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 hassles of shipping from the US 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 delays in getting your machinery, personal goods, or automobiles ready for you to enjoy in Germany. Trust us with your shipment and rely on our high standards to ensure your possessions arrive without compromise. We make shipping a car from the US to Germany straightforward by supplying all the documentation you’ll need for efficient transport. Explore our air and sea transport options to determine which method best suits your shipping needs.


US Documentation: Export Requirements for Shipping a Car from the US to Germany

When preparing a vehicle for shipping from the US to Germany, US documentation export requirements for military service members are the vehicle’s original title or notarized lien letter with a copy of the title, PCS orders, and passport or EIN. Non-military exports also need the passport or EIN, the original title, and a copy of the bill of sale.

A woman notating on a document attached to a clipboard.

German Documentation: Import Requirements for Vehicles

German import requirements for vehicles have more specific documentation, which varies depending on whether it is military or non-military, temporary imports or importing as moving goods, or has proof of purchase by a European citizen. We can help you know which forms you need to show at the port or to customs depending on your vehicle and personal circumstances.

US 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

German Duties and Taxes for Imported Vehicles

For temporary imports, German registration and taxation are not necessary if certain conditions are met, and even the security deposit can potentially be avoided. Reach out to us for help on the process. Vehicles as moving goods do not have duty or VAT charges, while vehicles purchased by European citizens have various rates for duty and VAT depending on the vehicle’s age. Germany’s customs website has more specifics.

A man writing on a document with a pen.

Cost and Transit Times for Shipping from the US to Germany

Transit time to Germany from the US is about 15 days from the East Coast and 30 days from the West Coast. With additional days for clearing customs and loading and unloading the vessel, expect the shipping process to be about 30-45 days from the East Coast and 45-60 days from the West Coast. We will provide a free no-obligation online quote to estimate your cost for shipping a car from the US to Germany.

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

German Vehicle Import Approval and Registration

Even though German customs do not require import approval before shipping your vehicle, we recommend contacting the German registration office to confirm your vehicle meets their emissions standards and specifications. Modifications can be costly, so you want to factor in that cost before arranging shipping from the US to Germany.

Vehicles shipped to Germany permanently need registration, with various requirements depending on whether the owner is in the US military. If your stay in Germany is less than a year, you can drive your imported vehicle with your home license plates and registration. Proof of insurance and a registration document with a German translation is required, and a technical vehicle inspection may also be necessary.

A car secured on an open trailer for towing.

Ports Serviced

Trans Global services all US Ports for departures. When shipping a car from the US to Germany, the most common German entry ports are Bremerhaven and Hamburg. We also offer door-to-door destinations in Germany after your car arrives at a port, including Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, and more. Door delivery includes going through customs before vehicles are released.

A sea port with docked cargo ships, cranes, and countless shipping containers

Transport Options for Shipping from the US to Germany

Trans Global Auto Logistics has everything from air freight to Roll on Roll Off (RORO), which is basically large parking garages on the water. RORO offers cheaper rates and sometimes has quicker container transit times, but vehicles have to be in good running condition and cannot store personal items. Shared container shipping can take longer since containers only leave with full loads, but it does mean costs can be shared among the vehicle owners. Dedicated container shipping removes the shared element, with the fastest service besides air freight and also the most expensive. We will work with you to find which transport option makes the most sense when shipping your car from the US to Germany.

A ship, loaded with containers, leaving its port.
Trans Global Auto Logistics
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Jason Castleberry
Jason Castleberry
15:29 28 Dec 22
Every company has an employee who is the face and voice of that company, for me and Transglobal that was Brenda. Any... company would be lucky to have her. She provided the absolute best customer service I have ever experienced and my car arrived safely to Germany. I highly recommend this company if you need to ship a car, great service, very fair price and if Brenda is your representative, know 100% you are in excellent more
12:58 30 May 22
Easy to work with and the staff is very helpful and friendly.
17:35 31 Mar 22
Wow night and day compared to miltary office in Dallas. They were so nice and understanding brenda was great and took... care of us the whole way! Ray provided a great quote that was much more affordable than I anticipatedread more
Lizzy Figueroa
Lizzy Figueroa
02:35 13 Sep 21
Great service! Mandy was so helpful in all this process, she always respond my phone calls and email and she made the... process so easy, we are happy with everything! Highly recomended!read more
22:05 12 Apr 21
I have never met a person that went to infinity and beyond making sure that we were taken care of. We needed rescuing... when the original plan of shipping our second vehicle did not go according to plan. Anna Payton at the Mildenhall office was and will always be the angel sent to us in our time of need. She is not just an employee of TGAL, she is more
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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Ship Today with Experience You Can Trust

You will need to adhere to these rules for preparing your vehicle for shipment overseas, and we will help every step of the way. Our additional customizable shipping options include our recommended marine insurance, a selection of third-party vehicle purchase inspections, escrow service, and inland transport for door-to-door service.

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 at each step. If you’re ready to arrange your vehicle or household goods for shipping from the US to Germany, request your free personalized quote today.

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