Passports and Visas
Visitors from all countries are required to hold a valid passport
and a return ticket, for a stays of up to three months.
Exceptions would be the nationals of Austria, Finland, Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland and
other EU countries that hold national identity cards. For
further details about entry requirements, check with the German
embassy or consulate in your home country.
Banks are generally open from 8:30 a.m till 1 p.m and 2:30
till 4 p.m, from Monday to Friday. (Some banks stay open until
5:30 p.m on Thursday).
Shops may open as early as 6 am, but are usually open from
8 or 9 a.m until 8 p.m from Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m to
4 p.m on Saturday. Bakeries are allowed to open for three
hours on Sunday. On the four Saturdays before Christmas, shops
are open until 6 p.m. Smaller shops may close from 1 to 3
p.m for lunch.
Germany is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich mean time (GMT), or 1
hour ahead of London, 6 hours ahead of New York and Montréal,
6 hours behind Hong Kong, and 8 hours behind Sydney. Germany
observes daylight saving time from late March to late September,
during which time it is 2 hours ahead of GMT.
The international telephone access code is 49. The city code
for Munich is 089, for Berlin 030, for Frankfurt 069, for
Hamburg 040, for Dresden 0351, and for Cologne 0221. Omit
the zero if calling from abroad. To place an outgoing international
call, dial 00 plus the country code and number. For international
directory assistance, call 00118; for local directory assistance,
The unit of currency is the Deutschmark (DM), which is divided
into 100 pfennig. Notes are available in denominations of
DM10, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000. Coins are in denominations
of DM1, 2, and 5 and 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50 pfennig.
Credit cards are accepted in about half of all businesses,
so it’s a good idea to carry cash or Eurocheques. Automated
teller machines linked to the Cirrus and Plus systems are
the most popular ways of getting credit–card cash advances.
Traveler’s checks issued by well-known companies are the
easiest to exchange; better still are checks issued in Deutschmark
denominations. Be sure to ask about the commission charged
for changing foreign currency into Deutschmarks as it can
be quite high in some places.
Tipping is not common in Germany. Although restaurants include
a service charge in the bill, many people round up the bill
when the service provided was good. Taxi drivers usually receive
tips ( 10% percent is customary).
Citizens of non–EU countries may import, duty–free, 200 cigarettes
or 50 cigars or 250 grams other tobacco, 1 liter spirits and
2 liters still wine, 50 grams of perfume, 500 grams of coffee.
Citizens of EU countries are allowed to import higher amounts
than those listed here, but all such goods must be for personal
use. Note: tobacco and alcohol allowances apply only to those
17 years of age or older.