Some exemptions from customs duty are dependent on a person's so-called "normal residence". Where an individual has various places of residence and it is doubtful which one is the normal residence, it has been defined in rulings of the European Court of Justice as the place where the person has the permanent centre of his/her interests. This is normally the place to which the person has a close relationship due to personal or occupational ties.
The following criteria can be applied in deciding on whether a not a place is a person's normal residence:
- Place which the individual and his/her family visit regularly,
- Place where the individual carries on his/her gainful occupation,
- Place where the children actually attend school,
- Furnishing of a home,
- Place at which property/pecuniary interests are located, or
- Place at which permanent administrative relationships with state authorities and social institutions exist.
Attendance at a school or university or the performance of a professional task does not, of itself, imply a transfer of normal residence. Also in these cases, what matters is the place at which the individual has or retains the centre of his/her interests.
The following documents in particular may serve as evidence for a transfer of normal residence and must be submitted for customs clearance purposes:
- a certification by the competent authority in the other country indicating how long the person concerned has lived abroad and
- a resident's registration certificate, tenancy agreement, employment contract or such like evidencing that the person concerned has established his/her normal residence in the German part of the customs territory.