Germany - Consular Information Sheet
September 18, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Germany is a modern and stable democracy.
Tourist facilities are highly developed. In larger towns, many
people can communicate in English.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is
not required for tourist/business stays up to 90 days within the
Schengen Group of countries, which includes Germany. Further
information on entry, visa and passport requirements may be obtained
from the German Embassy at 4645 Reservoir Road N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 298-4000, or the German Consulates
General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami,
New York, or San Francisco; and on the Internet at http://www.germany-info.org/newcontent/index_consular.html.
Inquiries from outside the United States may be made to the nearest
German embassy or consulate.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Overall, the security risk to travelers
in Germany is low; however, demonstrations occasionally turn violent
and should be avoided. Like other developed countries, Germany
has recently experienced an increase in large demonstrations by
anti-globalization groups that target international conferences
and meetings. These demonstrations have a tendency to spread and
turn violent, and anyone in the general area can become the victim
of a random attack. All Americans are cautioned to avoid the area
around these protests and to check local media for updates on
Also, hooligans, most often young intoxicated "skinheads",
have been known to harass or even attack people whom they believe
to be foreigners or members of rival youth groups. While U.S.
citizens have not been specific targets, several Americans have
reported that they were assaulted for racial reasons or because
they appeared "foreign."
CRIME INFORMATION: Violent crime is rare in Germany, but
it can occur, especially in larger cities or high risk areas such
as train stations. Most incidents of street crime consist of theft
of unattended items and pick-pocketing. There have been a few
reports of aggravated assault against U.S. citizens in higher-risk
areas. American travelers are advised to take the same precautions
against becoming crime victims as they would in any American city.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey.
pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via
the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, .
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Good medical care is widely available.
Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment in cash for
health services from tourists and persons with no permanent address
in Germany. Most doctors, hospitals and pharmacies do not accept
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States, and U.S. Medicare and Medicaid
programs do not provide payment for medical services abroad. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or if you will be expected to pay yourself and request to be reimbursed
later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also
include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition
of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Bureau of Consular Affairs'
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov
or by autofax at (1-202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information
on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for
international travelers at (1-877)FYI-TRIP or (1-877)394-8747;
fax (1-888)CDC-FAXX or (1-888)232-3299; or via CDC's Internet
site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Germany is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent
Road conditions in general are excellent, although caution should
be exercised while traveling on older roads in eastern Germany.
The high speed permitted on the German autobahn, weather, and
unfamiliar road markings can pose significant hazards, and driver
error is a leading cause of accidents involving American motorists
in Germany. Rules on right-of-way differ significantly from those
in the United States. Notice should be taken that it is generally
illegal in Germany to pass vehicles from the right, and that the
threshold for determining whether a person has been driving under
the influence of alcohol is lower than in some U.S. states. For
specific information on travel within Germany, please contact
the German National Tourist Board Office in New York at tel.
(1-212) 661-7200, fax: (1-212) 661-7174 or via the Internet at
Travelers should also note that railroad crossings are differently
marked in Germany than in the United States, and there have been
several accidents involving Americans in recent years at railroad
crossings. In addition to the standard crossbuck (X-shaped) sign,
railroad crossings are often marked by signal lights. Signal lights
flash only when a train is approaching. Regardless of the color
of the light, a flashing light at a railroad crossing means that
a train is approaching and that all vehicles should stop.
Individuals holding U.S. drivers' licenses may drive in Germany
for up to six months without acquiring a German driver's license.
additional information about road safety, please see the Department
of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page's road safety overseas
feature at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Germany's Civil Aviation
Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Germany's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the United States at tel. (1-800) 322-7873,
the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (1-618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS/CURRENCY AND BANKING: Germany's customs
authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary
importation into or export from Germany of certain items such
as firearms, military artifacts (particularly those pertaining
to the Second World War), antiques, medications/pharmaceuticals
and business equipment. Under German law it is also illegal to
bring into or take out of Germany literature, music CDs, or other
paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past or the former
"Third Reich." It is advisable to contact the German
Embassy in Washington or one of the German consulates in the United
States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Germany's customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission
of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for
exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet headquarters, located
at the U.S. Council
for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New
York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United
States. For additional information, please call 212-354-4480,
send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org
CURRENCY/BANKING: Germany will adopt the Euro as its official
currency on January 1, 2002. German Marks will be accepted for
cash transactions, along with Euros, through February 28, 2002.
After that day, travelers to Germany must pay in Euros, although
banks will change German marks into Euros for some months afterward.
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMS) are widely available throughout
Germany. They utilize many of the same account networks that are
found in the United States, so it is possible in most cases to
get German currency directly from your U.S. bank while you are
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Germany's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Germany are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: Custody and access issues for children
in dual American-German families have been a recent, high-profile
concern in Germany.
For information on children's issues, including international
adoption of children and international parental child abduction,
please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (1-202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans
living in Germany are encouraged to register at the Consular Section
of the U.S. Embassy or any of the U.S. consulates and obtain updated
information on travel and security within Germany. A
new initiative of the American Embassy in Berlin allows all Americans
in Germany to obtain automatic security updates and Public Announcements
by e-mail. To subscribe to this service, simply send a blank
e-mail to GermanyACS@state.gov and put the word "SUBSCRIBE"
on the subject line. Individuals planning extended stays in Germany
are encouraged to register in person at their local consular section.
in Berlin is located at: Neustaedtische Kirchstrasse 4-5;
Tel: (49)(30) 238-5174 or 8305-0;
the Consular Section is located at Clayallee 170;
Tel: (49)(30) 832-9233; Fax: (49)(30) 8305-1215
U.S. Consulates General are located at:
Duesseldorf: Willi-Becker-Allee 10,
Tel.: (49)(211)788-8927; Fax: (49)(211)788-8938;
Frankfurt: Siesmayerstrasse 21,
Tel: (49)(69) 75350; Fax: (49)(69) 7535-2304;
Hamburg: Alsterufer 27/28,
Tel: (49)(40) 4117-1351; Fax: (49)(40) 44-30-04;
Leipzig: Wilhelm-Seyfferth-Strasse 4,
Tel: (49)(341) 213-8418; Fax: (49)(341) 21384-17 (emergency services
Munich: Koeniginstrasse 5,
Tel: (49)(89) 2888-0; Fax: (49)(89) 280-9998.
There is also a U.S. consular agency in Bremen located at:
Bremen World Trade Center, Birkenstrasse 15,
Tel: (49)(421) 301-5860; Fax: (49)(421)301-5861.
When calling another city from within Germany, dial a zero before
the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the
city code for Berlin is 030).
* * * * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
27, 2000, to reflect changes in format, addresses, phone numbers
and Internet addresses; to note the creation in 2000 of a U.S.
Consular Agency in Bremen; to amend sections pertaining to Safety
and Security, Customs Regulations, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions;
and to reflect the advent of the Euro as Germany's unit of currency.