Taxes & Duties When Shipping A Vehicle To Germany
Shipping A Car To Germany.
Typical Shipping Prices – How Much Does It Cost?
- The typical shipping costs for a car from the U.S. to Germany are $1,800 to $3,900, with much of the cost depending on which part of the U.S. you’re shipping from.
- Both container and RORO shipping are generally available to Germany within the price range mentioned above.
Cost & Time Examples For Shipping a Car to Germany
|San Jose, CA to (California port) to Bremerhaven||$200||$3,000||5+30|
|Denver, CO to (California port) to Bremerhaven||$775||$3,000||7+30|
|Boston, MA to (New York port) to Bremerhaven||$400||$2,100||5+12|
|Portland, OR to (California port) to Bremerhaven||$475||$3,000||6+30|
|Phoenix, AZ to (California port) to Bremerhaven||$550||$3,000||6+30|
|Detroit, MI to (New York port) to Bremerhaven||$575||$2,100||6+12|
|Chicago, IL to (New York port) to Bremerhaven||$675||$2,100||6+12|
|Los Angeles to (California port) to Bremerhaven||$350||$3,000||5+30|
|Memphis, TN to (New York port) to Bremerhaven||$800||$2,100||6+12|
|Miami, FL to (New York port) to Bremerhaven||$925||$2,100||7+12|
*Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle.
*Save the ground transport cost by delivering the vehicle to the nearest port.
*Allow an additional 10 days to process the documents.
*Prices are for 1 car in a dedicated 20ft container. This is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle internationally. Other items may be included in the container to help save you money when moving.
*Using the RoRo (roll on, roll off) method is less expensive and shipments can be completed in fewer days. Contact us now for a free RoRo quote.
It can be complicated to ship a vehicle internationally, but the import and export laws of Germany are more or less consistent with the United States, which makes the process a little easier than it would be from some other parts of the world. As a general rule, the duty on imported autos in Germany is 10% and there’s also a value added tax (VAT) of 20%. For motorcycles, the duty is usually between 6% and 8%. For more information about the value-added tax in Germany, this resource has a good explanation.
*Note that the value added percentages on vehicle imports can fluctuate slightly depending on a number of factors.
Germany has strict environmental standards, which can cause an unexpected expense for people that are having a car shipped to the country. There are also restrictive environmental zones in the country, which require a sticket if you’re going to operate a vehicle in the area.
If you’re becoming a permanent resident of Germany and forfeiting residence in the U.S., you may be able to import a vehicle without paying duties. This is contingent on being a new resident and having been outside of the country for 12 months consecutively.
Something that shouldn’t be overlooked when transporting a vehicle to Germany is that many of the roads are smaller and narrower than in the U.S., which can make it difficult to navigate with the larger, wider vehicles that are more common in the States.
Popular Germany Shipping Destinations:
A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-518-8708 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.
Required Documents For Shipping A Vehicle To Germany
The paperwork needed to ship a car to Germany is pretty standard as far as import and export laws for vehicles. Here’s what you’ll need to make sure everything goes smoothly when moving your car, truck or motorcycle to the country.
- Original title & registration.
- Export permit (from U.S.)
- Proof of insurance.
- Bill of lading.
- German driver's license.
- Proof of ownership.
- German registration (Anmeldebestatigung)
If you have questions about required forms or documents before shipping a car to Germany, your auto transport company should be able to explain the details and give you any assistance you might need along the way, including forms, documents, laws, duties, permits, licensing and taxation.
Germany Auto Transport Resources
U.S. Embassy In Germany - Information and resources for U.S. citizens in Germany, including citizenship, visas, security and general assistance with living in Germany for residents of the United States.
Getting Around In Germany - Learn the rules of the road for Germany, including right-of-way, licensing, legal and parking issues, traffic regulations and other resources for driving in the country.
Shipping Of Heavy Equipment & Oversized Cargo To Germany
Shipping heavy equipment or oversized cargo to Germany requires precision and a logistical aptitude that come with decades of overseas shipping. At A-1 Auto Transport, we have that experience to get your cargo to Germany and help you through all the permitting and regulatory processes along the way. Depending on what your shipping, there are going to be different procedures to get it there. Size, weight, and industry all play a part in the process and we are happy to have a wide array of successful transports in our history. Just in recent experience we have shipped:
- Pile drivers
- Large trucks and heavy vehicles
- Engineering equipment
- Agricultural equipment & machinery
- Hydraulic equipment
- Tractors, combines & other farm equipment
- Backhoes and excavators
- RVs and motorhomes
- Industrial equipment
There are several ways to ship your oversized cargo and/or heavy equipment to Germany. The following methods are the most popular, yet we are open to special cases and welcome a call concerning those.
