Requirements for Shipping Cars from the US to Germany

What You Need to Know Before Shipping Your Vehicle to Germany

Waterside buildings and boats in the canals of Hamburg, Germany


Eliminate the hassle of car shipping to Germany with expert-level support from Trans Global Auto Logistics. Bringing over three decades of experience to the table, we’re here to help you avoid any delay in getting your machinery, personal goods, or automobiles road-ready. Trust us with your shipment and rely on our high standards to make sure your possessions arrive without compromise. We make car shipping to Germany straightforward by supplying all of the documentation you’ll need for efficient transport. Explore our air and sea transport options to see which method suits your shipping needs best.


US Documentation Export Requirements for Shipping Cars from US to Germany

  1. U.S. Military Service Members:
    1. Original Title or Original notarized Lien Letter with copy of title
    2. PCS Orders
    3. Passport or EIN
  2. Non-Military:
    1. Original Title
    2. Copy of Bill of Sale
    3. Passport or EIN
A woman notating on a document attached to a clipboard.

German Documentation Import Requirements for Vehicles

  1. U.S. Military Service Members or Contractors with SOFA Status:
    • AE-Form 550 from Military Customs Office
    • AE-Form 190-1AA from Military Vehicle Registration Office and temp Plates

Please note that after shipping your car to Germany, you will have to physically take these documents to the German port or closest German customs house to have stamped by customs for them to release your vehicle to you.

  1. Non-Military:
    • Temporary Imports
      • Original Vehicle Title
      • Copy of US Vehicle Registration
      • Proof of International Liability Insurance (to be obtained through TourInsure)
    • Importing as Moving Goods – Moving to Germany or Returning German Citizen
      • Must have owned vehicle for at least 6 months and lived outside of Germany for at least 12 months
      • Copy of Your Car’s US Title
      • US Vehicle Registration (for entire duration since purchase)
      • Copy of Bill of Sale
      • Copy of Your Passport
      • Proof of employment detailing the timeframe and reason for the US-Stay or if US Resident, reason for relocation to Germany
      • Copy of Resident Registration in Germany (Einwohnermeldeamt)
      • Confirmation of Liability Insurance Cancellation or De-Registration
    • Proof of Purchase by European Citizen (Vehicle Less Than 30 Years Old)
      • Copy of Vehicle Title
      • Copy of Bill of Sale
        • Must list the full name and address of Seller and BuyerCopy of Bill of Sale

German Duties/Taxes Due:

Below are general guidelines on German Duties and Taxes for shipping your car from the US to Germany.

Please note you must pay any VAT and Duty before your vehicle will be released by German customs.

  1. U.S. Military Service Members
    • No Taxes or Duties apply
  2. Temporary Imports—You can usually use a vehicle with foreign number plates without registering or taxing it in Germany if all of the following apply:
    • You’re visiting and do not plan to live here
    • The vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country
    • You only use the vehicle for up to 6 months in Germany
    • A security deposit of 10% + 19% of the vehicle value plus shipping charges will be collected
        • This is refunded only once the car leaves the EU again.
        • There may be options to avoid paying the security deposit. Please let us know prior to shipping if this will be a temporary import.

For more information on Temporary Imports and up-to-date resources, please visit the customs website for Germany at

  1. Vehicle as Moving Goods – Must have owned the vehicle for at least 6 months and lived outside of Germany for at least 12 months
    • Duty – 0%
    • VAT – 0%
  2. Vehicle purchased by European Citizen – Vehicle less than 30 years old
    • Duty – 10%
    • VAT – 19%
  3. Vehicle purchased by European Citizen – Vehicle over 30 years old and in original condition
    • Duty – 0%
    • VAT – 7%
A man writing on a document with a pen.

US to Germany Car Shipping Cost and Transit Timelines

The cost and transit time frame of your vehicle may vary greatly depending on where your vehicle is located in the US.

  • Generally speaking, if your vehicle is located on the East Coast of the USA, then transit time is about 15 days and 30 days from the West Coast.
  • Be sure to consider additional days for clearing customs and vessel loading/unloading.
  • Expect your shipping process to take about 30-45 days from the US East Coast and 45-60 days from the West Coast.

To determine your cost, please submit a free no obligation online quote.

On a spreadsheet listing dollar amounts, a calculator and red pen sit ready for use.

