Corona Updates for Internationals in Germany

The current situation everyone faces in times of the coronavirus raises many questions and concerns. Especially for international students in Germany, about to come to Germany and interested in Germany, it is often difficult to find relevant updates, particularly in English. With this ticker, we try to provide an overview of the most recent information and relevant links in order to add some more transparency to the situation. You will find news chronologically on top while general FAQs and relevant links for further information are provided at the bottom.

With đź’— from Frankfurt and all the best – your Fintiba-Team!

News Ticker

April 4, 2020

+++GERMANY: Universities –  Summer Semester to Take Place Everywhere+++
Normally the summer semester at German universities would have started this week. Due to the Corona crisis, the start was postponed. But even if it becomes different: The summer semester at universities and colleges is to take place this year throughout Germany despite the corona crisis. According to information from the Hamburg Senate, the science ministries of the federal states had agreed on a common framework for the organization of the summer semester. At some universities, the semester has already begun, at others the start has been postponed: https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/coronavirus-universitaeten-beginn-sommersemester-101.html

April 3, 2020

+++GERMANY: Hotlines for Psychological Help +++
At the moment due to the crisis things might feel different and strange for many of us and especially international students who cannot visit their homes right now might feel lonely and sometimes even depressed. There are several hotlines with experts who are there for you in these times and who are happy to help you over the phone with just conversations or tips where you could ask for help. Please see a list of them in our FAQ section.

+++GERMANY: Train Ticket Exchange for Vouchers+++
During the Corona crisis, Deutsche Bahn offers its customers a number of options for postponing or cancelling their journey. Customers with tickets booked until 13 March 2020 can use tickets booked until 13th of March 2020 with travel days until 30th of April 2020 flexibly until 30th of June 2020, the train connection is no longer applicable. Or those who no longer wish to travel can have their ticket converted into a voucher. All tickets booked online or mobile can now be converted into a travel voucher online. This option is valid for the above-mentioned booking and validity period for all super saver and economy tickets for long-distance travel as well as for some regional transport offers, such as the cross-country ticket or some country tickets. DB customers can find the exchange portal at bahn.de/auftragssuche.

 +++GERMANY: Studentjob Opportunities+++
You might be looking for a student job which you can do during the crisis. In many industries jobs are currently being lost, in others workers are desperately sought. Job portals like zenjob, Absolventa, Jobmensa or Jobverde and the initiative by the government for jobs in agriculture help you to find the right job.

++GERMANY: Short-Time Work Model+++
Around the world several new challenges have emerged with the new corona virus, one of them being the worldwide economic situation. There are several approaches for relax the situation and Germany has resorted to the use of a familiar method: The short-time working model acting as a worldwide role model. For more details Deutsche Welle has set up an interesting article: https://www.dw.com/en/short-time-work-a-vital-tool-in-germanys-economic-armory-against-coronavirus/a-52952657

April 2, 2020

+++GERMANY: DAAD Financial Benefits+++
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) gives information on financial benefits from DAAD during the coronavirus crisis for international scholarship holders who are in or were planning to come to Germany for an internship, a period of study, or a research stay: https://www.daad.de/en/financial-benefits/

+++GERMANY: Universities Summer Semester 2020+++
The summer semester has started, but currently only the Fern-Uni Hagen can really start. Other universities start with lectures at the earliest after the Easter holidays. But how can that look like? For more information please have a look at the link https://www.tagesschau.de/regional/nordrheinwestfalen/wdr-story-33367.html

+++GERMANY: Restrictions for Easter Holidays+++
Due to the corona pandemic people in Germany are recommended to refrain from travelling and visiting over Easter because of the Corona pandemic. Chancellor Merkel and the Prime Ministers extended the exit restrictions until the 19th April. In Germany, people will have to be prepared for strict restrictions on contact over Easter as well. This means that the urgent recommendation of politicians to keep private contacts to a minimum also applies over Easter.

+++GERMANY: Help for Harvest Work Needed+++
In view of the lack of seasonal workers in agriculture, Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner has called on German citizens to participate voluntarily in the harvest. She pointed out that the federal government had extended additional income limits for harvest assistance and had decided on further easing of labour laws. Almost 42,000 people have already responded to the campaign www.daslandhilft.de, in which her ministry is participating. But 300,000 helpers are needed.

+++GERMANY: Increased Number of Care Beds+++
Due to the corona crisis, hospitals in Germany have increased the number of intensive care beds from 28,000 to 40,000. The number of intensive care beds with respirators had increased from about 20,000 to about 30,000. Hospitals are confident that a device will be available in the next two weeks for all Covid-19 patients requiring ventilation.

April 1, 2020

+++GERMANY: Universities+++
In order to see which measures are taken by which university please see the frequently updates table provided by the free association of students https://www.fzs.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/%C3%9Cbersicht-Hochschulen-Umgang-mit-Corona-Virus-2020-03-31.xlsx

+++World Health Organization: Online Courses on Covid-19+++
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides a number of online courses in 16 different languages on different areas of the covid-19 topic: https://openwho.org/courses

+++GENERAL: Fake News Due to April Fool’s Day+++
April Fool’s Day is annual custom on April 1 consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes, which are often  exposed by shouting “April fools” at the recipient. Mass media can be involved in these pranks, which may be revealed the day after. However in the current situation, we are all asked to refrain from making up stories about the coronavirus topic on April 1st this year. This will minimize the danger that the fight against the virus will be complicated by false information on the subject.

March 31, 2020

+++GERMANY: New Corona Test Possibilities+++
Researchers in Frankfurt am Main have developed a faster corona test method, according to the Hessian state government. With this, several samples can be tested at once. Thus, the number of tests per day in Germany could be increased from the current 40,000 to 200,000 to 400,000 without loss of quality.