- Lift On/Lift Off (LoLo) is a common form of transport for inoperable cargo like boats, crated equipment, or machinery. A bit more expensive than container and RoRo shipping due to the use of a crane and the precision involved.
- Roll On/Roll Off, also known as RoRo Shipping is the most inexpensive way to transport heavy equipment or oversized cargo overseas. Given that your cargo is wheeled and operable, it will be stored within the ship’s hull. This shipping method requires the use of a ship’s ramp and there are height restrictions depending on the vessel and hull size.
- Flat Rack shipping is a form of international transport that allows the most flexibility when it comes to your oversized cargo. Comes in variations of a flat rack, or a shipping container sans walls to allow your cargo to be attached to the corner points of the container frame. Your heavy cargo will be secured and then placed on the back of the ship. Since this type of shipping exposes your cargo to the elements you may want to consider having it shrink wrapped.
- Container shipping is what most people are familiar with as it’s easy to see ships stacked high with shipping containers. As far as oversized cargo is concerned, 40ft shipping containers may be too small for your purposes. This is the most expensive and secure form of shipping we have available. It will protect your cargo from the outdoor elements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top ports in Germany for shipping by sea freight?
- The Port of Hamburg is located on the Elbe River in Hamburg, Germany. It is the largest port in Germany by volume and is called Germany’s “Gateway to the World.”
- The Port of Bremen is Germany’s most important industrial center and is situated at the edge of the Weser River.
- The Port of Wilhelmshaven is the only deep-water port between the Ems and Weser river on the western embankment of the Jade delta. The port is located behind a dual-chamber sea lock, and it consists of two sections, the outer deep-water port, and the inner harbor.
- The Port of Duisburg-Ruhrort is located between the Rhine River and the Ruhr Channel. It is the chief inland shipping port in Germany and is regarded as the largest inland port in Europe.
- The Port of Rostock is the fourth-largest port in Germany. It is located in the northeastern part of the country at the mouth of the Warnow River on the Baltic Sea.
How long does it take to ship a car to Germany?
When shipping a car, especially overseas, you should expect the process to take anywhere from three to seven weeks, give or take.
Your overseas carrier will accommodate your shipment by finding your vehicle a spot on a ship that is making a trip to the German port that is closest to the location you will want the car. Your car will be exported from the United States and imported into Germany, which will require a fee.
Documents will need to be reviewed by both export and import parties, which may take additional time. Proper transport is not a quick task, and to ensure the highest level of care with your vehicle; you will need to plan ahead.
What duties and taxes are due when importing a vehicle into Germany?
All taxes and duties must be paid before German customs will release a vehicle. There are different levels of duties and taxes that may be due:
- United States Military Service Members – No taxes or duties apply to vehicle imports
- Temporary Imports – In most circumstances, you can use a vehicle with foreign plates without registering or taxing it in Germany if your entry meets the following criteria:
- You are visiting the country and do not plan to live there
- The vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country
- You only use the vehicle in Germany for up to six months
- A security deposit of 10% + 19% of the vehicle’s value plus shipping charges are collected – which is refundable when the car leaves the EU
- Moving Goods – Must have owned the vehicle for at least six months and lived outside of Germany for 12 months before moving, then the tax and duties are 0%
- Purchased by European Citizen - The vehicle is less than 30 years old. It will have a tax of 19% and a duty of 10%
- Purchased by European Citizen – The vehicle is more than 30 years old. It will have a tax of 7% and a duty of 0%
Does a car being imported into Germany require conversions?
The registration regulations in Germany are strict, probably some of the most strict throughout the EU. Import vehicles are required to undergo inspection and checked for any technical defects. During this inspection, it is also checked to see if it complies with Germany’s registration regulations. If the vehicle is not up to the required standards, it will need to be converted before being registered in Germany. There may be exceptions to these rules, but they are very limited.
What shipping methods are available when shipping to Germany?
There are several ways that we get your vehicle, oversized cargo, or heavy equipment to Germany. These are the more popular methods of shipping we offer (special scenarios may be accommodated):
- Lift On/Lift Off (LoLo): used for inoperable equipment or cargo, requires a crane and precision placement
- Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo): the most inexpensive form of shipping, the vehicle is driven or rolled onto the ship and unloaded in the same manner
- Container Shipping: most familiar method of shipping, containers are stacked onto the ships for transport and unloaded at the port – it is also the most expensive and most secure form of shipping
When should I expect delays in shipping?
