration "einreiseanmeldung", which they checked during both check ins and again when leaving the plane in Germany.

If you need exemption from quarantine, you need to directly negotiate with the local health office in your destination town.

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  • German citizens can enter Germany from a virus variant area. Nice to know that they are not too strict about the antigen test criteria, because I find that information impossible to find before the test. – Lassi Uosukainen Feb 17 at 1:21
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  1. Correct.
  2. As your source in 3) states: 48 hours before entry to Germany (expected time of arrival)
  3. Your source does not state that the unavoidability certification must be in a specific form. Assume that the employer / client in Germany would be preferred and preferably in German (but doesn't state this explicitly)
  4. It should be filled out before leaving/boarding. You will recieve a PDF confirmation which must be shown at your port of departure and/or port of entry.

The local health authority will automatically be informed based on the address you gave in the form.

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  • This is good information, but it's not clear what "48 hours before entry to Germany" refers to - plane landing? clearing immigration? leaving the airport? – Stuart F Feb 4 at 17:03
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    @StuartF Checked with the Bundespolizeipräsidium; for air travel it's 48 hours before the scheduled arrival of the flight – Crazydre Feb 4 at 17:54
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    @StuartF Other than quoting the original text, that doesn't explicitly state otherwise, this means within their jurisdiction. For German Federal laws, the term often used is: Within the 'Scope of application of the Basic Law'. So 'plane landing' is the most realistic of your choices. 'clearing immigration' or 'leaving the airport' is not since you are already within their jurisdiction. As Crazydre has clarified, they understand it as being when you can reasonably expect to enter their jurisdiction, to avoid the problem of the plane being late. – Mark Johnson Feb 4 at 20:02

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