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Travel

What do I have to consider when travelling on business?

On March 17th the German Foreign Office issued a worldwide travel warning for unnecessary tourist travel abroad. As of June 15th, 2020, the travel warning has been lifted for most member states of the European Union, for Schengen-associated states and for the United Kingdom and will be replaced by individual travel advice. For all other countries, the travel warning will continue to apply until August 31th, 2020.
You will find up-to-date information on the website of the Federal Foreign Office (german language).

At the University of Siegen these travel warnings and travel advice apply to business trips. This means that business trips may be approved and booked again until further notice if the destination is

  • in the inland,
  • a member states of the European Union without a travel warning,
  • a Schengen associated countrie without a travel warning, or
  • the United Kingdom

In addition, the travel must be necessary for mandatory business reasons and it must be possible to comply with the distance and hygiene regulations. For these business trips, the general business trip approvals are also valid again, and bookings (for example, hotels, flights) can be made for corresponding business trips again.

Prior to planning or commencing business trips, travelers should inform themselves carefully, as restrictions (e.g. quarantine on entry or return) may still apply. It is the responsibility of the traveling person to check this.

For trips to other countries, all business trips already booked must be cancelled by August 31th.

Update 07-02-2020 9 am

Old Version

On March 17th the German Foreign Office (german language) issued a worldwide travel warning for unnecessary tourist travel abroad. As of 15 June 2020, the travel warning for the member states of the European Union, for Schengen-associated states and for the United Kingdom has been lifted and replaced by individual travel advice. For all other countries, the travel warning will continue to apply until August 31th, 2020. At the University of Siegen, this means that business trips may be approved and booked again until further notice if they are domestic, European Union, Schengen-associated states or the United Kingdom, which are required for compulsory business reasons and for which the distance and hygiene regulations can be observed. For these business trips, the general business trip approvals are also valid again, and bookings (e.g. hotels, flights) can be made again for corresponding business trips. Travelers should inform themselves well before planning or starting business trips, since restrictions (such as quarantine on entry or return) may still apply.

For trips to other countries, all business trips already booked must be cancelled by August 31th.

What are the travel restrictions within Germany?

Contact restrictions apply almost throughout Germany. Tourist travel within Germany is again permitted, depending on country-specific regulations. In North Rhine-Westphalia, hotels and guesthouses have again been allowed to offer overnight stays for persons resident in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom since May 30th. The federal government has compiled an overview of the regulations in the federal states (german language).

Update 06-22-2020 4 pm

What restrictions apply to travel abroad?

On June 10th, the Federal Foreign Office extended the worldwide travel warning for non-essential tourist travel abroad until August 31th, 2020 for the time being. Exceptions to this rule are:

  • The Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden),
  • Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland),
  • the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City State.

Individual travel advice has been valid here since June 15th.

Attention:

  • Individual countries may continue to restrict entry or provide for quarantine on entry. Travellers should therefore inform themselves accordingly before departure and observe the travel and safety instructions (german language) for the respective country.
  • The travel warning is still in force for Luxembourg. Finland, Norway and Sweden. Please also note the instructions for some areas in Spain.
  • Travel to Great Britain, Ireland and Malta is not recommended.

Update 16-07-2020 8.30 am

Old Version

On 10 June, the Federal Foreign Office (german language) extended the worldwide travel warning for non-essential tourist travel abroad until 31 August 2020 for the time being. Exceptions are the member states of the European Union, Schengen-associated states and the United Kingdom. Individual travel warnings have been in effect here since 15 June. The countries can decide on entry bans themselves.

There are still restrictions on international air and travel in some countries. Worldwide, states have imposed entry restrictions and restricted public life. The risk that travellers will not be able to make their return journey due to the increasing restrictions is currently high in many destinations.

You can find up-to-date information on this issue from IATA or from the Federal Foreign Office (german language).

What do returnees from abroad have to consider?

According to the Corona Travelling Regulation of the state of NRW (german language), persons who (re-)enter from risk countries must undergo a 14-day quarantine. They are therefore not allowed to enter the campus for this time. This applies equally to employees, students and guests of the University of Siegen and is independent of nationality and place of origin. Exceptions are made for persons who have a medical certificate confirming that there is no evidence of corona infection. The quarantine obligation does not apply to persons who enter the country to take or prepare for training- or study-related examinations. However, these persons must immediately contact the health authority responsible for them and inform them of their stay in a risk area.

The list of risk countries is published on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (german language) and is updated regularly.

Employees affected should contact the occupational health and safety department. The International Student Affairs department is responsible for communication with international students.

Update 04-08-2020 3 pm

Are visits by international guests possible?

Visits by guests and foreign delegations from risk areas must be cancelled.

Are travel expenses reimbursed for trips not taken?

For trips that have been or had to be cancelled in connection with coronavirus, for example because the reason for the trip has ceased to exist due to the cancellation of a conference or similar event, the normal rules for reimbursement of expenses for trips not taken apply. You can find them here.

How do I behave if I have been in a risk area?

University employees (technical, administrative and scientific staff) who have been in at least one of the risk areas listed by the Robert Koch Institute during the past 14 days for business or private purposes are not allowed to enter the university campus in the two weeks after their return. This is to minimize the risk of infection.

In case of symptoms, a doctor must be contacted immediately (please contact the doctor's practice by telephone beforehand). Even if there are no symptoms of illness, the waiting period of two weeks must be observed. Employees of the university will not be disadvantaged by this. Even if it may not be possible to work from home during this period, the entitlement to full remuneration generally remains.

Students, third parties (e.g. external companies) and guests of the University who have stayed in the risk areas listed by the Robert Koch Institute during the past 14 days for study or private purposes are also requested not to enter the University campus during the two weeks after their return. Teachers are asked to be accommodating towards affected students. Solutions will be found for affected students to avoid disadvantages (e.g. for scheduled examinations).

Further information can be found on the service portal Travel (only available on the Intranet)

Should business trips/excursions to RKI risk areas also be cancelled as a precautionary measure or should
    planning therof not be pursued further, even if they will take place in a few months,
    e.g. from July onwards?

The university leadership strongly advises against business trips, excursions, etc. to risk areas and to particularly affected areas.

Currently, careful consideration, taking into account the risk assessment, is necessary to determine whether a trip should be planned further. The decision on whether or not to continue planning is up to those responsible. All travelers should be fully informed. Particular attention should also be paid to taking out international health insurance, including repatriation if necessary. The possibility of (free) cancellations, with full reimbursement if possible, should be considered as well, because the financial risk for trips or accommodation now booked into the affected area would need to be borne by the travelers. (Other regulations apply, if you have already made commitments before the area was classified as a risk area). In the case of travel cancellation insurance, it would also be necessary to verify whether this would cover engagement in RKI risk areas.