Holidays within the EC
As of the introduction of the European single market the borders within the EC ceased to exist. Many national regulations were substituted by regulations standardised within the EC. Regarding excise duties, turnover tax and partially according to prohibitions and restrictions, national regulations are still valid. You have to consider this when travelling within the EC.
Entry into Germany
Travellers may bring goods from all EC Member States free of duty and without any formalities. This applies under the provision that these goods
- are not brought in from one of the regions with special customs and tax arrangements,
- are intended neither for trade nor for commercial usage,
- are not subject to any prohibitions or restrictions as to their importation or transit.
Sometimes goods are brought in quantities that cast miscredit on a mere private use. For the definition of commercial trade and private passenger traffic (or the differentiation between these terms), the following catalogue of quantities is used.
|tobacco for smoking||1 kg.|
*) Please note the special arrangements for new EU Member States!
|intermediate products (e.g. liqueur wine, vermouth)||20 litres|
|wine (of that at most 60 litres of sparkling wine)||90 litres|
If you transport more than the above-mentioned amounts, you will be suspected of wanting to use the goods commercially. You can refute this suspicion by proving that you will use the good you have brought with you for private purposes.
Tobacco products imported from Member States with transitional periods for private purposes are tax exempt only within the following quantities:
|Bulgaria||200 cigarettes||40 cigarettes||31. December 2009|
|Estonia||200 cigarettes or
250 grams of smoking tobacco
|40 cigarettes or
50 grams of smoking tobacco
|31. December 2009|
|Latvia||200 cigarettes||40 cigarettes||31. December 2009|
|Lithuania||200 cigarettes||40 cigarettes||31. December 2009|
|Rumania||200 cigarettes||40 cigarettes||31. December 2009|
*) The limited duty-free allowance apply to residents of regions near the border, frontier zone worker and persons who enter Germany more often than once in a calendar month for business reasons.
If you bring too much in the way of tobacco products from the new EC Member States with you, these products must be seized and destroyed - in addition to being taxed.
Attention: For tobacco there are special rules for travellers returning from one of the Member States that joined the EU on 1 May 2004 (information of the EU in english).
Goods brought in for commercial purposes are liable to turnover tax at the tax and revenue office in Germany and must be declared there.
If the goods are additionally liable to an excise duty, which in Germany are administered by Customs (these are mineral oil tax, tobacco tax, spirit tax, beer tax, coffee tax and tax on sparkling wine and intermediate products), they must also be declared to the competent Main customs office and the excise duty will be payable.
Tourists from other EC Member States entering Germany with their car or motorbike registered abroad should not forget to fasten a nationality sign to their vehicle or - as the case may be - to their trailer. If the official plate of the vehicle is a Euro- plate (these are marked with a nationality sign of the Member State of registration on the left), no additional nationality sign is required.
Please note that fuel may be introduced free of mineral oil tax from an EC Member State only if it is in the tank of your vehicle or in a jerry can brought into.
There are special rules for the purchase of new vehicles in another EC Member State.
You may export goods for private use and consumption out of Germany without any formalities. Do not forget to fix a nationality sign to your vehicle or - as the case may be - to your trailer if you intend to travel to an EC Member State by your car or motorbike. If the official plate of the vehicle is a Euro- plate (these are marked with a nationality sign of the Member State of registration on the left), no additional nationality sign is required.
On entry into another EC Member State you will have to follow the legal national regulations. There are considerable limitations for certain goods - as for instance for alcohol or tobacco - in some EC Member States.
Furthermore, national restrictions as to the importation, exportation or transit are still valid in all Member States. These national regulations protect public health and safety.
Thus, you will often need accompanying documents if you want to take a pet, hunting weapons or strong medicine on your travel.
For your own safety you should gather information about the legal import regulations for tourists in your holiday destination in any case prior to travelling.
You may find information about national import regulations of other EC Member States on the websites of the appropriate embassies or Customs administrations.