Country Guide: Germany

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

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Updated: July 02, 2018

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of visa
  • Bill of lading (BL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Packing list in German or English
  • Customs declaration / signed letter by owner of the goods
  • Customs registration form 0350
  • Letter of employment or botschaftsbescheinigung (returning citizens)
  • Anmeldebestaetigung (registration)
  • Diplomatic entry form 0349 (diplomats)
  • Certificate from the diplomatic organization in Germany (diplomats)


Specific Information

  • Effective processing of the Customs declaration can only commence once the goods are in the European Union and have been presented at the Customs office.
    • Products imported into the European Customs Union are subject to duties only when and where the product first enters the European Union (e.g., Germany).
  • The Customs declaration should be provided by the local agent in Germany. 
  • A letter signed by the owner of the goods certifying that the following taxable high value goods have not been included in the shipment:
    • Firearms
    • Alcohol
    • Tobacco
    • Cigarettes
    • Tea
    • Coffee
  • Customs registration form 0350 stating goods will not be sold for 12 months.
  • Letter of employment must state the term of employment will be for a minimum of 12 months and that the owner of the goods lived abroad for at least 12 months (must be issued by the employer of the client)
  • Anmeldebestaetigung can be obtained from the appropriate German town hall confirming registration of new residency in Germany (not older than 3 months).
    • Effective 1st November, 2015, the owner of the goods is required to obtain a confirmation letter, called "Wohngeberbescheinigung" from their future landlord in order to get a registration, "Anmeldebestaetigung".
    • The confirmation letter, "Wohngeberbescheinigung" must confirm that the owner of the goods will live at the address mentioned. 
  • Shipment must arrive in Germany within 12 months after registration in Germany. 
  • Botschaftsbescheinigung from the German Embassy or Consulate at origin. 
    • This document serves to confirm the period of time abroad (returning citizens). 
  • Proof of registration may not be older than 3 months. 
  • All goods for duty-free importation, such as household goods and personal effects must have been in the owner of the goods' possession for at least 6 months in the origin country. 
  • Duty-free entry for foreign diplomats is permitted if a bilateral agreement exists with the origin country. 


Motor Vehicles

Documents Required 

  • Proof of ownership
  • Car documents
  • Original bill of lading
  • Anmeldebestatigung
  • Insurance card from country of origin
  • Third-party liability insurance initiated at Customs clearance
  • Registration and copy of title from origin country
    • The registration must show a minimum use of the last 6 months prior to shipping / prior to the first registration of the client in Germany


Specific Information

  • Owner of the goods’ town hall registration in Germany (Anmeldebestatigung).
  • Cars and motorcycles must be in the owner of the goods’ possession and must have been used for at least 6 months (as evidenced by a proper registration) at origin prior to shipment; adequate confirmation will be given by simple declaration as part of the Customs declaration.
  • Approval for possession and use requires title and registration documents showing customers name and identified vehicle for import.
  • Cars must be inspected before licensing, and must comply with German technical and environmental regulations and may require modifications.
  • Customs clearance requires knowledge of all technical details of the car.
    • Tax and duties must be paid in advance to the Customs office. 


Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate in German or translated by a licensed veterinarian 

Specific Information

  • The veterinary health certificate is valid ten days from the date in which it was issued (20 days for pets coming from non-European countries).
    • It must describe the animal and state that the pet is free from rabies and other contagious diseases.
  • Animals must be fitted with an identification microchip.
  • The import of cats and dogs under 3 months old requires the purchase of an import permit from the state authority of the future residence in the destination country as well as the authority of the port of entry (POE).

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Weapons (applicable license is required)
  • Live plants (special import license is required)
  • Tobacco and cigarettes (subject to duties and taxes)
  • Alcohol does not qualify as household effets and is always subject to duties and taxes. The shipper is required to sign a customs declaration to confirm that the shipment does not contain alcoholic beverages.
    • Customs clearance of alcohol is an additional customs clearance and not included in standard destination rates
    • Alcohol is subject to duties as per a EU customs code which is complicated. Alcohol is also subject to taxes based on
      • duties as per tariff
      • taxes of 19% based on duties plus proportionate costs of transport (door-to-door)

Prohibited Items

  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Explosives
  • Ammunition
  • Dried plants
  • Pornographic materials
  • Certain types of meat
  • Radioactive materials
  • Any protected animal or species (ivory, snakeskin, leopard fur, etc.)
  • Items of historical significance (pre-Columbian items, etc.)

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.



Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook

Wikipedia Entry for Germany

IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.