Germany Vehicle Import Approval

German customs do not require an Import Approval prior to shipping your vehicle, but we suggest you contact German registration office to confirm your vehicle meets German emissions standards and specifications. These modifications can be costly, and so it’s good to know the cost involved before you ship your vehicle.

A car secured on an open trailer for towing.

Germany Vehicle Registration

You must register any vehicle you ship to Germany permanently.

  1. U.S. Military Service Members
    1. Previous Vehicle Registration or Title
    2. Proof of German Insurance
    3. Must pass a safety inspection before vehicle can be registered but will not have to convert vehicle to German Specs
  2. Non-Military
    1. Vehicle will have to be converted to Euro Specs before you can register and drive the vehicle in Europe.

If your stay in Germany is less than 12 months, then you can drive your imported vehicle with your home license plates and registration. A registration document with a German translation is required and proof of insurance. You may also be required to undergo a technical inspection to ensure the vehicle’s roadworthiness.

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Ports Serviced in the US and Germany

  • USA Departure Ports — Trans Global has service from all U.S. Ports, including: New York, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Galveston, Los Angeles, and more.
  • German Arrival Ports — The most popular German entry ports are Bremerhaven and Hamburg.
  • From any of the above destination ports, your car can be delivered to your door anywhere in Germany.— A few common destinations after shipping your car from the US to Germany are:
    • Cologne
    • Dusseldorf
    • Frankfurt
    • Heinsberg
    • Grafenwoehr
    • Heidelberg
    • Kaiserslautern
    • Mannheim
    • Munich
    • Ramstein
    • Schweinfurt
    • Spangdahlem
    • Stuttgart
    • Ansbach
    • Wiesbaden
    • Boeblingen
    • Vilseck
  • Please note that when door delivery is requested, the vehicle will be delivered to the closest customs house. You will then be required to pick up the vehicle and present the required customs clearance documentation before your vehicle can be released to you.
A sea port with docked cargo ships, cranes, and countless shipping containers

Vehicle Transport Options for Shipping Cars from the US to Germany

Trans Global offers several shipping methods to our customers. Which one best works for you will be determined by several factors including where the vehicle is located in the USA, where in Germany you want it shipped to, how quickly you need your vehicle shipped to Germany, the age and value of the vehicle, and cost.

1. Roll On/Roll Off (RORO)—These vessels are basically large parking garages on the water. Your vehicle is driven into the belly of the ship via a large ramp and secured to the deck, protected from the outside elements.


  • RORO offers very competitive rates
  • RORO sometimes has a quicker transit time than container


  • Vehicles must be in good running condition which is not always the case with classic cars which is why we suggest classic cars ship in containers
  • You are not allowed to store any items in the vehicles. Anything found in the vehicles is disposed of by the receiving terminal
Multiple cars on the deck of a cargo ship being transported to another location
A container ship is loaded by Crain.

2. Shared Container Shipping—Your vehicle is shipped together with other vehicles in a container. Fees are shared between all parties using the container during shipment, such as terminal handling charges, loading/unloading, and container trucking at the terminals.


  • Poor running or non-running vehicles are be shipped in containers
  • Personal items can be stored in the vehicle


  • Your transit timeline may be longer than it would be with RORO since the container can only depart once it has a full load

3. Dedicated Container Shipping—Dedicated container shipping is typically used if the customer needs their vehicle faster, or if the destination is a location where we do not offer container consolidation services. This way of shipping a car to Germany is similar to the Shared Container method except that your vehicle is the only one in the container.


  • Offers the fastest service besides air freight
  • You can store items in the vehicle


  • Higher cost than RORO and Shared Container Shipping
A ship, loaded with containers, leaving its port.
A jet plane sitting at a terminal.

4. Air Freight—Airfreight is one of the most expensive shipping options, which makes it less utilized in the market, generally. This method is used for high-end collector vehicles or time sensitive shipments.


  • Quickest service available


  • Most expensive shipping option

Preparing Your Vehicle for Shipment

Prior to shipping your vehicle to Germany, it’s important you take the following actions to avoid additional fees or being turned away by the terminals.

  • Clean your vehicle inside and out, including its undercarriage
    • Vehicle must be clean of foreign soil or invasive plants and animals
  • Check that you have less than a quarter tank of fuel
  • Remove all Non-Factory installed items (applies for RORO shipments only)
  • Remove license plates
  • After-market alarm system must be disengaged prior to shipment when possible
An auto detailer polishing a car's headlight.

