The process of moving your car and household goods to Germany is actually much easier than anything else you may need to prepare for before the move. This is especially true for those who choose to hire professional international movers for their assistance with the relocation. Depending on the services you choose to purchase, you may not have much responsibility in this matter. For instance full service moves mean that the movers will care for everything from the packing, to loading and unloading, pickup to delivery.
Although some people fear the cost of overseas full service moves or additional services such as full packing, in the end- it’s worth every penny. Any service you purchase through your mover is likely to be affordable and cost efficient. With them caring for the packing and transport of your goods, you can spend more time on the legalities and other facets of your international move.
Complying with Germany’s Import Policies and Gaining Import Approval
Before you can ship your belongings over to Germany, you must first abide by their import laws. Fortunately, this process isn’t all that hard and your movers will help provide you with guidance.
Items Restricted from Entering Germany
- Weapons and ammunition
- Drugs including some medical prescription drugs
- Pornographic materials
- Fireworks unless they’re in small quantity and meet the restrictions of the Federal Office for Material Searching and Testing
- Counterfeit products
- Media content declared as unconstitutional
- Any pets must meet strict regulations
- Food must be declared to Customs
Obtaining the Proper Approval
Custom authorities will require that the owner of these possessions has resided in their current country for at least 12 months if they wish to import. They must also fill out a Single Administrative Document (SAD).
All imported goods must also be accompanied by a customs declaration. This must be submitted in writing and copied. You will need a commercial invoice that states the following:
- Company and address of seller and buyer
- Place and date of issue
- Number, kind of packages
- Precise description of articles
- Volume or quantity in normal commercial units
- Invoice price (in invoice currency)
- Terms of delivery and payment
- In some cases, you may be asked to provide a certificate of origin
There are also requirements you must meet in order to obtain a customs declaration which include:
- That you have lived in your country of origin for at least 12 consecutive months.
- That you plan to take up official residence in Germany.
- That you have owned the imported items for at least six months.
- That you intend the goods for personal use only.
- That you wait at least one year before reselling them in Germany.
Meeting the above requirements may make it so you’re exempt from paying import duties and tariffs.
Importing a Vehicle
Importing a vehicle into Germany is much simpler than most other nations. In fact, you may even be exempt from paying taxes on it if you meet the same requirements as held for household goods’ tax exemptions. As for importing your car, you can do so without registering it or getting plates for the first 12 months you’re in the nation. After the first year, you’ll need to register the vehicle and provide the following documentation:
- passport or other identification
- proof of official address registration in Germany
- customs clearance papers
- export permit
- proof of ownership
- original vehicle registration papers
- certification from the German Federal Motor Vehicle Registry indicating the vehicle has not been registered in Germany before
- proof of insurance
- proof the vehicle has successfully completed the safety and roadworthiness inspection and emissions control test
Getting Your Stuff Shipped Over
Once the proper approvals are gained and everything is approved for import, you must decide how you’d like to have your stuff shipped over and what exactly you would like to bring. The less you have to ship over, the less your moving services and import taxes will be. Go through your home before you begin packing or having the movers pack to rid of anything you don’t need. Throw broken and useless items away while donating and selling off items you don’t want to bring yet are still in good condition.
Once you have sorted through your things, make sure you pack everything according to Germany’s labeling and packing regulations. Otherwise, they may not be able to enter. You must also decide how you’d like your items to be shipped through the mover. In most cases, enclosed shipping services are the best option. Enclosed shipping lets you put your vehicle and all of your contents inside of a large shipping container for the transport. This keeps everything of yours together during its travels.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.