U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
Consular Information Sheet
This information is current as of today,
Americans planning travel to Germany should read Intercountry Adoption Germany , International Parental Child Abduction Germany, Avian Flu Fact Sheet and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement available on the Department of State web site at http://travel.state.gov
June 21, 2006
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Germany is a modern and stable democracy. Tourist facilities are highly developed. In larger towns, many people are able to communicate in English. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Germany for additional information.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is not required for stays for tourist/business stays up to 90 days within the Schengen Group of countries, which includes Germany. Further information on entry, visa and passport requirements may be obtained from the German Embassy at 4645 Reservoir Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 298-4000, or the German Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Germany and other countries. Visit the Embassy of Germany in Washington, DC web site at www.germany-info.org/newcontent/index_consular.htm for the most current visa information.
Note: Although European Union regulations require that non-EU visitors obtain a stamp in their passport upon initial entry to a Schengen country; many borders are not staffed with officers carrying out this function. If an American citizen wishes to ensure that his or her entry is properly documented, it may be necessary to request a stamp at an official point of entry. Under local law, travelers without a stamp in their passport may be questioned and asked to document the length of their stay in Schengen countries at the time of departure or at any other point during their visit, and could face possible fines or other repercussions if unable to do so.
See Entry and Exit Requirements for more information pertaining to dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction. Please refer to our Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Germany remains largely free of terrorist incidents. However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Germany’s open borders with its western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. Overall, the security risk to travelers in Germany is low. Germany experiences, however, a number of demonstrations every year on a variety of political and economic themes. Prior police approval is required for public demonstrations in Germany, and police oversight is routinely provided for participants and passersby. Nonetheless, these demonstrations could spread or turn violent. In addition, hooligans, most often young intoxicated “skinheads“ have been known to harass or even attack people whom they believe to be foreigners or members of rival groups. While U.S. citizens have not been specific targets, several Americans have reported that they were assaulted for racial reasons or because they appeared “foreign.” All Americans are cautioned to avoid the area around protests and demonstrations and to check local media for updates on the situation.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.
CRIME: Violent crime is rare in Germany, but can occur, especially in larger cities or high-risk areas such as train stations. Most incidents of street crime consist of theft of unattended items and pick pocketing. There have been a few reports of aggravated assault against U.S. citizens in higher-risk areas. American travelers are advised to take the same precautions against becoming crime victims as they would in any American city.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy
or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the
nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy or Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate
medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation
and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand
the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. For more information, see Victims of Crime.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Good medical care is widely available. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment in cash for health services from tourists and persons with no permanent address in Germany. Most doctors, hospitals and pharmacies do not accept credit cards.
Measles has been detected in the North Rhein-Westphalia region of Germany. For more information please refer to the Center For Disease Control's information at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/other/measles_intl_travel_2005.htm . Please check with your medical provider to assure that all routine immunizations are up-to-date.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Germany is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Road conditions in general are excellent, although caution should be exercised while traveling on older roads in eastern Germany. The high speed permitted on the German autobahn, weather, and unfamiliar road markings can pose significant hazards, and driver error is a leading cause of accidents involving American motorists in Germany. Rules on right-of-way differ significantly from the U.S. Notice should be taken that it is generally illegal in Germany to pass vehicles from the right and that the threshold for determining whether a person has been driving under the influence of alcohol is lower than in some U.S. states. Drivers are reminded to watch out for bicycles, especially when turning right. Bicycles are far more numerous on German city streets than in the U.S. and generally have the right of way over motor vehicles. The use of cell phones while driving is prohibited in Germany. For specific information on travel within Germany contact the German National Tourist Board Office in New York at (212) 661-7200, fax (212) 661-7174 or via the Internet at http://www.germany-tourism.de/index.htm.
Travelers should also note that railroad crossings are differently marked in Germany than in the U.S. There have been several accidents involving Americans in recent years at railroad crossings. In addition to the standard crossbuck (X-shaped) sign, railroad crossings are often marked by signal lights. Signal lights at a railroad crossing means that a train is approaching and that all vehicles should stop. Individuals holding U.S. driver’s licenses may drive in Germany for up to six months without acquiring a German driver’s license.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for information. Visit the website of Germany’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road
safety at http://www.germany-tourism.de/index.htm.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Germany’s civil aviation authority as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Germany’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website at www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Germany’s customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Germany of certain items such as firearms, military artifacts (particularly those pertaining to the Second World War), antiques, medications/pharmaceuticals and business equipment. Under German law it is also illegal to bring into or take out of Germany literature, music CDs, or other paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past of the former “Third Reich.” It is advisable to contact the German Embassy in Washington or one of the German consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available throughout Germany. They utilize many of the same account networks that are found in the U.S., so it is possible in most cases to get euros directly from your U.S. bank while you are in Germany without paying any inordinate fees for currency exchange. Credit cards are not accepted as widely as in the United States. Please see our information on Customs Regulations
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating German laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Germany are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.
Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: American citizen parents have at times encountered difficulties having visitation orders enforced in Germany. For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living or traveling in Germany are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy of Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Germany. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
U.S. Embassy Berlin is located at: Neustaedtische
Kirchstrasse 4-5; TelL49)(30)238-5174 or 8305-0:
The consular section is located at Clayallee 170;
TelL49)(30)832-9233; Fax: (49)(30) 8305-1215
U.S. Consulates General are located at:
Dusseldorf: Willi-Becker-Allee 10,
Tel. (49)(211) 788-8927; Fax: (49)(211) 788-8938.
Frankfurt: Giebener Str. 30,
Tel. (49)(69) 75350; Fax: (49)(69) 7535-2304.
Hamburg: Alsterufer 27/28,
Tel. (49)(40) 4117-1351; Fax: (49) (40) 44-30-04.
Leipzig: Wilhelm-Seyfferth-Strasse 4,
Tel. (49)(341) 213-8418; Fax: (49)(341) 2138417 (emergency service only).
Munich: Koenigstrasse 5,
Tel. (49)(89) 2888-0; Fax: (49)(89) 280-9998.
There is also a U.S. consular agency in Bremen located at Bremen World Trade Center,
Tel: (49)(421) 301-5860; Fax: (49)(421) 301-5861.
When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated December 2, 2005 to update web links.