+++GERMANY: Restrictions+++
The interior ministers of the federal and state governments demand the restrictions on public life in the fight against the epidemic to be maintained, as we are only at the beginning of the pandemic and must not cancel the necessary measures to interrupt the chains of infection at an early stage. The German federal minister of the interior, Horst Seehofer therefore urgently appeals to all citizens not to let up and to continue to adhere to the contact restrictions as this is necessary to save lives. The chairman of the conference of interior ministers, Thuringia’s interior minister Georg Maier, warned that the contact restrictions must first show effect. Bavaria has already extended its initial restrictions until 19 April. According to the Bavarian minister president the measures imposed by the politicians showed first effects and the curve of infections is flattening out a bit. Nevertheless, he said that the debate initiated by some politicians about an exit from the protective measures was premature and came at an inopportune moment. https://www.tagesschau.de/newsticker/liveblog-corona-montag-101.html

+++GENERAL: Caution with Home Infection+++
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of the risk of infection in the home. Because strict exit restrictions have been introduced in many countries to contain the coronavirus, in most parts of the world, most infections now take place at home. Everyone in the home should be very vigilant about their health. Suspicious cases must be quickly identified and separated from other family members. Confirmed cases must be isolated and family members who may have been infected must remain in quarantine. Only if this was guaranteed could a relaxation of the strict initial restrictions be considered. Each country would have to find a practicable way to implement such measures.

March 30, 2020

+++DAAD INDIA & CHINA: Online Events +++
Given the current situation, the DAAD is offering several online events or interaction possibilities. You can use these to learn more about study and research in Germany – from the comfort of your home. DAAD India: https://www.daad.in/en/2020/03/24/daad-online-event-line-up/ , DAAD China: https://www.daad.org.cn/de/event/webinar-study-in-germany/

+++GERMANY: Stuttgart Free Deutsche Bahn Bike Rental+++
From Monday, 30 March, in Stuttgart the 1,500 bicycles of the bicycle rental system operated by Deutsche Bahn can be used free of charge for one hour. The offer is initially valid up to and including Monday, April 13, 2020, during which time the 450 pedelecs can also be rented free of charge for 30 minutes. Bikes can be borrowed and returned as usual at the stations, via the RegioRadStuttgart app, directly via the station terminal or with the polygoCard.

+++CHINA: Embassy Opening+++
The Embassy’s legal and consular section will only be open on the following days from 8.00 to 11.30 a.m. in the coming weeks: Monday, 30.03., Wednesday, 01.04., Friday, 07.04., Tuesday, 07.04., Thursday, 09.04. The opening hours of the Passport and Visa Office will not change. https://china.diplo.de/cn-de/vertretungen/botschaft/-/1213924

+++WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The Biggest Myth Busters on Covid-19+++
There are many myths going around these days about the Covid-19 virus. The World Health Organization has collected the most spread ones and is clarifying on their truth. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

March 29, 2020

+++INTERNATIONAL: WHO Messenger Service With News on Covid-19+++
The global health organization has set up a messenger service keeping you updated every day about the latest news on the corona virus. News are available in four different languages, the activation of this service is very easy. Please find all relevant information here: https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/who-health-alert-brings-covid-19-facts-to-billions-via-whatsapp#.XoGvDwIr4os.twitter

+++INTERNATIONAL: Information on How To Recognise Disinformation+++
In these times there are a lot of information going around and it’s often hard to tell which one you can trust. The European Parliament has published an article aut the topic of disinformation and how to possibly prevent it: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20200326STO75917/disinformation-how-to-recognise-and-tackle-covid-19-myths

March 28, 2020:

+++GERMANY: Universities Digital Teaching Summer Semester+++
Some of the universities have announced that they possibly cannot cancel the entire summer
semester and are looking for workable solutions to continue the sessions. They are looking at offering digital teaching from around their campuses. Students can continue their summer sessions by attending the online classes from the comfort of their homes. Please check the website of your university for detailed information.

+++GERMANY: University Application Winter Semester+++
International Students who have received their admission for summer semester 2020 are being advised by some of the universities to defer their studies to next semester, i.e. winter 2020/21, as most universities are currently not operational. They are unable to provide concrete information as to when the students can start their summer semester. Please visit your respective university website for more details. The Technical University of Munich for example has issued a statement stating that for students who have received admission for this summer will be valid for winter semester 2020/21. They can submit a new application via their online portal and seek admission. Students who have not applied yet should know that due to the ongoing situation concerning Covid-19 pandemic, many universities have also extended their winter semester application deadline by a few more weeks. Please check their websites for detailed information.

March 27, 2020

+++FINTIBA: Solution on Legitimation Issues+++
As some of you have trouble with your legitimation process due to closures of legitimation institutions, we are happy to confirm that we have a solution for all customers who are stuck in legitimation and cannot get access to their money. Please contact support@fintiba.com and we will assist you with solving the issue.

