Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in general are excellent but can differ from those in the United States. Exercise caution while traveling on older roads in eastern Germany.
If you hold a valid U.S. driver?s license you can drive in Germany for up to six months without acquiring a German driver?s license. Traffic signs differ from those in the United States. Basic information about road signs in Germany is available here.
Driver error is a leading cause of accidents involving U.S. citizen motorists in Germany.
Speed limits are posted on large stretches of the highway, on the Autobahn in urban areas and when the road has many curves. While high speeds are permitted on the Autobahn, adverse weather conditions and unfamiliar road markings pose significant hazards.
Bicycles: German streets and sidewalks have dedicated bike lanes. Bicycles have priority use of bike lanes over pedestrians and automobiles. Bicyclists also have priority over cars when turning onto side streets. If you are driving, check whether a bicyclist is approaching from either direction before attempting to enter side streets, even when the light is in your favor. You will be held responsible for any injury or damage caused if you turn into a side street and hit a bicyclist using a marked bike lane. If you are walking, watch for bicyclists before crossing or stepping into bike lanes.
Traffic Laws: Except on priority roads, vehicles coming from the right have the right-of-way. It is generally illegal in Germany to pass vehicles on the right. It is illegal to operate a vehicle if the blood alcohol level is 0.05% or higher. You may be fined and your driver?s license may be suspended for specified periods of time depending upon the gravity of each violation.
It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving in Germany. For more information, please visit the U.S. embassy?s webpage on driving in Germany.
Public Transportation: Germany has an extensive and safe public transportation network consisting of buses, streetcars, trains, and subways. Metered taxis are also prevalent throughout Germany, although taxis generally do not accept credit cards. Uber is available in limited areas in Germany. Use common sense safety practices such as guarding valuables and remaining aware of your surroundings on all public transportation.
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 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Germany?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Germany should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select ?broadcast warnings?.
Germany has good medical care and facilities. If you are not a resident of Germany, doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment in cash. Most doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies do not accept credit cards.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas or purchase travel insurance for this purpose. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the German Government to ensure the medication is legal in Germany. Due to Germany?s strict customs regulations you are not allowed to receive prescription medication by mail without special permission. For more information please visit the German customs website regarding medicine. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Special Circumstances: Germany has strict customs regulations concerning:
- Temporary importation or exportation of firearms
- Military artifacts (particularly those of World War II)
- Business equipment
Under German law it is also illegal to bring into or take out of Germany any literature, music, or paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past, or the ?Third Reich.?
Contact the German Embassy in Washington or one of the German consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Credit cards are not as widely accepted in Germany as they are in the United States; however, ATMs are widely available throughout Germany.
Carry identification with you at all times.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Germany. Same-sex marriage is available in Germany. The LGBTI community is protected by federal anti-discrimination laws and LGBTI Pride events are officially encouraged by most large city governments, including those in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Munich.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from the United States. Many existing buildings and public transportation systems are less adapted to individuals with disabilities.
Check your hotel or destination to learn more about options to accommodate disabled traveler needs before visiting Germany.
German airports and Lufthansa offer services for disabled travelers.
German National Railway, Deutsche Bahn, maintains a mobility resource webpage.
You can find more information on accessibility by visiting the German National Tourist Board website.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Demonstrations occur regularly in Germany. Large, public demonstrations take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations tend to take place on politically significant holidays like German Labor Day (May 1) and during international summits hosted in Germany. Demonstration organizers must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants.
Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.
Crime: Violent crime is rare in Germany, but can occur, especially in larger cities or high-risk areas such as on large metropolitan subway systems and in train stations, primarily during late night or early morning hours. Most incidents of street crime involve the theft of unattended items and pick-pocketing. Theft and pick-pocketing primarily take place at train stations, on public transportation, at tourist attractions, and at large public events. Pay close attention to your valuables at all times.
Be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
U.S. citizens should exercise caution when congregating in known expatriate hangouts.
Hooligans, most often drunken ?skinheads,? have harassed and attacked perceived foreigners or members of rival groups. Seemingly racially-motivated assaults (because of a ?foreign? appearance) against U.S. citizens have occurred.
Don?t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. They are illegal to bring back into the United States, and you could also be breaking local law.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police: in an emergency dial 112 for ambulance and 110 for the police and contact the U.S Embassy at +(49)(30) 8305-0 or the nearest U.S. Consulate.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide information on victim?s compensation and support in Germany
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
We also maintain information on our website on how to report child abuse situations to the local authorities.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the past couple of years, Germany has experienced extreme weather conditions with long periods of drought and unusually harsh winters with vast amounts of snow even in urban areas. Numerous injuries and deaths occur every year in Germany?s Alpine and coastal regions. The majority of the emergencies relate to the following sports: skiing, hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking, sledding, rock and mountain climbing, paragliding, and swimming. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. Those engaging in Alpine sports are strongly encouraged to register with German ?Alpen Verein? . U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Visit the German Embassy in Washington D.C. website for the most current visa information.
Germany is a party to the Schengen Agreement. U.S. citizens may enter Germany for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your period of stay. This regulation is strictly enforced in Germany. You will be denied admittance into Germany and returned to your point of origin if your passport has less than 90 days validity. You also need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
If you are transiting Germany en route to other countries, know all entry and exit requirements for your final destination. Incorrect documentation might cause you to be denied boarding for your connecting flight. Travelers have also been delayed or refused entry to the Schengen zone for missing an onward non-tourism visa for their stay in another country – even if the appropriate visa is available upon arrival in the traveler?s final Schengen country. If you are denied boarding for either of these reasons, you will need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket or an itinerary that does not require entry into the Schengen zone.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Germany.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Germany for information on U.S. – Germany relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
Federal Republic of Germany
Telephone: +(49) (30) 8305-0
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49) (30) 8305-0
Fax: +(49) (30) 8305-1215
U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt
Giessener Str. 30
60435 Frankfurt am Main
Federal Republic of Germany
Telephone: +(49) (69) 7535-2100 (Phone hours for passport and citizenship services are 2-3:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, except U.S. and German holidays)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(49) (69) 7535-0
Fax: +(49) (69) 7535-2252
Passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and Citizenship: FrankfurtPassports@state.gov
All other questions: GermanyACS@state.gov