Can we cross international borders by car?

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Current

The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.

Before unnecessary, tourist trips to Poland will be currently warned.

Epidemiological situation

Poland was badly affected by COVID-19, but the number of new infections has fallen again. Nationwide, the number of new infections until recently exceeded 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days, which is why Poland is classified as a risk area.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) provides current and detailed figures.

entry

When entering via an EU external border, a 10-day quarantine obligation applies. When entering from EU countries (including Germany) there is an obligation to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of the means of transport used and also on foot. The 10-day quarantine can be ended early if the test result is negative. The obligation to quarantine does not apply if a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR or antigen) is presented upon entry, which must not be older than 48 hours.

Exempted from the quarantine obligation (without submitting a negative test result) are, among other things, upon submission of proof of the reason for the trip:

- professional drivers and personnel involved in freight and passenger transport,

- People who cross the border for professional or business reasons,

- People who can prove a vaccination against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved in the EU,

- People who have demonstrably been isolated or hospitalized due to a COVID-19 illness within the last six months.

Further exceptions and details can be found in the ordinances in the Polish Law Gazette. Border controls only take place at the borders with Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

Transit and onward travel

Travelers from Ukraine, Russia or Belarus are only allowed to pass through Poland if the destination of the transit is the journey to their place of residence or stay and they are EU citizens, citizens of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland as well as their spouses and Children. The same applies to foreigners who have an unlimited residence permit or an EU long-term residence permit for one of the aforementioned countries, as well as their spouses and children. The Polish border guard offers an overview of open border crossings.

Travel connections

There are fewer international rail connections for passenger traffic to Poland across the EU's internal borders. International flight connections are currently only offered on a reduced basis. Domestic flight, train and bus connections are limited.

Restrictions in the country

Public life is clearly restricted.

In Poland there are restrictions that will be relaxed in several stages over the next few weeks. Events in cultural institutions are allowed from May 21, 2021, the opening of fitness studios is possible from May 28, 2021.

Hotels can open with a maximum occupancy of 50%. The hotels wellness & spa areas remain closed. Outside areas of restaurants are open, inside areas only from May 28, 2021. Only a limited number of people are allowed to be in shops, churches and post offices at the same time. There is limited space occupancy in local public transport. Public and private gatherings are possible with a limited number of people.

The Polish Ministry of Health provides information on the individual measures applicable on its website, via Twitter and on the website of the Polish government.

Compliance with the regulations is increasingly monitored by the police; violations can result in fines.

Hygiene rules

It is mandatory to wear a mask in closed rooms and on public transport. Exceptions apply to children under five years of age, when driving alone and with people in their own household, for people who cannot wear a mask for health reasons. In the event of identity checks, there is an obligation to remove the mask. Wearing protective visors, scarves and handkerchiefs as mouth and nose protection is prohibited. A recommendation for wearing medical masks applies. The government of Poland provides details on the mask requirement.

The minimum distance in public space is 1.5 meters, with the exception of carers for needy children and small children.

People living in the household of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 are automatically quarantined without a separate decision from the Polish Health Department. The quarantine applies until the end of seven days after the isolation of the person who tested positive in the household has ended. The quarantine obligation does not apply to vaccinated persons and persons who have demonstrably been isolated or hospitalized due to a COVID-19 illness within the last six months.

Shops, banks and petrol stations may only be entered with gloves, which must be provided by the shops or after using the hand disinfectant available at the entrance.

Violations can result in fines amounting to 5,000 to 30,000 PLN may be fined.

  • Note the detailed information on the health situation based on data from the ECDC, existing restrictions including quarantine and testing requirements for travelers and mobile coronavirus contact tracking and warning apps on Re-open EU.
  • Find out more about the measures taken and the recommendations of the Polish authorities from the German representations in Poland and the Polish government.
  • Follow the local media, especially with regard to potential further restrictions and, if necessary, find out more about the Polish legal gazette.
  • In the event of COVID-19 symptoms or contact with infected people, contact the Polish Ministry of Health's hotline (in Polish and in English) on 800 190 590.
  • When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, proof and, if necessary, quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the relevant company or your tour operator, and if you are entering from a risk area, contact the health department of your residence or travel agency Place of residence. Further information can be found in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.

security

terrorism

crime

In larger cities, tourist centers and excursion destinations, as well as on public transport, petty crimes such as pickpockets occur.

Lately, scammers have asked tourists for financial help in order to at least cover travel expenses after the alleged theft. Knockout drops and credit card fraud are also occasionally used in bars and clubs.

In order to steal vehicles, breakdowns or accidents are also simulated.
For parked trucks, the risk of cargo theft is pointed out by cutting open the tarpaulin.

  • Keep valuables and cameras out of sight in cities and never leave your luggage unattended.
  • Keep your money, ID, driver's license and other important documents safe.
  • Be particularly vigilant in large crowds such as at airports, train stations and on public transport and watch out for your valuables.
  • If strangers ask for help, be skeptical and if necessary make sure of yourself personally or contact the police.
  • Do not leave drinks unattended in bars and clubs.
  • Always park vehicles in guarded parking spaces and keep them locked while driving.
  • Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. If in doubt, do not provide any information about yourself.