 +++GERMANY: Universities Overview Measures+++
The FSZ provides us with an overview of closures and postponements for many German universities and links for further information: https://www.fzs.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/%C3%9Cbersicht-Hochschulen-Umgang-mit-Corona-Virus-2020-03-19.xlsx

+++GENERAL: Another Inspirational Idea for Staying At Home+++
You are interested in science and research? This website presents several Citizen Science projects in which you can easily participate from your couch. Thanks to the ongoing digitalisation, the “wisdom of crowds” and joint research can now be increasingly implemented online and enables cooperation between scientific institutions and citizens more easily than ever before. All you need is a computer or smartphone. Have fun browsing and researching! https://www.buergerschaffenwissen.de/zuhause-mitforschen

+++THAILAND: Processing of Visa Requests+++
The German Embassy in Bangkok continues to process applications. Within a few days they have received over thousand requests for consular certification for visa extensions. Up to 16 staff members continue to process the incoming requests every day. Hundreds of personalized certificates have already been sent out. Please understand that the processing may take a few days. They do what they can to ensure that there are no problems with immigration. The telephone lines of the Thai Embassy are also open on weekends. https://bangkok.diplo.de/th-de/service/aktuelle-informationen/2320408

+++CHINA: Travel Restrictions+++
The civil aviation administration has released a notice on Further Reducing International Passenger Flights during the Epidemic Prevention and Control Period: starting from this Sunday (29.03.2020), each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week; each foreign airline is only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight: http://www.caac.gov.cn/en/XWZX/202003/t20200326_201748.html

March 26, 2020

+++FINTIBA: New Article with dedicated Information on Corona and Blocked Account+++
We created an article within our Fintiba help center responding to the most asked questions on handling blocked account issues in these times, whether is about closing your account or health insurance concerns. Please find all relevant information here: https://help.fintiba.com/hc/en-gb/categories/360002436119-COVID-19

+++GERMANY: New Corona Test Possibilities+++
The technology group Bosch has developed a rapid test for the detection of the Covid 19 virus. The new method provides results within two and a half hours. The newly developed test is to be available in Germany from April onwards, with other European and non-European markets to follow: https://www.deutschland.de/de/news/coronavirus-in-deutschland-informationen

++++CHINA: Embassy Restrictions+++
The travel restrictions within the 30 day travel ban expressly do not apply for third-country nationals who hold a long-term residence permit for an EU Member State or residence permit or long-term visa, e.g. for pursuing studies or taking up employment, provided that they are returning to their place of habitual residence. That means that students who have been to Germany and come back to their home country, are allowed to enter Germany within the 30 days ban. However, for students at their first time of getting German VISA may not be able to enter: https://china.diplo.de/cn-zh/service/Notfall-Einreisstopp

+++CHINA: TestAS Appointments+++
The academic examination board (APS) points out that the information of the TestDaF Institute regarding the postponement of the April TestAS date to June 6, 2020 (https://www.testdaf.de) is not valid for participants in China. At this point in time, no alternative date is planned for China and it must be assumed that the next date will not take place until October. If an alternative date can be offered for China, it will be published on their website immediately: https://www.aps.org.cn/coronatermin

March 25, 2020

+++GERMANY: Universities+++
The deadline for the submission of house and finishing work was again extended to 4 weeks after the original deadlines. All information about the current status at the Goethe University can be found here: http://uni-frankfurt.de/corona
For updated regulations at other universities please check their newsletters and websites.

+++GERMANY: Universities General Overview of Predicted Start of Summer Semester+++
The website of the “Hochschulforum fĂĽr Digitalisierung” offers a nice overview of the postponed starts of the summer semesters for each German state:
https://hochschulforumdigitalisierung.de/de/news/deutschlandkarte-wann-startet-das-sommersemester-2020
While in following article you find interesting information on a demand of three female professors who are calling in an open letter for the summer semester to be a “non-semester”. Although teaching should take place where possible, the summer semester should not be counted as usual. There should be no disadvantages for students who could not complete their studies due to the corona crisis.  So far, the letter has been signed by well over 1000 people and has already been sent to the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and the German Rectors’ Conference, among others. Please see the full article here: https://www.bento.de/future/corona-krise-sommersemester-2020-soll-nicht-gewertet-werden-fordern-forschende-a-01ab5f2f-f641-467a-9501-95f7ba2e3b3e

+++GERMANY: Robert Koch Institute on situation in Germany
The Robert Koch Institute comments on the fact that there have been relatively few deaths in Germany so far. This is partly due to the fact that broad testing has been carried out from the very beginning. Therefore, the virus was discovered comparatively early and there have been many mild cases. But they also informed we are still at the beginning of the epidemic and it is completely open how it will develop, so staying home is still the best we can do right now.

+++GERMANY: Goethe Institut Learning German+++
As a replacement for German lessons that are currently not taking place, the Goethe Institute offers a series of exciting articles that you can discover from the comfort of your couch. Play, listen, read, test your knowledge – click through! https://www.goethe.de/de/spr/ueb/ers.html, also Deutsch Perfekt, the leading magazine for learning German, offers nice exercises and articles to improve your German: https://www.deutsch-perfekt.com/deutsch-ueben

March 24, 2020:

+++FINTIBA: How to Enjoy the Time at Home – New Article+++
The best way we can cope with the circumstances at the moment is to make yourself feel like home and stay inside. We collected a couple of nice cultural, sportive and smart ideas on how you could use this quality time for yourself and to make the best out of it. Happy discovering! https://www.fintiba.com/15-things-to-do-at-home/

+++EUROPE: Support Measures+++
EU countries have started cooperating to assist the member states hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Following an initial phase of the many countries isolating themselves from one another, according to broadcaster SĂĽdwestrundfunk Germany flew over seven tons of medical supplies to Italy. Meanwhile, hospitals in Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg have all taken in coronavirus patients from neighboring countries: https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-latest-world-adjusts-to-life-on-lockdown/a-52894285

+++GERMANY: Regulations of Fines+++
The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia will be the first to publish a catalogue of fines for violations of the new nationwide restrictions on movement implemented on Sunday. According to the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung people gathering in groups of more than two will be hit with €200 fines, and picnics and barbecues will incur €250.  Additionally, according to the report, those operating a bar, club or gym will be fined €5.000. For more information please see: https://www.waz.de/thema/coronavirus/mindestens-200-euro-strafe-nrw-beschliesst-bussgeldkatalog-id228760885.html

+++GERMANY: Additional Measurements+++
German states are putting in place various measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in refugee homes and accommodation. These include testing, quarantines and shutting common rooms. Classes and group care for children in homes have stopped. Several states, including hard-hit Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, are testing all new arrivals, with Bremen putting migrants in quarantine until the results are back. North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony are examining people on arrival for symptoms and asking for details about their journey. NRW is not accepting any new arrivals or transfers for the next two weeks.

