Travel Consideration: Germany

Contributed By RealAdventures

Germany is a stable democracy with a modern economy. Tourist facilities throughout the country are highly developed. In many places, especially in larger towns and cities, people can communicate in English.

A passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist/business stays up to 90 days. 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 1-202-298-4000, or the German Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco; and on the Internet at Inquiries from outside the United States may be made at the nearest German embassy or consulate.

Overall, the security risk to travelers in Germany is low; however, demonstrations occasionally do turn violent and should thus be avoided. Hooligans, most often young "skinheads" who have been drinking, 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 to be "foreign."

Violent crime is rare in Germany, but it can occur, especially in larger cities or high risk areas such as train stations. However, most incidents of street crime are not confrontational, consisting mainly of theft of unattended items or pickpocketing. There have been a few reports of aggravated assault against U.S. citizens in higher-risk areas, so caution is appropriate. American travelers are advised to take the same precautions against becoming victims of crime as they would in any American city.

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 credit cards.

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 rate of speed permitted on the German autobahn, the weather and unfamiliar road markings (especially with respect to right-of-way and speed limits) can pose significant hazards to American drivers. Driver error is a leading cause of accidents involving American motorists in Germany. 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 telephone (212) 661-7200; fax: (212) 661-7174 or via the Internet at

For additional information about road safety, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page road safety overseas feature at

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, D.C. 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, or send an e-mail to, or visit for details.

Americans living in or visiting 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 Individuals planning extended stays in Germany are encouraged to register in person at their local consular section.

U.S. Embassy 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; and

Munich: Koeniginstrasse 5, Tel: (49)(89) 288-8722; Fax: (49)(89) 280-9998.

The Consulate in Leipzig offers only emergency services to U.S. citizens.

When calling another city from within Germany, please dial a zero before the city code (for example, when calling Berlin from Munich, the city code for Berlin is 030).

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 U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at 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 telephone (618) 229-4801.

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