Nature and climate

There is a moderate transitional climate, sometimes with cold winters.

Particularly in the summer months, heavy rains and floods or rivers overflowing can occur.

Hikes in low mountain ranges can be dangerous in winter when the weather conditions are unfavorable.

  • Always pay attention to the weather, especially in winter.
  • If necessary, seek advice from the mountain rescue service or local residents before setting out.
  • For longer hiking tours, save the route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • Always observe prohibitions, information signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.

Travel info

Infrastructure / traffic

Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.

Domestic flights, a dense railway network and intercity buses are available as public transport, and buses, trains and taxis in the cities.

It is still advisable to carry the green insurance card with you when taking part in road traffic.
If the owner of a vehicle does not agree with the driver, the owner's authorization must be carried. This also applies if the owner is a co-driver. The Polish embassy in Berlin offers a sample.

In Poland, motorways are usually tolled for all vehicles.
The toll can be paid in cash or with a credit or debit card as well as electronically with the ViaAuto transmitter. Electronic payment requires prior registration with viaTOLL.

Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 t must comply with truck driving bans in Poland and any restrictions in Warsaw, be equipped with the electronic ViaBox transmitter and pay fees using viaTOLL.
The German agencies in Poland offer further extensive information on car, truck and bus traffic in Poland.

There is a 0.2 alcohol limit, also for cyclists. Even minor exceedances can be punished with high penalties, driving license revocation, vehicle seizure and imprisonment.

It must be driven all day with dipped headlights, in good visibility conditions at least with daytime running lights.
A fire extinguisher must be carried next to a warning triangle.
There is no general requirement for winter tires, but winter tires are strongly recommended in the winter months.

Fines are high and must be paid immediately in zloty. There may be a risk of driving bans, securing the vehicle and, in the case of significant violations, brief imprisonment.

For pedestrians and cyclists who move outside of built-up areas in the dark, wearing a safety vest or reflective light strips on clothing is mandatory.
Pedestrian crossings without traffic lights do not imply a legal obligation for drivers to stop.

Driver's license

The German driving license is valid.

LGBTIQ

Legal specifics

The consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants in public is prohibited. As in Germany, the importation and possession of drugs are prohibited.

Certain marked military installations or offices may not be photographed.

In the Poland-Russia border area (Kaliningrad area), the “green border” is only marked at various points by widely spaced boundary stones. Anyone who crosses the border illegally (even for a few meters) can expect arrest by the Russian border police and several years in prison.

Money / credit cards

The national currency is the złoty (zł). The bank card (with Maestro or V-Pay symbol) is accepted as a means of payment like all credit cards. When withdrawing from ATMs in Poland, travelers should carefully find out about the zloty exchange rate before using them, as the exchange rate can be up to 10% less favorable than the interbank exchange rate used when settling in zloty.

In the tourist centers, caution is advised when exchanging money. Some exchange offices lure customers with ambiguous billboards. Before the exchange, the exact rate for the intended exchange transaction should be inquired. At reputable exchange offices, the margin between the euro buying rate (kupno) and selling rate (sprzedaż) is small (e.g. kupno - we buy at: 1 € = 4.15 zł - sprzedaż - we sell at 1 € = 4.17 zł) .

Entry and customs

Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.

Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without notifying the Foreign Office beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.

Travel documents

Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:

  • Passport: Yes
  • Temporary passport: Yes
  • Identity card: Yes
  • Provisional identity card: Yes
  • Children's passport: Yes

Comments / minimum remaining validity:

Travel documents must be valid for the entire duration of the stay.

Poland is not a party to the European Agreement on the Regulation of Passenger Traffic between the Member States of the Council of Europe of December 13, 1957, i.e. travel with an expired passport is not possible.

With Poland's accession to the Schengen area, checks on persons at the German-Polish border are no longer necessary, and occasional checks are possible. A travel document (passport or identity card) must always be carried with you when crossing the border.

Germans who are also Polish citizens must identify themselves in Poland with a Polish travel document in accordance with Polish law.

Minors

Minors traveling alone should carry a declaration of consent from their parents in Polish, stating that the minor may travel alone, such as the contact details of the custodial parents, the intended itinerary and any contact details of adult accompanying persons.

Import regulations

The import and export of goods is subject to the provisions of the European Union. The principle of no physical checks does not exclude random checks in the context of police surveillance of borders and police control of cross-border traffic. The import and export of 10,000 euros or more must be declared in the EU.

The export of objects (e.g. books, works of art, jewelry, furniture) from the period before 1945 is subject to special regulations. It is therefore recommended to check the export possibility before buying such an item that is to be taken to Germany.

When re-entering Germany, please note that the free amount for cigarettes is limited to 800 per person.