+++GERMANY: New Restrictions+++
On Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel banned gatherings of more than two people throughout the whole country for two weeks. Restaurants and businesses that require close physical contact have been closed. People are also required to stay 1.5 meters away from each other in public. Germany is going to great lengths to avoid a total lockdown, which is still in the cards if people don’t respect the new rules.

March 23, 2020:

+++Germany: Emergency Aid Measures by the German Government+++
In order to support society and the economy during the corona crisis, the German government provides a large amount of money. To ensure that the aid reaches its intended recipients quickly, the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, is to consider the aid packages on Wednesday, with the Bundesrat, the German deliberative body that represents the country’s 16 federal states, following on Friday. One measure for example prevents landlords from evicting renters if they can no longer pay their rent due to the corona crisis. You can see the full list of actions to be taken here: https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-cabinet-agrees-to-750-billion-euros-in-emergency-aid-measures-a-9905ff76-c22d-4a9e-a3d4-c44633daf94e

+++GERMANY: Train Connections+++
Throughout Germany, Deutsche Bahn’s rail traffic is largely stable. They still aim to maintain traffic as long and as well as possible. In case of tickets purchased by 13th of March, they can be used flexibly until 30th June on the same distance without being tied to a certain train or they can be exchanged for travel vouchers. FlixTrain tickets are now also valid on DB IC and ICE trains with immediate effect. Most of the travel centres throughout Germany will continue to be open at least from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For further information pleasevisit the news portal of Deutsche Bahn: https://www.deutschebahn.com/de/presse/pressestart_zentrales_uebersicht/Presse-Blog-zur-aktuellen-Lage-Coronavirus-und-Bahnverkehr-4966788

+++GERMANY: New Restrictions+++
Germany has not imposed a total curfew, but more than two people should not be outside together, if they are not part of the same household. It is allowed to go for a walk with a friend, even if you don’t live together, however goups of three or more people are forbidden unless you are family or roommates. As chancellor Angela Merkel has announced on Sunday the minimum distance (1,5-2m) should maintained whenever possible. Generally contact with other people should kept to a minimum. Violations are observed by officials and the police, fines of individual amounts will be applied in the event of detected noncompliance. For daily updates please see the news portal of Deutsche Bahn: https://www.deutschebahn.com/de/presse/pressestart_zentrales_uebersicht/Presse-Blog-zur-aktuellen-Lage-Coronavirus-und-Bahnverkehr-4966788

+++INDIA: Visa Regulations+++
Regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation of all foreign nationals, which have expired or would be expiring during the period from 13th of March, 2020 to 15th of April, 2020, would be extended till midnight of 15th of April, 2020 on a free basis after making online application by the foreigner to the concerned foreigner registration in India. Exit of such foreign nationals, if so requested by them during this period, will be granted without levy of overstay penalty. The Indian Government has halted all international commercial scheduled flights for a week starting from 23rd March. Many carriers have already stopped their service between India and Europe. India has changed its entry requirements due to the COVID19 epidemic. All (e-) visas issued to foreigners were declared invalid until April 15, 2020. Exceptions to the entry ban only apply to holders of “Employment” and “Project” visas, but not to holders of “Tourism”, “Business” or “Journalist” visas.  German travelers in India can continue their stay on their visas. Travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are subject to change. Please see the continuously updated travel advisory for India on the website of the Federal Foreign Office (in German) as well as the updates of the Indian Bureau of Immigration .

+++CHINA: Embassy Opening+++
The Embassy’s legal and consular section will only be open on the following days from 8.00 to 11.30 a.m. in the coming weeks: Tuesday, 24.03., Thursday, 26.03., Monday, 30.03., Wednesday, 01.04., Friday, 03.04. The opening hours of the Passport and Visa Office will not change. https://china.diplo.de/cn-de/vertretungen/botschaft/-/1213924?openAccordionId=item-1213928-1-panel

 +++TAIWAN: Visa Processing+++
Due to the temporary entry ban imposed by the EU, only limited processing of visa applications is carried out at DI Taipei. The acceptance of C and D visa applications will be suspended for the duration of the entry stop. A visa-free entry into Germany is currently not possible. https://taipei.diplo.de/tw-de/-/2302636

+++PAKISTAN: Visa Regulations and Consulate Opening+++
As announced on their website last week, the Visa Section of the German Consulate General Karachi has been closed with effect from Thursday, March 19th to initially April 19th because of the decision of EU Heads of States and Governments on 17th of March 2020 to implement 30-day travel restrictions for non-EU nationals travelling from outside the EU. For applicants whose application is processed at the moment and who wish to withdraw their passport, the visa section of the German Consulate General Karachi will open on Wednesday, March 25th from 10 am to 3 pm. The visa section will only open for the purpose of passport withdrawal. No new applications or other requests will be processed. https://pakistan.diplo.de/pk-en/-/2320286, https://twitter.com/Germany_Karachi

March 22, 2020:

+++GERMANY:  Order of Protection+++
The German government has introduced a ban on meetings with more than two people in public. This applies to all federal states in Germany. The federal and state governments have decided not to impose curfews and instead rely on a comprehensive ban on contact. Groups of max. two people are allowed to go outside. Running, taking a walk, doing sports outdoors will also still be permitted. The best you can do now for you and your surroundings is to stay at home.  In order to enjoy this time to the fullest and not to feel loneley, we will be providing you with tips and ideas for what you can do at home in a new Fintiba blog article this week. Until then you can visit this page, which lists many events that are currently taking place virtually, among others this could be yoga classes, theatre performances or concerts: www.dringeblieben.de

+++GERMANY: Closing Restrictions+++
Restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons are from now on closed nationswide. Food delivery however is still available, also some other shops offer delivery services, in order to see availability, check their websites and social channels. Doctors appointments might also be cancelled. Please call your doctor for detailed information.

