Importing Vehicles Within the EU

Taxes and registration requirements for vehicles from European Union countries...

Prior to registering a vehicle in Germany, it must have an EU certificate of conformity (Konformitätsbescheinigung or EWG - Übereinstimmungsbescheinigung) to ensure that it conforms to German road safety standards. In 1996, an EU regulation came into effect requiring vehicle manufacturers to provide an "operational standard certificate" (EU-Betriebserlaubnis) to allow cars bought in EU countries to be imported without undergoing additional technical examination regarding conformity. These certificates can be expensive, due to the technical expertise required to carry out the inspection. The German Automobile association ADAC warns people to beware of falsified certificates.

If the vehicle does not have this certificate (if it is too old, for example) it must be inspected by the TÜV (Technische Überwachungs-Verein) or DEKRA (in the new Federal States, formerly East Germany), who will issue the certificate if it meets the required standards.

The following information is required:

  • manufacturer and type of vehicle
  • chassis number
  • model year

Importing a new vehicle

If a new vehicle is imported, then duty (Umsatzsteuer) must be paid to the local tax office (Finanzamt) within ten days of the date of sale. Proof of this is needed to register the vehicle. It will also require a tax clearance certificate (Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung) from the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority (Kraftfahrtbundesamt).

Importing a used vehicle

In line with EU regulations, no duty is payable on a used vehicle imported for personal use provided that the VAT has been paid in the EU country of origin, and that it has been owned and registered in that country and has been driven for at least 6,000 Km prior to entry in to Germany.

The following documents are required to import a used vehicle from another EU country:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership (for example an original bill of sale or receipt)
  • Original vehicle registration documents
  • Current vehicle insurance documentation
  • If applicable, EU certificate of conformity (Konformitäts-bescheinigung or EWG - Übereinstimmungsbescheinigung) or a certificate of exhaust emission testing which conforms to German TÜV/DEKRA standards
  • Certificate of exhaust emissions (AU-Bescheinigung) test for all vehicles over three years old
  • A tax clearance certificate (Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung) from the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority (Kraftfahrtbundesamt) to confirm that the vehicle has not already been registered in Germany. To obtain the certificate request a verification that the car has not been registered before from:


To register a new or used vehicle, the following must be taken to the local vehicle registration office (Kraftfahrzeugzulassungsstelle):

  • Proof of identity (current passport or identity card)
  • Proof of residency (polizeiliche Anmeldung)
  • Proof that duty has been paid (Mitteilung der Umsatzsteuer)(if applicable)
  • Proof of insurance (Doppelkarte)
  • Original vehicle registration documents
  • Tax clearance certificate (Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung)
  • If the vehicle is to be registered as a company vehicle then a copy of the extract from the commercial register (Handelsregisterauszug) or business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung) is required
  • If a third party is registering the vehicle on someone else's behalf they need a letter from the vehicle owner confirming authorisation (Vollmacht) and this must be presented to the registration authorities along with the owner's passport
  • European Certificate of Conformity (EU-Konformitätsbescheinigung) issued by the manufacturer or their agent
  • Vehicles without a European Certificate of Conformity must have a roadworthiness certificate
  • Proof of ownership documents, for example a receipt (Originalrechnung) or bill of sale (Kaufvertrag)
  • Vehicle licence plates

Note: If a vehicle is less than six months old or has been driven less than 6,000 Km it is still classed as "new". Proof that duty has been paid (Mitteilung der Umsatzsteuer) will also be required.

Proof of ownership documents will be returned, but the foreign vehicle registration documents will be kept and returned to the respective authorities in the country of origin. Original number plates on used cars will either be destroyed or returned.