Moving to Germany - Customs Information


Import of Household Effects (including cars) when Relocating to the Federal Republic of Germany

When moving to the Federal Republic of Germany you may import your household goods free of duties and border taxes if you meet the following requirements:

You are required to prove:

1. that you have actually given up your residence abroad (e.g. by means of documents showing the termination of your lease/employment, sale of your residential home or a statement by your employer that you have been transferred to Germany);

2. that you are establishing a new residence in Germany (e.g. lease agreement, correspondence with your employer in Germany, German police registration receipt);

3. that you have been residing outside Germany for at least 12 consecutive months (this can be waived if the reasons for your earlier return are beyond your control).

Exemption from custom duties is granted only for those goods you have been using abroad, personally or professionally, for at least 6 months and which you will continue using in Germany for another 12 months. Food and similar perishable items are restricted to quantities normally stored at home; however liquor and tobacco items are not permitted duty-free.

Motor Vehicles

The duty-free import of a motor vehicle is permitted only if it has been registered in your name as its sole owner and personally used by yourself at your previous residence for at least 6 months before moving (for proof show registration certificate issued by your Department of Motor Vehicles).

Please note that you might be required to convert your vehicle to German standards.

For information on procedures and conversions please contact the nearest TUV location (Technical Inspection Organization) of your future domicile in Germany:

TUV locations

All removal goods should be imported around the time of your own arrival and registered with the German customs authorities within 12 months after establishing residence in Germany. Should this prove impossible, you are requested to submit proof that the goods could not be imported at that time, in which case the entry must be effected as soon as the cause for this delay has been removed but no later than 3 years after your actual move. Customs regulations regarding a traveler's customary personal effects are not affected by the above listed rules. Please note that there are special regulations regarding the importation of some items like guns, rifles, ammunition, machinery for the production of such articles, pets, plants, etc.

Details and the necessary customs forms may be obtained through your shipping company. It is recommended that you choose a moving company experienced in shipping to Germany.

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