March 20, 2020:

+++FINTIBA PLUS: Procedure for changing Arrival Dates+++
In case you are a Fintiba Plus member and you are aware that your semester start has been postponed or you are planning to reschedule your trip to Germany, please inform us about the changes via support@fintiba.com. The new information will allow us to update your health insurance information within the package and ensure that you are still covered for your entire stay.

+++GERMANY: New Restrictions+++
We might possibly expect a lockdown in Germany as they already have in Spain or Italy, the situation will be observed over the weekend and based on that decided by the federal governments which measurements will be taken. Please find more information in this article: https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-weighing-strict-curfews-if-rules-violated-over-weekend-a-b7a39586-2557-4e6a-b712-7e24e1dea800

+++GERMANY: Updates on corona in the different states of Germany+++
Please check our FAQs for a list of the health ministries of each state for specific information on recent changes in each state.

+++TURKEY: Visa Restrictions+++
More than 15 German missions abroad had to close their visa offices to the public due to the current situation in the respective host country (also the German missions abroad in Turkey). In order to reduce the public traffic at the German missions abroad in Turkey, the acceptance of visa applications will be suspended for the time being from 18 March onwards. This does not currently affect applications submitted to the external service provider iData, in particular applications for Schengen visas (please refer to the service provider’s homepage for information on any changes https://idata.com.tr/de/de). This measure applies to applications submitted to all German missions abroad in Turkey (Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir). In emergencies, please contact the respective mission at https://tuerkei.diplo.de/tr-de/vertretungen. More information on the restrictions you can find here: https://tuerkei.diplo.de/tr-de/-/2319706

March 19, 2020:

+++Germany: Travel Restrictions for Newly Arriving Students+++
According to most recent information from the Federal Foreign Office, third-country nationals who have their main residence or domicile in Germany may return to Germany. Unfortunately, newly arrived students do not yet meet these requirements, especially as the number of university closures and postponements of the start of the semester are increasing and therefore the purpose of travel is to be questioned. The Humboldt University, for example, has been asking first-year students on their website already since days not to travel to Germany. We are not yet able to predict when the situation will improve. This is due to whether the entry ban will be extended and especially to the further course of the pandemic.

+++GERMANY: Universities:+++
The postponing of the start of lectures should not be connected with an extension of the course time in the summer semester.
However, this situation always depends on the overall situation in Germany and will be determined by further developmentsn. At the Technical University in Berlin for example they are already expecting a postponement until mid-May. Consequently it’s questionable whether the semester can still offer enough content or if it has to be cancelled completely. Please find more information in this article: https://www.morgenpost.de/berlin/article228707587/TU-Praesident-Die-Frage-ist-ob-wir-das-Semester-absagen.html

+++GERMANY: Fintiba Customer Service and Legitimation Options+++
Fintiba will continue with providing their services and their customer support. While we are partially working from remote locations, we are providing all our services as usual. DAK offices will be closed, but you can still do your legitimation via post ident at post offices, in a local bank or your local city hall.

+++GERMANY: Money Access+++
While some banks are temporarily closing some of their branches, there are no restrictions on the supply of cash and the functionality of the payment systems. All monthy payouts will be processed as usual by Fintiba.

+++CHINA: Visa applicants+++
German embassy in China has informed several visa applicants that the embassy is going to pause the visa process until further notice due to the EU entrance restriction for 30 days. Visa applicants are free to wait until further results or withdraw their visa applications. The APS (Die Akademische PrĂĽfstelle) has announced an entrance ban for EU to avoid unnecessary trips to China. From now on, until 15th April, the visa applications cannot proceed. However, the APS appointment is still working, the applicants can still apply for the APS examination now. Please see the website of APS for further information: https://www.aps.org.cn/coronatermin

+++INDIA: Visa and Residence Permits+++
In order to help preventing the outbreak of the Corona virus (COVID-19), the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany has announced to close its public traffic for visa and residence permits until further notice, coming into effect from Thursday, 19th March 2020 until Friday, 3rd April 2020. In the visa section there are no personal interviews of visa applicants and all appointments are suspended. The Consulate General remains open only for emergency cases and for application and collection of German passports. Other services are not being provided. Please find all relevant information on the website of the German Consulate https://india.diplo.de/in-en/vertretungen/generalkonsulat1/-/2320356

March 18, 2020:

+++GERMANY: Visa Regulations+++
According to currently available information, holders of German residence permits and valid national visas are exempt from the imposed entry ban, which is valid until mid-April. However, we always recommend to check the relevant websites or possible changes directly with your responsible embassy.
Due to the current situation many foreign travellers have been stranded in the Schengen Area, with their visas and visa-free stay about to expire. Travel restrictions, cancelled flights and closed borders of most of the Schengen Countries will affect the number of these travellers to increase in the following days. The European Commission has explained that Schengen visa holders currently in the Schengen Area, can extend their visas, as the EU visa rules provide them with the right of stay extension due to force majeure. Please read detailed information here: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/eu-commission-explains-what-happens-with-foreigners-unable-to-leave-due-to-travel-restrictions/

