- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Germany. You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
- There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Europe, causing localised disruption to cross-border road and train transport services. Travellers should be aware of the possibility of further disruptions, make appropriate contingency plans and follow the instructions of local authorities. See Local travel.
- We assess there is a heightened threat of terrorist attack in a number of European countries, including Germany. This threat is posed by those motivated by the current conflict in Iraq and Syria. The German Federal Interior Ministry advised on 15 February 2015 that the threat of terrorism in Germany was High. Australians should remain vigilant in public places and report any suspicious activity to police. See Safety and security.
- The annual Oktoberfest festival will be held on the Theresienwiese in Munich, Bavaria, from 19 September to 4 October 2015. We urge all Australians attending Oktoberfest to behave responsibly and to respect local laws and customs.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive email updates each time it's reissued
- follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Entry and exit
Germany is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with a number of other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Germany without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for more information.
People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) who are carrying 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.
As visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice,contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Germany website for the most up to date information.
Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Safety and security
We assess there is a heightened threat of terrorist attack in a number of European countries, including Germany. This is posed by those motivated by the current conflict in Iraq and Syria. The German Federal Interior Ministry advised on 15 February 2015 that the threat of terrorism in Germany was High.
In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities, including Paris, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Madrid, Moscow, Oslo and Volgograd. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services in recent years, including in Germany. Australians should remain vigilant in public places and report any suspicious activity to police.
The German Government maintains heightened security measures around the country, including at airports and major train stations. German authorities are monitoring a large number of individuals considered capable of violent acts. As part of its ongoing monitoring, German law enforcement authorities continue to investigate, arrest and prosecute suspected militants and terrorists.
In February 2015, a major carnival parade was cancelled at very short notice in Braunschweig, northern Germany, in response to what German authorities described as a credible terror threat.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Worldwide bulletin.
Civil unrest/political tension
You should avoid large public demonstrations as they may turn violent.
Germany has a low incidence of violent crime. Street crime occurs, including pickpocketing and theft from unattended vehicles. Extremist youth groups, particularly in urban areas and in states of the former East Germany, have harassed or attacked individuals for racial reasons or because they appear foreign.
In early 2014, Berlin authorities reported a rise in incidents of pickpocketing. Police suggest that travellers pay particular attention to their valuables when visiting the districts of Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.
Incidents of ‘drink spiking’ at popular night clubs and at Christmas markets, leading to sexual assault, have been reported. It is important that you do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended. Travellers should attempt to stay in the company of people they trust, particularly in bars and nightclubs.
Money and valuables
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Europe. In some cases, police have been deployed to prevent asylum seekers from crossing borders and accessing transport. As a result, there has been localised disruption to some cross-border road and rail transport services. You should be aware of the possibility of further disruption to transport services and monitor the local media and other information from transport providers for up to date information. If travelling by road or train, you should allow additional time to cover any disruption, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. Australians travelling across affected borders, either by road or rail, should make appropriate contingency plans to cover any disruption to travel plans.
Oktoberfest: The annual Oktoberfest festival will be held on the Theresienwiese in Munich, Bavaria, from 19 September to 4 October 2015. There will be an increased demand for accommodation and transport facilities in Bavaria during Oktoberfest. You should expect delays and plan your travel accordingly. We urge all Australians attending Oktoberfest to behave responsibly and to respect local laws and customs. Australians have been detained in the past by German authorities for lengthy periods on charges of antisocial behaviour and assault. This type of behaviour has made it difficult for such offenders to enter Germany or other Schengen countries on later occasions.Should you need medical assistance during Oktoberfest, bear in mind that Australia does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Germany, and medical bills can be very expensive. We strongly recommend taking out comprehensive travel insurance. To obtain consular assistance during Oktoberfest 2015, see the ‘Where to get help’ section of this advice.
Bicycles are numerous and often have their own pathways (usually coloured red) and traffic lights, located between the pedestrian footpath and the roadway. Pedestrians should avoid walking on these pathways as cyclists usually travel at speed and have right of way. Accidents and injuries resulting from collisions between cyclists and pedestrians are common. Bicycles also have the right of way over vehicles turning into side streets.
Australians choosing to drive in Germany should acquaint themselves with German road rules. Certain stretches of the German autobahn network do not have set speed limits and drivers should be aware of the potential for fast-moving traffic.
The minimum driving age in Germany is 18. Drivers under 18 are not allowed to drive even if they possess a valid Australian driver’s licence. Drivers must have a valid driver’s licence, insurance and vehicle documents in the vehicle at all times.
An Australian driving licence can only be used in Germany in some circumstances. For details, please visit the German Embassy in Australia website.
For further advice on road safety, see our road travel page.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Germany.
Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Germany, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
The use or display of any Nazi symbols, salutes, songs or material (e.g. flags, memorabilia) is illegal.
You are not required by law to carry your passport with you while in Germany, but the local authorities can request to see it. We advise you to have access to your passport and carry photo identification with you at all times.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Information for dual nationals
See our Dual nationals page.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities and care in Germany is high. Australia does not have a reciprocal health care agreement with Germany. Hospitals will require confirmation that the patient has insurance or the funds to meet the costs of treatment. Medical practitioners will request up-front payment. Costs are generally higher than in Australia.
Travel in forested areas, particularly in the states of Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemburg in the south, brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.
Where to get help
Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
For criminal issues, contact the local police. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime. The national police emergency number is 110. For Fire and Ambulance, call 112.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.
The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:
Australian Embassy, Berlin
Australian Consulate-General, Frankfurt
Main Tower-28th floor
Neue Mainzer Str. 52/58
Federal Republic of Germany
Telephone: +49 69 90558 0
Facsimile: +49 69 90558 119
See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are travelling to Germany, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Embassy or the Consulate-General you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.