1

Departure:

United States -> Germany (layover) -> Spain

Return:

Spain -> Germany (layover) -> United States

I'm a US citizen traveling from USA to Spain this October. The flight has a layover in Germany. Do I only need to follow the travel restrictions for my final destination (Spain) or do I also need to follow the restrictions for my layover (Germany)?

Luckily, both Spain and Germany have the same requirements of proof of vaccination or negative COVID test. However, they differ in the website/app you need to use to upload the documents. Do I need to follow all steps for Germany or can I just do Spain?

Additionally, for Spain, am I supposed to be following the Spanish-USA embassy's rules or the Spanish-German embassy rules?

Spain

https://es.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

Effective September 6, 2021, U.S. citizens can travel from the United States to Spain on non-essential travel, such as tourism) if they show proof of vaccination. Please read the detailed information on the Spain Ministry of Health’s website. Additionally, travelers from the United States to Spain must present a QR code generated through the Spain Travel Health portal, obtained through the website or by downloading the SpTH app in Google Play or App Store for each traveler. Additionally, travelers must show either proof of vaccination, a negative COVID test, or a certificate of recovery.

Germany

https://de.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

Effective August 1, 2021, all travelers ages 12 and older must submit proof of vaccination (with a vaccine listed on this website ), proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the last 6 month, or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter by air, land, or sea.

Please fill out the digital registration on entry at https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de and carry the confirmation with you when entering the Germany. The confirmation will be checked by the carrier and may also be checked by the Federal Police within the framework of its responsibilities as a border control agency.

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  • You will be entering the Schengen Area in Germany and traveling on to Spain, so you must fulfill both requirements. Sep 13 at 20:30
  • 2
    You definitely have to follow the rules of any transit country, whether regarding immigration, covid or anything else. Those rules might or might no have exceptions for transit (under various definition of transit) but you're not generally exempt.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 13 at 21:16
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TLDR: Assuming you don't exit the transit area in a country, you only need to follow their transit rules. But in your case you'll have to exit the transit area and consequently you'll have to follow the requirements for entry.


Details:

See https://reopen.europa.eu/en/map/DEU/7004 for the German transit rules (there are none if you don't exit the transit area, but in your case you'll have to exit the transit area):

Transit by air

Changing flights without leaving the international transit area of an airport does not constitute an entry into Germany for the purposes of the relevant regulation. In these cases the digital entry registration, requirements for mandatory testing or providing proof of vaccination, quarantine regulations and travel bans from countries affected by coronavirus variants do not apply. This only affects travels from a destination outside the Schengen area and with a destination outside Schengen area – for example from Moscow (outside Schengen) via Frankfurt (transit) to Buenos Aires (outside Schengen).

When travelling from or to the Schengen area you will need to leave the international transit area of an airport – for example when travelling from Moscow (outside Schengen) via Frankfurt (transit) to Madrid (Schengen area) or the other way. Therefore, these travels do constitute an entry to Germany and the selected requirements for entry, regarding testing proof, proof of recovery, or proof of full vaccination, must be followed.

https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php also mentions transit rules if any.

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  • 1
    But he is travelling to Spain, which is in the Schengen area.
    – djr
    Sep 13 at 20:27
  • @djr yes then apply normal entry rules as the quote says. I'll make it clearer. Sep 13 at 20:28
  • I won’t be leaving the Schengen area. The layover is just 2 hours in Germany. What is the difference between transit rules and entry rules? Do transit rules also consist of COVID vaccination / negative test?
    – JoJo
    Sep 13 at 22:28
  • @JoJo German rules: When travelling from or to the Schengen area you will need to leave the international transit area of an airport – for example when travelling from Moscow (outside Schengen) via Frankfurt (transit) to Madrid (Schengen area) or the other way. Therefore, these travels do constitute an entry to Germany and the selected requirements for entry, regarding testing proof, proof of recovery, or proof of full vaccination, must be followed. Sep 13 at 22:36
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If you plan on touching down in a country as part of an international trip, you will always need to follow the rules of all countries involved. Specifically in your case:

  • you need to follow the rules of your country of origin (here: the US) for leaving and re-entering including potential quarantine
  • you need to follow the rules of your layover(s) (here: Germany) concerning permission to transit, details of said permission, potential requirement to isolate, exceptions from the requirements to isolate, etc.
  • you need to follow the rules of your destination (here: Spain) concerning permission to enter the country, potential requirement to isolate, etc.

The Covid-19 pandemic situation is really no difference from Your Standard Pre-2020 International Airline Trip™, except that they are more volatile since the pandemic began and they now also happen to apply to travellers with passports of western developed nations.

In your case, the situation is slightly more complicated as your layover will require you to go through immigration (and there will be no further immigration between your layover and your destination) – a feature of the Schengen area. As German immigration has no way to surveil you to confirm that you are indeed taking a flight out of the country very soon, you will have to comply with all German regulations for entering except where exceptions for intra-Schengen transits have been explicitly made.

Note that exceptions referring to international transit (i.e. not leaving the airport transit zone) do not apply to travellers entering the Schengen area on a layover.

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