Additional Services for Shipping Your Car from the US to Germany

Trans Global Auto Logistics offers the below additional services:

  • Inland Transport within the USA and Germany – Trans Global is able to arrange road transport anywhere in the USA to the terminal and also to any city within Germany.
  • Marine Insurance – Per the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) liability is limited to $500 per shipment when shipping your car from the US to Germany. We strongly recommend Marine Insurance to ensure your vehicle is covered in the event of damage or loss. All shipping quotes given by Trans Global will list the cost of this optional service.
  • 3rd party vehicle purchase inspections – For those looking to purchase a vehicle online from the USA and want peace of mind knowing the vehicle is as advertised
  • Escrow Service – For customers who are not comfortable with transferring funds directly to an online seller in the USA, or when a seller isn’t okay with providing banking details overseas, we offer our Escrow service to act as a liaison between the buyer and the seller.
Close-up photo of a semi-truck backed into a parking space.
Trans Global Auto Logistics
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William Reynolds
William Reynolds
14:10 28 Jan 21
I would like to take the time to thanks Anna Payton for her professionalism and help when getting my vehicle ready to... ship back to the US. She took the time to answer all my questions and concerns about the process and even took pre-shipment photos of my car (I thought this was a great addition). This the fourth time using TransGlobal and I have been impressed with their service each more
Talisman Kreationen
Talisman Kreationen
18:47 15 Oct 20
The representitives here are outstanding, Amanda and Andre were great. They were there every step of the way;... questions, guidance and direction. Great to have a team that I was able to contact by email or phone while they where going through Covid-19 operating hours, never hesitating to answer a question within a reasonable time. Awesomeness at its more
My Blackjacks
My Blackjacks
15:05 24 Jul 20
Great service. Mandy is amazing and super helpful. All my emails and calls were responded to very quickly and once I... had my quote and paperwork complete she coordinated everything else and I had my car shipped to me extremely quick. Driver was friendly and professional. Highly more
Barbara Hutton
Barbara Hutton
12:06 10 Oct 19
I used Trans Global to ship a 1970 Fiat Spider from Florida to New York. I worked with Mandy. She was extremely... courteous and very helpful. She made this whole process very simple. The car carrier they used was very courteous, prompt and ensured that the car was secured safely. Thank you Mandy for a job well more
Sabrina Harder
Sabrina Harder
19:33 25 Mar 19
If I could I would give 5 stars. Brenda has been AMAZING. Seriously highly recommend them to anyone. Quick response to... emails and calls. Brenda has went out of her way to ensure everything is smooth. I can’t give her enough praise! The world needs more people like her - compassionate and caring!read more
Kelly Holliday
Kelly Holliday
23:25 23 Jul 18
Working with trans global has been an amazing experience. From trying to begin a process without hard dates to... suffering mechanical issues and arriving later than expected at the dock, the team that works for trans global have been amazing. They helped our process of getting the truck to its destination and I feel blessed by the angels at Trans Global who assisted us along the way. Mandy was a breath of fresh air as the process for me was a first time endeavor. I feel grateful that she was the one who handled the whole entire process and even helped me laugh when I stressed out and thought I messed up my money order. I will definitely use this company again when we have to ship our truck off of the island in a few more
Cris Madar
Cris Madar
20:22 14 Jul 18
We moved from North Carolina to Hawaii and the process of shipping a car over an ocean seemed daunting. However, Mandy... at Trans Global was absolutely amazing and provided superb customer service. She responded to emails very promptly regardless of time and provided frequent updates. I highly recommend Trans Global and ask for more
Eric Alvarado
Eric Alvarado
05:06 16 Jun 18
OUTSTANDING customer service! THANKS to Mandy Brantley and the Team for tracking my two vehicles and providing all the... details to this picky customer. Couldn't be any happier with the service provided before pick up, in-transit and more
Chop Chop
Chop Chop
04:23 28 Jun 17
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The trunk of a car in a full parking lot


As a fully bonded and licensed Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) and freight forwarder, we provide the highest level of customer service in the industry. Trust us to deliver your shipment to ports worldwide with a professional level of detail each step of the way. You’ll enjoy working with our certified agents who guarantee a smooth delivery by notifying you during each segment of the journey. Let us work with your timeline and make sure your precious cargo arrives in the same condition it left.


Shipping your car to Germany at a cost that works with your budget is our highest priority. Request a free quote by simply filling out our form and one of our representatives will be in touch to discuss your shipment. Contact Trans Global Auto Logistics for a quote today.

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