Travelling to Germany - Tourists or business trips
You come from a non-EC country (outside the EU) and travel to Germany - on holidays or a business trip. What do you have to consider?
On entry into Germany you must pay attention to the import regulations. These regulations apply to your baggage as well as to your means of transport.
What do you have to pay attention to regarding your baggage?
If you want to spend your holidays in Germany, you will have to keep to national and EC- import regulations for the items you are bringing. As a rule, you may import your baggage into Germany free of import duties and without any customs formalities.
However, you should bear in mind that you
- may import goods you are bringing with you and which are intended to stay in Germany (for example presents for the hosts) free of duty only if they do not exceed the duty and tax- free allowances. Even then, the requirements for using the duty and tax- free allowances must be met.
- may bring neither items prohibited nor restricted in the EU
- need to declare goods which are not solely intended for private use by you or members of your household or which are not only imported occasionally,
- on entry must submit to Customs a written customs declaration for items subject to restrictions (limitations) and must be in possession of the required certificates.
- in case of goods subject to an import permit, must submit on entry an import permit as well as a written customs declaration. On the site "external law" you may find more details about the external regulations such as the import permit requirement.
- must produce a written customs declaration, e.g. for very valuable effects, if required so by German Customs.
At most German airports a special clearance procedure has been introduced to speed up the clearance of journeys by air. After you have picked up your baggage, you may pass through either a red or green exit (channel).
Which channel you must pass depends on the nature of goods you are bringing. Information boards inform you about customs regulations.
You can only choose the green exit "nothing to declare" if all the goods you are carrying are
- free of import duties,
- not subject to prohibitions and restrictions and
- not subject to any formalities and
- for which no declaration is necessary.
You are obliged to use the red exit and declare the relevant goods to Customs when you import goods which are intended for commercial use, which means that they are not solely intended for private use (professional equipment like cameras, musical instruments, business samples or for which a Carnet ATA has been issued).
If you import commercial goods, you always need to use the red exit and declare the goods, even if the goods are free of duty.
Please make sure to use the red exit whenever you are not sure wether a declaration has to be made or not.
Please note that you may be stopped for checks in the green channel.
Subsequent to your entry, the personal baggage shall be subject to customs supervision. This also applies
when you were waved through on entry or if, in case of journey by air,
you used the green exit. Customs supervision shall continue up to the re-exportation of the items.
- you must not sell, give away or pawn in the inland and
- must export completely
the baggage you brought (for example valuable photo equipment, sport apparatus or jewellery).
If you still leave items of your baggage to third persons, the appropriate import duties must be paid at a customs office.
Baggage sent in advance or reforwarded is subject to the same import regulations as the baggage you accompany. The respective common carrier (e.g. rail company) shall produce the baggage for checks at the frontier customs office on your behalf.
What do I have to pay attention to regarding the means of transport?
Please, do not forget to fasten a nationality sign to your vehicle registered in a third country and, as the case may be, to your trailer, prior to your entry into Germany. The nationality sign must be fastened additionally to the national number plate.
Subsequent to your entry into Germany, your vehicle shall be subject to customs supervision.
That is, you must not
- give away,
- pawn or
- use commercially
If you still leave your vehicle to third persons or use it commercially, the appropriate import duties must be paid. In that case, please contact the nearest customs office.
Your means of transport registered in a third country may only by yourself be introduced into Germany free of duty and used there. This is stipulated by Customs regulations as well as by motor- tax law. The occasional use of the vehicle by EC residents in your presence is permitted. The commercial use is not permitted. The period of utilisation of these vehicles is limited to six months. Breaking this limitation,
- students and persons on business order from third countries may privately use vehicles free of customs duty and taxes up to the end of their stay;
- employees with permanent residence in third countries and places of working within the EC (so- called commuters) may regularly import and re-export vehicles for temporary importation without any time limit.