+++GERMANY: Universities:+++
According to the German Acdemic Exchange Service (DAAD) all university summer courses for summer 2020 have to be cancelled. No further commitments will be made until further notice. Individual Scholarships for studying in Germany will not be available for the summer semester 2020. For those who are already scholarship holders and are unable to return to their home country as a result of coronavirus travel restrictions, the support will be extended.Please find all information here: https://www.daad.de/en/coronavirus/

+++GERMANY: Foreign Offices+++
In most foreign offices in Germany from Wednesday, 18.03.2020, due to the coronavirus, visits are only possible by appointment. Appointment requests can mostly be done via website or by telephone to the responsible officer.
For all other requests, the responsible officer can be contacted by e-mail or telephone. For changes at short notice, please refer to the information on their dedicated websites.

+++FINTIBA: Money Access without Registration Certificate+++
In order to make sure to have access to your money, also in case you don’t have your registration certificate yet, we show you four diffrent options of current accounts which you can simply open without the certificate. Please find these options in your Fintiba app in the section “Current Account”.

+++GERMANY: Universities and Health Insurance+++
Some universities, such as the university in Magdeburg switched to online enrollment so that you are still able to receive your enrollment certificate and activate DAK for the time of your studies. Please contact your university in Germany for further information on adapted procedures.

+++GERMANY: Travel Restrictions+++
Germany has shut its borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. Goods and commuters will be exempt from the ban, said German interior minister Horst Seehofer. Travellers from outside the EU are being turned away from airports and borders, after the 27-country bloc imposed a 30-day ban to halt the spread of coronavirus. On the website of the Federal Foreign Office you can find daily updates and FAQ’s on the nationwide travel ban. In terms of the repatriation action they have announced for people who have a residence permit for Germany, live in Germany and have travelled from there on holiday, they try to find a solution within the limits of their capacities: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/reise-und-sicherheitshinweise/reisewarnungen/faq-reisewarnung?openAccordionId=item-2320088-10-panel

+++PAKISTAN: Embassy Opening+++
Taking into consideration the decision of EU Heads of States and Governments on 17th of March 2020 agreed to implement 30-day travel restrictions for non-EU nationals travelling from outside the EU, the Visa Sections and Consulates of the German Embassy Islamabad and of the German Consulate General Karachi will be closed with effect from Thursday, March 19th to initially April 19th. Emergencies will be processed. Please find detaield information here: https://pakistan.diplo.de/pk-en/-/2320286

March 17, 2020:

+++GERMANY: Train Connections+++
Domestic and long-distance traffic of the German railway company (Deutsche Bahn) started regularly on Monday with almost no restrictions. During the course of the day, the usual service in Germany was operating. At the same time, DB continues to maintain close contact with the federal states, the responsible authorities and its European partners. Please find more information in this press release. Deutsche Bahn also supports the German government in calling back the passengers from abroad to Germany. Airline boarding passes are now valid as train tickets for onward travel to the actual destination airport in the home country, initially until the end of the month. According to the CEO they provide fast and unbureaucratic assistance. Together with the federal government and the airlines, they offer security for all those who are now stuck abroad and want to come home. Please find the most recent information on the news portal of Deutsche Bahn: https://www.deutschebahn.com/de/presse/pressestart_zentrales_uebersicht/Presse-Blog-zur-aktuellen-Lage-Coronavirus-und-Bahnverkehr-4966788

+++FINTIBA: Mawista & DAK Health Insurance+++
Both insurer cover 100% of the medical bills if you fall ill or have an accident abroad. This applies also if you get infected by COVID-19. They also pay for Corona-tests in case of a medical indication being present (i. e. a you have symptoms and visit the doctor who says to have a test). The test is not covered in case you want to get tested without a doctor initiating it. In case you assume an infection due to typical symptoms, please call your physician or (in case you stay in Germany) dial 116117 and for specific information on Mawista services you can call their 24 hrs emergency hotline at +49 89 624 24 – 496 and for information from DAK please dial 040 325 325 800 .
You can find all updates about the pandemic under https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus.

+++GERMANY: Universities+++
Many university buildings are closed with a few exceptions e.g. for departments with clinical tasks. Most universities offer live tickers, news portals and FAQ sections on their website keeping their students informed about recent changes in examinations, opening hours, digital services and deadline extensions.

+++GERMANY: Border Closure+++
The European Commission is planning to ban all non-essential travel in the European free trade zone Schengen, as more and more countries close their borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus. According to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, she wants to call on the heads of state and government to implement the measures today. In order to reduce the risk of infection by coronavirus, the federal government temporarily restricts cross-border traffic from France, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark. Goods traffic remains possible, and commuters should also be able to continue to enter the country. Checks at the internal borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark have been carried out by the Federal Police since 16 March 2020. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped that the border controls introduced by many EU countries in response to the coronavirus would be lifted quickly once the situation improves. Please find more information here: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/coronavirus/kontrollen-an-den-grenzen-1730742

+++GERMANY: Travelling+++
The German government issues a worldwide travel warning. Chancellor Merkel announced that from now on pleasure trips are forbidden. There will be no tourist travels domestically or abroad, travels with overnight stays are only permitted for work-related travel. The Federal Foreign Office has also launched a recall action for thousands of Germans who are stuck abroad due to travel restrictions in the Corona crisis. Please find more information here: https://www.deutschland.de/en/news/coronavirus-in-germany-informations

