Importing your vehicle and household goods from overseas to Germany

Guide to importing your car (and other goods) from overseas to Germany

Vehicule Import Germany

If you’ve been living in Germany for a little while and you’re ready to make your move permanent and import your vehicle and household goods from overseas to Germany – or you’re preparing for an overseas move – you may be wondering what this process looks like.

In this guide, we will take a look at the basics about importing your vehicle and household goods to Germany from overseas. From taxes and VAT to required documentation and more, you’ll get all the details you need.

Importing Household Goods Into Germany

If you are a non-German citizen or a German citizen who has resided abroad for one year or more, you can bring your household goods into Germany duty-free.

You must have owned your household goods for at least 6 months before they are sent to Germany. You will need an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) to use while working with European Union customs. If you are not established in the EU, you must obtain this number from German authorities.

In addition, all of your household goods and/or vehicles are subject to a Security Filing. German customs will provide your Destination Agent and the Inland Customs Authority with an “MRN number” which may be used to arrange a security inspection of your goods.

There are some items which are dutiable, and must be taxed but are allowed in limited quantities:

    • Tobacco products, up to 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g tobacco
    • 1 liter of spirits over 22% alcohol by volume, 2 liters of fortified wine, sparkling wine or still wine
    • Perfume (50g) or Eau de toilette (250ml)

Some items may not be imported into Germany for any reason:

    • Explosives, ammunition and other such controlled items
    • Drugs and psychotropic substances
    • Pornographic articles, video, publications, software etc.
    • Medicines
    • Radioactive materials of any kind
    • Meat and dried plants
    • Items of “historical value”

For more information, you can consult the German customs website here.

Required Documentation For Household Goods In Germany 

To qualify to bring in your household goods duty-free, there are a few requirements. You need to show proof that you have terminated your residence in another country (such as a sale of your home or termination of lease agreement, or a letter from an employer showing your transfer to Germany).

You will also need to prove you have been living outside of Germany for at least 12 months, and to provide proof of establishing a new residence in Germany, such as a lease agreement as well as the so-called “Anmeldebestätigung” (official proof of registration). More details about the residence registration process here.

You’ll need some documents, too, such as:

    • A valid passport and visa for German entry
    • Your Air Waybill (AWB) or Bill of Lading (B/L)
    • A full packing list of items written either in German or English
    • Customs Registration Form 0350 (“Customs declaration of personal property”)
    • A letter of employment
    • A signed letter/customs declaration regarding your shipment

Importing Your Vehicle Into Germany

If you want to bring a vehicle into Germany, you are allowed to do so duty-free, providing that you meet a few basic requirements.

Your motor vehicle must be registered in your name as the sole owner. It must have been personally used by you at your previous residence for at least 6 months before moving. This can be proven with a registration certificate from your local Department of Motor Vehicles or other such office.

You may be required to convert your vehicle to meet German standards before it’s roadworthy, depending on your country of origin. Your vehicle must also pass a test from the Technical Inspection Organization of your future place of residence in Germany before it can be registered.

In addition, you will pay your German Road Tax in advance for 1 year at the port of entry. This amount will be credited to you when you register your vehicle.

Required Documentation For Vehicles In Germany 

To import your vehicle to Germany, you will need:

    • A copy of your passport (picture page)
    • Residence Registration Confirmation (Anmeldung)
    • A copy of your certificate of title and registration
    • Proof of ownership such as a bill of sale or commercial invoice (only required for vehicles in possession for less than 6 months)
    • Proof of insurance from origin country (ask your insurance company)
    • Third party liability insurance (can be obtained here for only € 4.99/month)

For more information and to learn about other applicable requirements and restrictions, we recommend that you visit the Germany Customs website here.

Tips For Bringing Your Household Goods And Vehicle To Germany 

Ready to get started and bring your household goods to Germany? Here are a few tips you should follow to make the process easier on yourself.

    • Double-check for restricted items – Bringing restricted items into Germany can put you in a lot of legal trouble, and may prevent you from getting your household goods in a timely manner. Make sure you do not bring any restricted items like firearms, explosives, explicit items, and so on. Double-check with German customs if you’re not sure about a particular item.

Restricted Items

    • Pare down your possessions – The less you bring to Germany, the better. A smaller shipment of household items will cost less when you hire an international moving company to move you to Germany, and it will also take less time to process your stuff once your goods arrive. Bring only valuables, and don’t bring anything that can be easily replaced once you move to Germany.

Small shipment

    • Don’t bring a car that you’ve owned for less than 6 months – If you have not owned your car for at least 6 months, you’ll pay taxes of 12% of CIF (Cost, Freight and Insurance) + VAT of 16% of CIF including the duty. This can add up to thousands of dollars. If you have your car for less than six months, you may want to sell it and purchase a new car in Germany – this will often be cheaper.

New car

    • Plan ahead as much as possible – A minimum of 3-6 months of planning before your move is recommended. This will give you more time to pack up your stuff, fill out the appropriate paperwork, work out your residence permits, find a home or apartment to rent (search here), and more.

Plan Ahead.gif

Know What To Expect When Bringing Your Household Goods And Vehicle To Germany 

As long as you meet the stated requirements, you can bring your stuff to Germany free of duties and taxes. So take another look at the information above to start planning your move – and remember to contact German customs (Zollamt) directly if you have any other questions.

Thanks to Jason Mueller from A-1 Auto Transport for this article about Importing your vehicle and household goods from overseas to Germany. 


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