We recommend using specialised shipping companies who will help guide you through the process. In general, this is what you need to know:

A car import from a non-EU country usually is subject to customs duty and import sales tax. The customs duty is 10% of the value of the car (defined as current value plus transport cost). The import sales tax is equal to the value-added tax, currently at 19%. Once paid, German customs will give you a payment proof (Zoll-Unbedenklichkeitserklärung) that you will need when registering the car.

If you meet certain criteria, the customs and import sales tax might be waived:

  • You intend to become a full-time German resident. This includes proof that you have given up your current foreign residence you are coming from (e.g. a house sale contract or a transfer letter from your employer) and proof that you have established residence here (e.g. your official registration with the local German authorities, called Meldebescheinigung).
  • You have been residing outside of Germany for at least 12 consecutive months
  • You have been the owner of the car and it has been registered in your name for at least 6 months. Proof includes an official car registration with a date and your name, a purchase agreement with a date, your insurance documents.

If your stay is only temporary and less than 12 months, you can drive your imported car with your existing license plates and registration. You will need to provide proof of insurance. In addition, your car might have to go through an inspection to check whether it passes German road and safety regulations. For a stay longer than 12 months you will need to register your car at the local car registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle).

In order to register the imported car/vehicle you need the following:

  • Passport or national ID card (driver’s license is not enough)
  • Proof of official address registration in Germany (Meldebescheinigung)
  • Customs clearance papers (Zoll-Unbedenklichkeitserklärung)
  • Proof of German car insurance (eVB Nummer)
  • Proof of ownership (e.g. purchase agreement)
  • Original vehicle registration papers
  • Current license plates (if car is currently registered)
  • Proof of inspection (TÜV / Hauptuntersuchung)
  • CoC papers (Certificate of Conformity) or proof of a technical inspection according to § 21 SVZO. For cars built in the EU the car manufacturer can usually provide the CoC papers, for non-EU built cars you will need to do a separate inspection. When booking an appointment for your general inspection (TÜV / Hauptuntersuchung), enquire about getting this additional inspection done at the same time.
  • German bank account for the automatic withdrawal of car taxes
  • Admission application - check the website of your local car registration office
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