+++GERMANY: Closing Restrictions+++
Bars, theatres, museums, cinemas, leisure parks and non-essential shops will be closed, however supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, post offices and other shops considered important service providers will remain open. Nationwide playgrounds are to be closed. Restaurants will only be allowed to open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The 16 federal states will decide when these measures will come into effect, but the states have agreed with Merkel to adapt the changes as quickly as possible. The government wants to maintain the economic processes as far as possible: https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-latest-french-president-macron-says-we-are-at-war-as-he-orders-lockdown/a-52788195

+++GERMANY: City Offices+++
Several public city offices should no longer be visited and are available to all customers by e-mail / post or telephone. For all matters that cannot be dealt with by e-mail / post / telephone, personal visits are only possible by appointment. In Essen, for example, all city offices will be closed from today until at least April 19, 2020. Anything that cannot be postponed can be clarified by telephone. This also means that you cannot renew your identity card now. But there are no fines if you show an old ID card in the next few weeks. The immigration authority in Essen still allows visitors, but with restrictions. If you have an appointment, you are only allowed to enter the building 10 minutes before. Without an appointment, no more than six people per subject area may enter the building. A security service will regulate the entrance on site.
Please check your local city offices for detailed information as the regulations are still applied differently depending on the region.

+++INDIA: Travel Restrictions+++
India has imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for citizens returning from China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain. Tourist visas have been suspended until April 15. Expanding compulsory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days for passengers coming from/transiting through UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait. This will come into effect 12:00 GMT on 18th March, 2020 at the port of first departure.

+++CHINA: Travel Restrictions+++
Visitors arriving from Italy, South Korea and Japan and arriving in Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan or Guangdong must enter quarantine for two weeks. According to recent updates the list of countries included in the 14 day quarantine list has now been extended to Iran, France, Spain, Germany and the United States.

March 16, 2020:

+++ GERMANY: Border Closure +++
Borders between Germany and France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg, and Denmark are closed for non-essential travels from Monday, March 16th, 8:00 a.m. Deliveries of goods and commuters can cross these borders.

+++ GERMANY: Train Connections +++
The German railway company (Deutsche Bahn) has announced to reduce regional train connections. Long-distance traffic is not affected by this.

+++ GERMANY: Closing Restrictions +++
Most public events have been cancelled. Restrictions depend on different local regulations. Several foreign offices are closed for official hours and kindly ask for contact via phone. Supermarkets will stay open and be excluded from closing restrictions.
Hamburg: Hamburg has also banned gatherings regardless of the number of participants.
North Rhine-Westphalia: The NRW state government in DĂĽsseldorf announced that almost all leisure, sports, entertainment, and educational activities in the state would be suspended. Starting on Monday, all bars, clubs, gambling halls, theatres, cinemas and museums in NRW will have to close.
Berlin: Berlin has banned gatherings with more than 50 people, which has led to the closure of clubs, pubs, theatres, cinemas, and gyms. Restaurants remain open.
Bavaria: Starting Tuesday, Bavaria will close all bars, cinemas, and public swimming pools, and on Wednesday, individual businesses will have to close.

For detailed information on the region in which you are planning a stay in Germany, please visit the website of the respective federal state.

+++ GERMANY: Universities +++
Universities have postponed the start of lectures at least until April 20th, 2020. Not all universities are closed. Some of them are still open, research is being carried out and staff can be present. However, examinations are to continue to take place. For the time being, this does not restrict the number of degrees. Lecturers are requested to prepare for the possibilities of digital teaching or to examine the expansion of digital teaching. Please inform yourself on the website of your university. Mostly you can find the latest information on changes due to Corona within the news section or directly on the homepage of your university. Some of them even have dedicated E-Mail addresses or crisis management teams which are in contact with medical centres and the authorities of the city. You can make use of services available online or via phone, and rather refrain from visiting in person.

+++ FINTIBA: Customer Care +++
Our customer support team is, of course, still there to help you with any questions you may have. We at Fintiba also work partly in home office. Nevertheless, we are still able to be there for you.

+++ INDIA: Outgoing Travels +++
Outgoing travellers are subjected to preliminary tests before immigration.

+++ INDIA: Visa for Germany +++
Students in India can still apply for a visa for Germany as most embassies and VFS offices are still operating.

+++ CHINA: German Embassy +++
The German Embassy in China continues its visa service and APS keeps working, more details can be found here: https://www.aps.org.cn/coronatermin

+++ CHINA: Blocked Account +++
Deutsche Bank continues to suspend the blocked account service. The only alternative for a German blocked account remains Fintiba.

+++ TAIWAN: German Embassy +++
German Embassies are still operating.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What should I know if I am planning a trip to Germany now?
How should I behave when I am in Germany?
What do I have to do in case of (suspected) infection?
Who can I call from DAK or MAWISTA for further information on the coronavirus or in case of an emergency?
Which number can I call in my region for medical information on Corona?
How can I contact my embassy in Germany?
Where can I find information on the recent changes in the different states of Germany?
Which Hotline can I call for psychological help?
What should I know if I am planning a trip to Germany now?

Please keep yourself up-to-date with the latest travel information for Germany on the website of your German embassy as well as of your destination airport (e.g. Fraport for the international airport of Frankfurt).

When entering Germany, suspicious cases are handled by the responsible authorities. The German government has now implemented a general registration of air travellers from China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. Exit cards must also be filled out for cross-border train and bus traffic. Carriers have also been obliged to distribute information on disease prevention to all passengers in cross-border transportation (flight, ship, train, bus).

How should I behave when I am in Germany?

