Moving to Germany

Guideline for Moving to Germany. Imports and Exports into and out of Germany

Removals to Germany – what to consider.

Duration of removal to Germany. Do not expect your possessions to be delivered the next day. Even if you are moving from Dover it will take a best part of a day for a removal lorry to cross the German border. Add another day if you are going closer to the eastern border of Germany.

Customs declarations. You almost certainly will be able to do some of it yourself. This may save you about a £100. But what if you get it wrong? Your removal company will invoice you for the time the lorry spent waiting at customs check point while you either complete your declaration properly or find an agent to do it for you. Think again.

Packing and listing all items you are moving to Germany. You will have to have a comprehensive packing list before you submit your customs declarations. You may want to do that yourself and save some money. Alternatively we can do it for you.

Storage. You may need some time to find a permanent place to live in Germany before we deliver your belongings. We can store your possessions in Swindon and save you a job of finding a storage place in Germany. Alternatively we can deliver to the storage company of your choice.

Consider a part load service. If you can live without your items for a few weeks a part load service (your consignment will share a vehicle with other loads, also known as groupage) may save you significant amount of money comparing to a delivery by a dedicated vehicle. This option is only effective for small shipments. may not be viable for a 2 bed house or larger properties.

Find out what you can not import in the EU

You can not import certain items in the EU. Have you seen the video when the Dutch authorities confiscate ham sandwiches from a British lorry driver? You may have to say good buy to your food and plants when crossing the border. We will not publish the list here but this page will give you a good idea on what you can not import in the EU.

Importing your personal belongings when moving to Germany

Who is entitled to import household goods/vehicles free of duties and taxes?

Every person moving from a country outside of the EU to Germany, who
• lived (or at least planned to live) outside of Germany for at least 12 full months
• has owned and used their household goods/vehicle abroad for a least 6 full months
• will continue to own and use goods/vehicle for at least the next 12 months
• is importing the goods/vehicle within 12 months of their own arrival date in Germany

Necessary paperwork for the import customs clearance when moving to Germany

• clear packing list
• clear copy of passport
• copy of German registration from local town hall/registration office
• EU-citizens: employer’s confirmation regarding the length of their last assignment
abroad (should cover at least 12 months)
• Non-EU-citizens: Employer’s confirmation regarding new assignment in Germany
• Customs declaration

In addition for importing personal vehicles into Germany you will need:

• copy of registration + title, or other proof of ownership document (Certificate of Title)
• copy of last registration in foreign country covering at least 6 months prior shipping
• if available, insurance certificate for the last 6 months prior to shipping

Important note for cars: Cars imported to Germany need to conform to EU Standard. Otherwise, a nationalization of the car might be needed in order to register the car.

How long does the customs clearance take when moving your personal belongings to Germany?

If transported by sea import customs clearance starts when the container has been registered at the port of POE terminal and takes about 3 – 5 days. Only once shipment cleared customs a delivery date can be set.
If transported by road in most cases import customs clearance takes up to 2 working days. Only once shipment cleared customs a delivery date can be set.
In some cases our agent may be able to clear the customs at the point of entry in the EU (i.e. port of Calais) and the lorry may not be stopped at all. The French authorities link vehicle number plates to customs good movement reference numbers. ANPR cameras scan the number plate and your shipment file gets updated in seconds. If everything is done properly the driver does not have to stop to produce paperwork and can proceed to the destination. This is not always possible and often depends on the paperwork our client can provide.

We can help with your customs clearance in Germany.

We work closely with a reputable customs agent in the UK who we trust with all our clients customs related side of moving home to Germany and other EU destinations. If you would like to us to deal with that we would be happy to help. We will need some (or all) of the paperwork listed above before we can proceed.

Moving from Germany to the UK

Which documents are necessary for the export clearance?

• clear copy of passport
• temporary or permanent address abroad
• Completed TOR1 form. Available on HMRC website. Can be done by our trusted customs agent

How does the export clearance work?

• export details have to be submitted to customs authorities via an online customs
program within a week prior loading of the shipment
• customs officers are granted a 2-hour time slot to optionally inspect the shipment

Your shipment from Germany to the UK may need to be cleared by customs in the UK.

Useful links

The following link takes you to German customs websire There you can find answers to the following questions:

  • Transferring residence when moving to Germany
  • What German authorities consider to be personal property (property moved in connection with a transfer of residence)?
  • Conditions and arrangements for relief from customs duty
  • Import turnover tax, excise duty, vehicle tax
  • What are the limitations for importing personal belongings without paying any tax or duty

Relevant EU regulation can be found here. It applies to most of the EU member states, not only when you are moving to Germany

To check the definition of the normal place of residence according to German authorities please look up this link

Form 0350 (customs declaration of personal property) can be found here

Our customs agent VIP freight. They are not taking on work from private clients. If you are looking for someone to do the customs paperwork for you you can Google for “customs agent” or use HMRC list of customs agents. We recommend you to copy email addresses from the HMRC list and mass email most of them. Chances are that out of a 100 agents 80 will not be taking on more work, 19 will not deal with private individual and 1 may be able to help you. At the beginning of 2021 it was very difficult to find customs agents who would be able to take on more work. We hope the situation will change soon.

If moving to the UK you or your agent will need to complete TOR1 declaration


All the information above should not be taken as a professional advice, it may not be up to date. Each case should be considered on individual merit. We recommend you to seek professional advice before making any decisions.

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