When you move to Frankfurt, Germany you will quickly realize that having your own vehicle to drive through the city can be very important. Taxis and car rentals can become quite a strain financially after just a short time of having to utilize those services. Having your own car not only saves you money, but it makes travel much easier as well as pleasurable. There is nothing better than driving through Frankfurt looking at the amazing skyscrapers and cathedrals and flying down the autobahn when you’re the one in control of where you go. You’ll need to hire an international auto transport company to get your car from the United States to Frankfurt, Germany. You will need to produce documents as well as fill out mandatory paperwork for both the shipping company as well as German Customs officials. German automobile specifications vary a little from American automobile specifications, so you will most likely need to make a few alterations to your vehicle’s headlights, tires, emissions, and brakes. You will also need to make sure there is no rust on the vehicle prior to shipping. Your agent at the auto transport company will be able to give you details on all that you need to know to prepare your car for inspection once it reaches Frankfurt. You can also take a look at this article from the Federal Maritime Commission that has some great information on shipping overseas.
Regulations on Importing a Vehicle to Frankfurt
As with all States and Countries, you will find there are specific Motor Vehicle Regulations anywhere that you travel. When you want to import your vehicle to Frankfurt you will need to ensure that you follow their import requirements in order to clear customs in Germany and be able to legally drive your vehicle while in Frankfurt. Germany has regulations concerning emissions of vehicles and your car must not emit more than 3.5% carbon dioxide from the exhaust system. You will need to make sure the emissions controls, as well as other features on your vehicle, are up to par with German regulations for vehicles. You can contact the German Missions office in Washington, DC and they can give you a complete list of vehicle modification requirements. Your international shipping agent will also be able to give you the details on that information. You will need to pay a 10% import duty as well as a 15% value added tax (VAT) when your vehicle is going through customs checks when it arrives in Germany. The tax is based on the total vehicle value as assessed by the agent performing the check for clearance. You can have these fees waived if you can verify the following to customs:
- You plan to reside in Frankfurt as a resident
- The vehicle has been owned by you for at least 6 months prior to entering Frankfurt
- Your name is on the Vehicle Registration
- You have lived outside of the EU for at least 12 months prior to import
- You agree to sell the vehicle in Germany or export it back to the U.S. if you leave the country
You will also need to provide Customs with the following documents:
- Driver’s License from your home country (U.S.)
- Passport and Visa showing you will be in the country for at least one year
- Original Vehicle Title
- Proof of Third Party Insurance that is valid in Frankfurt
Once your vehicle is cleared through customs you will be able to drive for up to 12 months on your current valid license plates and the United States Driver’s License if you will be in the country for one year or less. If you will be in Frankfurt for longer than one year, you will have up to six months to register your vehicle, have a thorough technical inspection and transfer your Driver’s License to a German License.
How to Ship a Vehicle to Frankfurt
When you are ready to ship your vehicle internationally to Frankfurt, Germany, your shipping agent will fully explain the methods of shipping available as well as recommend the one that will be best suited for your vehicle and personal items if you need to ship other items with your vehicle. The total cost of shipping will depend upon the type of shipping you will use, the weight and size of your vehicle, pick-up and delivery and other fees that the agent will go over with you. These are the ways you can ship a vehicle internationally:
Ro-Ro Shipping- Also known as Roll-On Roll-Off Shipping, Ro-Ro is the preferred method of shipping a vehicle internationally and has been widely used for many years. Your vehicle will need to be emptied of any personal content and will be driven aboard the cargo ship, secured for the journey, and driven off when it reaches Frankfurt, Germany.
Cargo (Container) Shipping- When using a container you will be able to ship personal items inside of your car as well as inside of the container. This is a wonderful way to ship when you need to completely relocate your household and personal content to Frankfurt. Containers are available in 20 foot and 40-foot sizes and can be used to ship virtually anything you need in your home.
Air Cargo- The fastest way to get your vehicle to Frankfurt will be with shipping by air. Your vehicle is loaded onto a cargo plane and then flown overseas to Frankfurt in the quickest possible time. Air shipping is great for those who may have classic or luxury vehicles and want them to arrive in a fast amount of time.
Your shipping agent will guide you through each step of the international shipping process and will be your ultimate resource for valuable information pertaining to all aspects of importing your vehicle to Frankfurt, Germany.
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.