When entering from outside the EU (e.g. from the Kaliningrad region), the amount of duty-free goods per person is limited to 40 cigarettes and 1 liter of alcohol with more than 22% alcohol for personal consumption.

Entry by vehicle

A vehicle registered in Germany that is not only brought to Poland for vacation purposes must be registered with a Polish registration authority for a Polish registration number. The Polish office usually forwards the information about the registration in Poland to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority.

Before registering, the vehicle must be checked by the Polish TÜV. When registering, the vehicle registration / registration certificate Part II is usually withheld by the Polish authorities. A valid Polish liability insurance must be provided for each vehicle.

The loss (theft) or total loss of a vehicle can lead to a tax liability. Membership in an automobile club or insurance can be helpful for this.

Pets

An EU pet passport is required to travel to Poland with certain pets (dogs, cats, ferrets). He serves among other things. as proof that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies.

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture offers a sample ID as well as further information.

health

Current

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.

measles

In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health.In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.

  • As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.

Vaccination protection

No compulsory vaccinations are required to enter Poland.

  • Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the vaccination calendar of the Robert Koch Institute up to date.
  • As travel vaccinations, vaccinations against hepatitis A are recommended, depending on travel conditions and route also against hepatitis B, TBE and possibly also against rabies.
  • Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
  • The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.

Air pollution

In most of Poland's larger cities, the EU limit values ​​for particulate matter and other air pollutants are significantly exceeded during the winter months. This is mainly due to the burning of coal in private households and power plants, as well as to automobile exhaust fumes. Personal protective measures such as limited exposure to the open air or the wearing of fine particle masks can be helpful in protecting against health consequences.

Medical supplies

The level of care in Poland is satisfactory, and communication difficulties cannot be ruled out.
German citizens who are temporarily staying on the territory of Poland can, like all other EU citizens, take advantage of benefits under Polish law in the event of illness under European Community law. A European insurance card to be issued by the German health insurance company before the start of the trip is presented as proof of entitlement.
Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia offers information on this in German.

In addition to the general disclaimer, please note:

  • All information is intended for the information of medically trained. They are not a substitute for the consultation of a doctor.
  • The recommendations are tailored to direct entry from Germany to a travel destination, especially for longer stays on site. For shorter trips, entries from third countries and trips to other areas of the country, deviations may apply.
  • All information is always dependent on the individual circumstances of the traveler and may require medical advice.
  • In spite of the best possible efforts, the medical information is always just a consultation offer. They cannot cover all medical aspects, eliminate all doubts or always be completely up-to-date. You stay responsible for your healthy.

Country information about your travel destination

Here you will find the addresses of the responsible diplomatic missions and information on politics and bilateral relations with Germany.

More

Further information for your trip

The global threat of terrorist attacks and kidnappings remains unchanged.

Since September 2014, the terrorist organizations “Al Qaeda” and “Islamic State” (IS) have been threatening with attacks against various countries and their nationals. There were a number of attacks with firearms, explosives, kidnappings and hostage-taking.

Even if there are currently no specific indications of a threat to German interests abroad, it cannot be ruled out that German nationals or German institutions abroad will also become targets of acts of terrorist violence.

Places with a symbolic character come into question as possible targets. These include well-known sights, government and administrative buildings, transport infrastructure (especially aircraft, trains, ships, buses), economic and tourism centers, hotels, markets, religious meeting places and generally larger gatherings of people.

The level of terrorist threat differs from country to country. There is a particular risk of an attack in countries and regions in which attacks have already been carried out repeatedly or in which they can be carried out relatively easily due to a lack of effective security measures, or in which terrorists have the support of the local population.

More detailed information about the terrorist threat can be found in the country-specific travel and safety information. These are checked regularly and adjusted if necessary.

The risk of falling victim to an attack is still comparatively low compared to other risks that travel abroad entails, such as accidents, illness or ordinary crime. Nevertheless, travelers should be aware of the risk.

The Federal Foreign Office strongly recommends that all travelers behave in a safety-conscious and appropriate manner. Before and during a trip, travelers should carefully inform themselves about the conditions in their country of travel, behave appropriately, follow the local media and report suspicious incidents (e.g. unattended baggage in airports or train stations, suspicious behavior by people) to the local police or security authorities .

German citizens are recommended to register in the Foreign Office's "Elefand" crisis prevention list, regardless of their country or the length of their stay abroad:
Crisis preparedness list

Please clarify with your health insurer or health insurance company whether there is adequate health insurance coverage for your trip abroad, which also covers the costs of a rescue flight to Germany.

Without sufficient insurance cover, the costs necessary on site (e.g. treatment or hospital costs, flight home) are generally to be borne by the person concerned and can quickly use up all of your savings.

It is common in many countries that the costs invoiced by doctors or hospitals have to be settled or even advanced before discharge. It can also not be ruled out that the doctor / hospital will obtain a refusal to leave the country for the patient if the bill is not paid.