Measures to fight the spread of coronavirus are subject to local regulations. These may include quarantine measures in case of confirmed infection with COVID-19. So far, there are no specific federal restrictions. However, it is recommended to avoid public events with a higher number of participants (depending on federal restrictions but avoiding bigger gatherings of peoples generally recommended). In general, international advice to reduce the spread of the coronavirus should be followed. This includes regular and thorough handwashing with soap for 20-30 seconds, sneezing in the elbows or a quickly disposable handkerchief or tissue, keeping a distance from other people and avoiding shaking hands. Further information and details can be found on the World Health Organization’s website.

Students should contact their university and inform themselves about the situation in their respective federal state and location to check how a safe presence at the university can be guaranteed. It should also be investigated whether stays can be postponed or, if necessary, replaced by virtual formats. (source: DAAD)

Students coming to Germany from an area at risk are recommended to observe a 14-day quarantine to minimize risks of contagion. If this means that you may miss out on exams or studies, please contact your examination office. You will have to present formal documentation that you are coming from an area of risk and are missing your studies/ exams because of the quarantine. You can find a current overview of areas at risk on the pages of the Robert Koch Institute.

 

What do I have to do in case of (suspected) infection?

Should you experience symptoms of a cold after your arrival in Germany from an affected area/ an area at risk, please stay at home and call a doctor (medical on-call service: 116 117). Please relay that you have been to an affected area/ an area at risk. The doctor will guide you on the next steps.

Travellers should keep the contact details of their home country’s embassy or consulate in Germany in case they need to contact these.

A short overview of what to do to help protect yourself and others is available at the website of Auswärtiges Amt Leaflet on coronavirus: Protect – Recognise – Act

Who can I call from DAK or MAWISTA for further information on the coronavirus or in case of an emergency?

DAK Hotline:
Hotline Coronavirus
You can reach our experts at 040 325 325 800

MAWISTA Hotline:
For emergencies, the MAWISTA phone service is available 24hs: +49 89 624 24 – 496

Which number can I call in my region for medical information on Corona?

The German embassy has asked us to spread these emergency numbers for every state in case of emergency.

How can I contact my embassy in Germany?

On the website of the Federal Foreign Office you can find a list of all foreign embassies in Germany with their addresses and contact numbers. Please find it here: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/vertretungen-anderer-staaten

Where can I find information on the recent changes in the different states of Germany?

Please find below a list of the respective health ministries of each state with updated information on restrictions and closures. Most of their information is provided in German, however some states such as Hessen offers dedicated information in English.

Baden WĂĽrttemberg: https://sozialministerium.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/gesundheit-pflege/gesundheitsschutz/infektionsschutz-hygiene/informationen-zu-coronavirus/

Bayern: https://www.stmgp.bayern.de/

Berlin: https://www.berlin.de/sen/gpg/

Brandenburg: https://msgiv.brandenburg.de/msgiv/de/start/themen/gesundheit/oeffentlicher-gesundheitsdienst/informationen-zum-neuartigen-coronavirus/

Bremen: https://www.gesundheit.bremen.de/sixcms/detail.php?gsid=bremen229.c.32718.de

Hamburg: https://www.hamburg.de/coronavirus/
Hessen: https://soziales.hessen.de/sites/default/files/media/staatskanzlei/2020_3_17_corona_broschuere_englisch.pdf

Mecklenburg Vorpommern: https://www.regierung-mv.de/Landesregierung/wm/Aktuelles–Blickpunkte/Wichtige-Informationen-zum-Corona%E2%80%93Virus

Niedersachsen: https://www.niedersachsen.de/Coronavirus

Nordrhein Westfahlen: https://www.land.nrw/corona

Rheinland Pfalz; https://msagd.rlp.de/de/unsere-themen/gesundheit-und-pflege/gesundheitliche-versorgung/oeffentlicher-gesundheitsdienst-hygiene-und-infektionsschutz/infektionsschutz/informationen-zum-coronavirus-sars-cov-2/

Saarland: https://www.saarland.de/SID-7C9CCDDE-52232CAD/corona.htm

Sachsen: https://www.coronavirus.sachsen.de/

Sachsen Anhalt: https://ms.sachsen-anhalt.de/themen/gesundheit/aktuell/coronavirus/

Schleswig Holstein: https://ms.sachsen-anhalt.de/themen/gesundheit/aktuell/coronavirus/

ThĂĽringen: https://www.landesregierung-thueringen.de/corona-bulletin/

Which Hotline can I call for psychological help?

The BDP Corona Hotline is realized by the voluntary work of psychologists and the Professional Association of German Psychologists. (BDP). The hotline is aimed at all those who are psychologically burdened by the corona crisis situation, for example by suffering from domestic isolation, lacking social support, losing structure in everyday life or being uncertain about how to proceed. To support them, professional psychologists offer telephone counselling in this special situation.: 08007772244
https://www.bdp-verband.de/aktuelles/2020/corona/bdp-corona-hotline.html

In March Helios Kliniken GmbH launched a Germany-wide hotline for questions about the corona virus. Since then, more than 11,000 callers have been contacted, advised and, if necessary, referred to a smear test centre. In order to cover the increasing need for psychological support, Helios has now expanded the team behind the hotline to include psychologists, among others: 0800 8 123 456 https://www.helios-gesundheit.de/unternehmen/aktuelles/pressemitteilungen/detail/news/neues-angebot-der-helios-hotline-corona/

„Telefonseelsorge” is a general German helpline which you can call whenever you need counselling on any issue. It can also be reached from abroad via online phoning. Additionally they offer the free option to call +49-800 1110111 / +49-800 1110222 through a phone with German simcard. All numbers are completely free of charge. https://www.telefonseelsorge.de/?q=node/7651

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