The best guide: How to import a vehicle to Germany from day 1.

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All the information you need to import a vehicle to Germany.

If you are becoming a German resident, you can probably bring your vehicle without paying import turnover tax and import duties (if some conditions are met).
Normally, vehicles from outside the EU that are imported to Germany are subject to import duties and VAT. However, importing a vehicle to Germany from outside the EU as part of personal effects may mean that it is exempt from customs duties and VAT.
In order for this to be effective, the owner:

  • Must have lived outside the EU for at least the previous 12 months.
  • Must have bought the vehicle outside the EU and have driven it for at least six months prior to arrival.
  • Must be registered as a resident in Germany and must subsequently keep the vehicle for personal use for a minimum of twelve months following import.

Importing a vehicle to Germany from a non-EU country:

If your stay in Germany is only temporary, you can drive your imported motor vehicle for a period of up to 6 months with your home license plates and registration. A registration document with a German translation is required. And you’ll have to show proof of insurance. Also, the vehicle may have to undergo a technical inspection to prove its road worthiness. You should ask the shipping company about this.

When you first bring the vehicle to Germany, you can drive it for a period of up to six months with your home license plates and registration. The registration document needs to be translated to German and you will have to show proof of insurance.
The vehicle may also be required to undergo a technical inspection to prove that it is roadworthy.

car import costs germany

If you are going to stay longer than six months, then, the vehicle must be registered at the local motor vehicle registration office, regardless if it was imported duty free or not.
It needs to pass a technical inspection to prove it is roadworthy and safe, as well as an emissions control test.
This could mean that some cars (mostly North American vehicles) may need to be modified to meet German standards (things like headlights, emissions, breaks, rust and tires).

Click here for more information in English on importing a car from outside the EU.

Car import costs germany.

“In today’s global market, importing cars from countries like Germany has become increasingly popular due to their reputation for high-quality engineering and design. However, potential buyers should be keenly aware of the various factors influencing the total cost of importing a vehicle from Germany. These costs are not limited to the purchase price of the car itself but also include shipping fees, import tariffs, taxes, and compliance modifications required to meet local regulations. Understanding these expenses is crucial for those considering such an import, as it can significantly impact the overall financial feasibility of the acquisition. Moreover, fluctuations in currency exchange rates can further complicate the budgeting process, making it essential for buyers to stay informed and seek professional guidance when navigating the complexities of car import costs from Germany.

FranceNew/UsedEuro 60%*20%Based on CO2 emissions, car age, and engine powerBased on CO2 emissions€500 – €1000€100 – €300
ItalyNew/UsedEuro 60%*22%Based on engine size, CO2 emissions, and age of the vehicleApplied to high-emission vehicles€500 – €1000€100 – €400
SpainNew/UsedEuro 60%*21%Scaled by CO2 emissions; reductions for hybrid/electric vehiclesHigher for cars exceeding certain CO2 emission thresholds€700 – €1200€200 – €500
NetherlandsNew/UsedEuro 60%*21%BPM tax based on CO2 emissions and car valueNo specific environmental tax but included in BPM€400 – €900€150 – €350
PolandNew/UsedEuro 60%*23%Variable depending on vehicle type and environmental characteristicsNo specific tax, but emission standards are considered€600 – €1100€100 – €300
BelgiumNew/UsedEuro 60%*21%Calculated based on engine power, age, and emissionsNo specific tax, but emission standards affect the tax€400 – €900€100 – €300

*Note: Import duty is generally 0% for cars imported within the EU.

What you need to register an imported car:
  • Passport or another identification
  • Proof of an 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
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof the vehicle has successfully completed the safety, road worthiness inspection and also the emissions control test.

All the details and customs forms can be obtained through your shipping company. It is recommended that you choose a shipping company experienced in shipping to Germany.

If you must pay duty and taxes on the vehicle, the amount is 10% import duty and 19% import turnover tax (depends on the vehicle’s value)
This is usually based on a dealer’s invoice, but there is also a “blue book” that has the current value of each vehicle by model and year (vintage cars and collector’s cars require only a 7% duty).

Importing a car or vehicle within the EU:

If you want to import a vehicle to Germany from another country part of the EU, is somewhat easier than importing it from a non-EU country. But you need to be aware of some regulations.

You’ll probably have to pay the 19% German VAT within days of purchasing the car (if you paid for it on the country of purchase already, you should be able to get a reimbursement once you registered the car in Germany).
A vehicle is considered new if it is less than six months old, or it has been driven less than 6,000 kilometers.

You can also import a used vehicle free of any customs duty.
However, you need to prove you paid the VAT in the country of origin. You might also need:

  • Proof of ownership.
  • Original registration papers.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Emissions test certificate if the car is over 3 years old.
  • Certification from the German Federal Motor Vehicle Registry indicating the vehicle was not registered before in Germany.

Registration procedures for EU cars are essentially the same as German vehicles.
An EU regulation from 1996 requires manufacturers to provide cars bought within the EU with a certificate that allows those cars to be imported to other EU countries without having to undergo a technical inspection. You should try to get this for your new or used vehicle to allow it to be brought into Germany.

Also, the motor vehicle tax will have to be paid after your car has been registered in Germany.

Importing a vehicle to Germany from the UK:

If you were previously a resident of the UK, but now you want to move to Germany and bring your vehicle. There are various rules and regulations you need to know about before importing your car.

If you want to have the car for 12 months or more:

You will need to complete these 3 stages:

  • Inform the DVLA by completing the V5C/4 section of your V5C registration certificate.
  • Then you will need to send the V5C to: DVLA Swansea SA99 1BD.
  • Keep hold of the rest of your V5C in case you need it to register your vehicle abroad.

If you don’t have your V5C, you will need to get one by completing a V62 form. When you have filled in the form, the address you need to send it to can be found on the form.

You’ll need to obtain a V561 certificate of permanent export if you have already left the UK. You can get one of these by getting and completing a V756 form.

If you have a vehicle with a personalized registration plate, you will need to either transfer or retain it before you begin the process of exporting your vehicle, or you will lose your right to the registration number.

If you want to have the car for less than 12 months:

This process is sometimes called a temporary export, and there is no need for any special documents. However, any vehicle that is registered in the UK is subjected to UK laws, which means you will need to make sure your vehicle is taxed in the UK while it is abroad. You will also need to make sure you are aware of and follow any rules and regulations for international licensing and taxes.

If you bring your vehicle back to the UK without tax, you cannot drive it into the country. It will have to be transported and you will need to make a SORN immediately.

You will need a VE310 (vehicle on hire) certificate if you plan on taking a hired vehicle out of the country to show you are allowed to use the hired vehicle abroad. You can get a VE103 for a fee from:

  • The AA (Automobile Association)
  • The RAC (Royal Automobile Association)
  • The RHA (Road Haulage Association)
  • The BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing -Association)
  • The FTA (Freight Transport Association)

Ordering a Data-sheet

If you need a technical data sheet, you can check the following link where you can find a sample by inserting your VIN: