Do I need a negative COVID test?

The government has advised people to work from home if they can in order to keep coronavirus infections to a minimum. Students and schoolchildren have been advised to follow classes online (distance learning). This advice also extends to cross-border workers and cross-border students.

If working or studying from home is not possible in cross-border situations

Cross-border workers and students/schoolchildren who cannot work or study from home are still permitted to commute across the border for their work or study, but only if they do not have any coronavirus symptoms. According to the advice issued on 7 January 2021, they are not usually required to have a negative COVID-19 test.

If cross-border workers or students/schoolchildren are checked at the border, they will have to be able to show that travel to the other country is necessary. They can do this with:

  • proof of their home address; for example, a copy of a rental contract or registration with the municipal population register.
  • proof that they are working for an employer or client; for example, a copy of an employment contract or a contract with a client.
  • a statement from their school or educational institution to show that they are required to do practical training or sit an examination, or that they are receiving special assistance at school

Select the situation that applies to you and find out what the rules are

As of 00.01 on 29 December 2020, anyone travelling to the Netherlands by air, sea, train or coach from a high-risk area within the European Union (EU) is required to show a negative test on arrival. So far, this requirement does not extend to those travelling to the Netherlands by car. 

The following persons are not required to show proof of a negative test:

  • travellers under the age of 13 
  • commuters, students and schoolchildren who cross the border regularly for their work or education 
  • persons working in goods transport and other transport workers, such as lorry drivers

Since 25 December 2020, people aged 12 or over who are not resident in Belgium are required to show a negative test taken no more than 72 hours earlier. 

Travellers are not required to show proof of a negative test if:

  • they are not commercial air or sea passengers, and
  • they spent no more than 48 hours outside the country, and 
  • they will be staying in Belgium for no more than 48 hours

If you travel to Belgium by car and you will be leaving the country again within 48 hours, you are not required to have a negative test.

Anyone travelling to the Netherlands by air, sea, train or coach from a high-risk area within the European Union (EU) or the Schengen zone is required to show a negative COVID-19 test. The test must have been carried out no more than 72 hours before arrival. Digital tests are accepted. 

Travellers without a negative COVID-19 test will not be allowed to enter the Netherlands.

The following persons are not required to show proof of a negative test:

  • travellers under the age of 13 
  • commuters, students and schoolchildren who cross the border regularly for their work or education 
  • persons working in goods transport and other transport workers, such as lorry drivers
  • car travellers

Many of the German Federal States have their own requirements relating to registration, testing and quarantining.

If you travel to Germany from the Netherlands, you will have to register in Germany before you arrive. Fill in the relevant registration form, print it out, and take it with you on your journey. You can find all the information you need about registration requirements and exceptions on the website of the German Health Ministry.

As from 11 January 2021, you will have to show a negative COVID-19 test on arrival in many of the German Federal States. Make sure you carry the test result with you from the Netherlands, either on paper or digitally. The result must be from a PCR test or a rapid antigen test, and no older than 48 hours on arrival in Germany.

Information for regular cross-border travellers 

If you travel back and forth regularly between the Netherlands and the States of North Rhine-Westphalia or Lower Saxony, the rules may well be different for you.

For more information, go to the Dutch government website at government.nl. For information on the rules for travelling to the German Federal States, go to the website of the States of Lower Saxony or North-Rhine Westphalia.

If you have any questions

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