Not all delays can be helped. Sometimes there are delays in shipping schedules that are beyond anyone’s control. Some of the scenarios that may result in delays include:
- A global pandemic – The COVID-19 pandemic is still causing delays into 2021 for some carriers due to the lack of equipment and space restrictions on many vessels. You can find out ahead of time if your shipping company is experiencing extreme delays at your port of choice and if there is a way to circumvent those delays.
- Extraordinary events – While this may seem like an excuse, the open sea is not always predictable. Shipping companies may run into factors including, but not limited to, weather, wars, piracy, fire, and other events described as “force majeure.” These also include natural catastrophes like cyclones and hurricanes.
- Schedule changes or traffic challenges – There are peak seasons when shipping, especially overseas. More people tend to ship during the summer months, making it almost impossible to predict how busy the ports and other areas will be. Shipments scheduled around holidays can also delay when they arrive.
- Issues with customs – Shipping internationally requires paperwork, documents, and even more paperwork. When you are missing paperwork or do not pass inspection, you may be faced with a delay until the problem is rectified.
- Port congestion/strikes – When too many containers are in a port, it leads to congestion. Whether it be due to peak season or extraordinary events, congestion can occur. When labor strikes occur, ports can be out of commission for weeks at a time. These strikes by workers can cause serious delays and even the inability to collect goods.
- Miscommunication – No one likes to be the one to mess up or miscommunicate directions on a shipment – but it happens. Sometimes it just happens, and it isn’t anyone’s fault.
What is a freight forwarder?
Freight forwarders are experts who are connected within the supply chain and concentrate on the logistics and physical transportation of cargo. They communicate with any entity involved in the exporting process that handles or is aware of any shipment moving via truck, boat, plane, or any combination thereof. Freight forwarders are also in charge of assembling and completing documentation and compliance filings.
What is a Bill of Lading?
A Bill of Lading (BOL) is a document used in auto shipping and other types of cargo transport. The BOL is a legal document that specifies what is being shipped from one location to another and by whom.
The BOL documents also outline the condition of the vehicle before it is turned over to the auto shipping company and again when it is returned to the owner at the time of delivery. The BOL serves as a contract between the trucker and the vehicle owner, including the terms of the agreement. After all is said and done, the BOL also acts as the receipt for the transaction.
What documents are required to ship a car overseas?
Different documents may be required when shipping your car overseas. As your shipping company and representative, we will make sure you are informed ahead of time what documents you will need when shipping your car to Germany. Some of these documents include:
- Whether your car is owned outright or financed, the original title and registration (or equivalent) must be present with the car when it is shipped. A notarized letter from the lien holder will also suffice if the original title is held until paid in full.
- Proof that the car is insured must also accompany the car. If it is not insured, it cannot be shipped, and the insurance cannot be expired either.
- Photo ID of the owner (or legal representative) must be presented – can be done as an unexpired driver’s license, state ID, or passport.
- If someone is acting on behalf of the owner of the vehicle, there must be a notarized letter indicating that they have the permission or power of attorney documentation. The VIN must be present on the paperwork indicating the authorization to transport the vehicle.
- A bill of sale showing the price of the vehicle or a notarized copy of the bill of sale must be present in international shipments.
- The Bill of Lading is required between the customer and the shipping company to ensure that the vehicle being shipped is in the same condition as documented before the shipment began.
- Documents that prove that state sales tax was paid when the vehicle was purchased.
- Payment for the import duty or taxes must be made before it can be brought across the border of any country.
Many of the documents required in vehicle transport help to ensure that the vehicle is not stolen and that it is legal for import/export to take place.
What happens if the required documents are not present at the time of shipment/border crossing?
If the required documents are not present when you ship a vehicle, it is possible that your vehicle could be held by customs at the border or rejected altogether. While it is possible to try and ship your vehicle overseas without a shipping agent or customs broker, we recommend having one so that you know ahead of time that you are compliant with all of the country and port requirements.
What is a customs broker, and what do they do?
A customs broker works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is a group of empowered individuals, partnerships, associations, or corporations that are licensed and regulated by the CBP. A customs broker assists importers and exporters to ensure they meet the Federal requirements that govern all imports and exports.
Customs brokers also submit all the necessary information and payments to the CBP on behalf of their clients and charge fees for the services that they provide. Brokers have to have expertise in:
- Entry procedures
- Admissibility requirements
- Rates of duty and any applicable taxes and fees for imported merchandise
Applicants who want to be a customs broker must be U.S. citizens at least 21 years of age, cannot be current Federal Government employees, and must be of good moral character. Those who are eligible must do the following to become brokers:
- Pass the Customs Broker License Examination
- Submit the broker license application and applicable fees
- Have your application approved by CBP
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