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Germany - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Germany.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Oktoberfest 2018 will take place in Bavaria from September 22 to October 7, 2018. The event is expected to draw a large number of visitors. Crowding at key sites may attract pickpockets and bag snatchers. If attending any related events, expect enhanced security, including security screening and restrictions on bags and backpacks. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t leave belongings unattended and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Learn more about mass gatherings and large-scale events.
Violent crime is rare, but does occur.
Numerous incidents of muggings and sexual assaults have occurred during large gatherings in Cologne and other German cities, most notably on December 31, 2015. Exercise normal security precautions and be particularly vigilant if attending events drawing large crowds.
Petty crime (pickpocketing and purse snatching) occurs in major cities and train stations, airports and Christmas markets.
Pickpockets often work in teams and target people on trains and at railway stations and airports. Their methods include distracting a victim who is boarding or exiting a train or surrounding a victim in line-ups or at check-in counters.
Individuals have been harassed or attacked for reasons of race or foreign-looking appearance.
Ensure that personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Arson attacks on parked vehicles have occurred.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities. In Germany, previous incidents have resulted in injury and death. They include random violent assaults in public areas and a truck driven into crowds at a Christmas market in Berlin. Further attacks in Europe are likely.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
The Government of Germany maintains a public alert system on terrorism. Alert level changes are communicated through local media.
More information about public security - Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Roads and public transportation are excellent.
Bicycles are numerous throughout the country and often have dedicated pathways between sidewalks and roadways. You should exercise caution when crossing these paths, as bicycles have right of way.
Dial 110 in the event of a traffic accident.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Migrants and refugees
There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe. Some countries have already experienced disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations, and have seen major delays at border crossings. The situation also heightens the potential for demonstrations that could turn violent without warning, particularly at railway stations and other transportation hubs. If you are travelling in the region, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities, and contact your transport carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the German authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Latest information on German immigration law and regulations - German Federal ministry of interior.
Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Temporary border controls
The German government has reintroduced internal border controls at certain border crossings. Canadians may be required to pass through immigration controls when entering Germany, even if arriving from another Schengen area country.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: Required
The extension of tourist visits longer than 90 days is not possible. You must apply for a residence permit and provide a valid reason. If you must stay beyond the 90-day limit unexpectedly (for example, due to illness), contact the Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) in the district in which you are staying for information on how to legalize your extended stay.
If you intend to reside in Germany for three months or more, you must register with the German authorities (Einwohnermeldeamt) within seven days of your entry into the country.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Measles in Europe - April 24, 2018
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.
You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Good medical care is widely available. A hospital stay or medical treatment is expensive, and immediate cash payment is often expected.
German hospitals do not generally issue the detailed breakdown of expenses that is usually required by Canadian insurance companies, but you may request a detailed bill from the hospital or the doctor.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Canada and Germany are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Germany to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and German authorities.
Carry adequate identification at all times, such as a passport or residence permit. Police have the right to ask to see it. Keep a photocopy of your passport, in case it is lost or seized.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.
Using or displaying Nazi symbols or material, such as flags or memorabilia, is illegal.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Germany.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Germany, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a vehicle in Germany. An International Driving Permit is recommended.
A Canadian driver’s licence can be used for a maximum of 6 months. After 6 months, you must exchange your Canadian licence for a German one. Allow up to 6 weeks for German authorities to exchange the licence.
You must always carry:
- your driver’s licence
- insurance and vehicle documents
- written permission from the registered owner, if the vehicle does not belong to you
Observe traffic laws and regulations, particularly rights-of-way and speed limits. Much of the autobahn network authorizes much higher speeds than normally allowed in Canada. Exercise caution.
The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines, and your driver’s licence may be confiscated immediately.
The currency of Germany is the euro (EUR).
Credit cards are widely accepted at major hotels, shops and restaurants. ATMs are widely available.
If you are carrying more than €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs upon your entry or exit to the European Union. The sum can be in cash, cheque, money order, traveller’s cheque or any other convertible asset. This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
More information about cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Temperatures can be lower at high altitudes in the Alps.
There is a possibility of flooding in spring and summer. Exercise caution, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Berlin - Embassy of Canada
Düsseldorf - Consulate of Canada
Munich - Consulate of Canada
Stuttgart - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Berlin and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
When making a long-distance call within Germany, the city code must be preceded by a zero. For example, to call Berlin from elsewhere in Germany, you must dial 030, followed by the local number.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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