Do you think of Importing an automobile from the USA to Germany? Depending on the kind and model of the vehicle, the closest port of departure in the United States, and your final destination in Germany, the price of importing a car from the United States to Germany starts at $749 USD and takes around 4 to 6 weeks. Our 2022 car imports guide will go through all the details of importing vehicles from the USA to Germany, making the import process less stressful and much more effective! But before unraveling the import process, we would like to recommend you checking out the BMW Museum if you ever end up visiting Germany (either with your car or alone), as the museum, comprising of enough room for the presentation of as many as 120 exhibits, is definitely a must-see for any vintage car enthusiast!

Where to Start 

Some of the most crucial questions to think about before shipping your car involve:

Are you temporarily bringing the car in or do you have long-term plans? Have you owned the vehicle for at least six months? Are you a resident or are you importing the car for a vacation? The vehicle must have been registered in your name at least six months prior to shipping if you are going to Germany. Do you intend to keep the car in Germany permanently? Whether your car can be imported into Germany depends on these and other factors. Never presume that the car shipping situation you are facing is the same as someone else's. For the importation of some vehicles into Germany, such as used cars, different eligibility conditions may apply. Your imported car must be declared at customs upon arrival in Germany. The sales contract or bill of sale, the registration certificate or another official document of comparable standing, and the invoice, if there has been a transaction, are some examples of the required documentation. The legal and technical requirements set forth by the German government must be followed by clients shipping vehicles to Germany. You will receive a certificate from a government agency enabling you to transfer your vehicle to Germany once it has fulfilled all requirements.

Costs & Taxes

Normal import taxes and value added taxes in Germany are 10% for cars and other motor vehicles and 19% for other motor vehicles. (Import turnover tax is the name given to the value-added tax on imports (Einfuhrumsatzsteuer). The import charge on vintage cars that are over 30 years old into Germany is only 7%. Some companies estimate importing a compact car from the USA to Germany to start at a cost of $749 USD, with an anticipated turnaround time of 4 to 6 weeks, using as baseline a compact car being imported utilizing the roll-on/roll-off method from the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Bremerhaven. The model and make of your vehicle, your current location, the nearest US departure port (west coast or east coast), the method you pick to ship a car, the accessibility of your preferred services, and your final destination can all affect how much it will cost to import a car into Germany. You should also budget for expenses like storage, cleaning, other vendor fees, and German taxes and levies. Verify your vehicle's specifications and compliance with German requirements before importing it from the US to Germany. The United States is not a member of the European Union, so anyone shipping a car from outside the EU to Germany as a destination country must pay specific import taxes and tariffs. You could, however, be able to avoid paying taxes and customs fees in some situations. For instance, only a deposit is required for people who are shipping their car over for a vacation or who plan to travel through Germany to another location. You will get a reimbursement once the car has left Germany or is registered in another nation. The maximum length of a temporary stay is 12 months. As long as they are the owners and have had the vehicle registered in their name for at least six months before shipping it, US citizens who are relocating abroad and wish to ship a car to Germany can choose to import their cars as part of their personal goods. You won't be required to pay VAT tax or charges in this situation. You will be given a tax-free import that can only be used once if you are an EU citizen who has lived in the US for more than a year and has owned the vehicle you seek to transport for more than six months. When shipping an automobile to Germany from the US, the taxes and import duties that must be paid vary and depend on the specifics of your shipment. You can import a car from the USA to Germany utilizing a roll-on/roll-off service, a single container, or a shared container.

Import Options

Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo) shipping involves loading vehicles into a ship with a sizable cargo section that resembles a gigantic parking garage. This alternative is typically more cost-effective if you want to lower your shipping costs because there are only two additional fees to pay: port fees and customs clearance fees. Given that the containers leave on a weekly basis, transit times are typically quicker than with the shared container service. Shared Container Service, on the other hand, means that multiple vehicles will be transported in a single container. As the container must be processed, there are more costs than with the roll-on/roll-off shipping technique; however, these costs are shared by the various vehicle owners using the container. These expenses cover the cost of terminal handling, trucking, unloading when the car gets to a bonded warehouse, and customs clearance. The major drawback to this approach is that shipment is only feasible when there are sufficient trucks to fill the container, thus there may be a wait if the necessary number has not been reached. 

The Full Container Load category, contrastingly, is similar to the shared container service but only allows one vehicle per container. The only difference between the fees and those that must be paid for the shared container service is that the fees are not split among multiple clients. The level of security offered by container loading is very high. When the car is delivered, pictures of the vehicle and the loading procedure are taken, and the container door is then locked. When the container is opened by one of our representatives at the ultimate location, the vehicle won't be accessible to anyone until then. Once more, pictures will be taken to record the unloading procedure. Items can be loaded into the vehicle and carried with it as long as it is kept totally secure throughout the procedure; nevertheless, it is advised to pack and load all items securely as we will not be responsible for any loss or damage. There are more weekly departures than are possible with the roll-on/roll-off service, so this shipping technique typically moves more quickly. Unlike other businesses who utilize wood ramps, we exclusively use a steel loading system for enhanced loss and damage protection; this is perfect for importing historic cars.

Additional Tips

To avoid bringing invasive plants, animals, fungi, and microbes into Germany, the underside of your vehicle must be well cleaned and clear of foreign soil. Steam cleaning or other thorough cleaning techniques can be used to achieve this. In order to ensure that you meet the requirements to import vehicles into Germany, CFR Classic can help you locate a qualified cleaner. Since washing the interior of the car could result in mold growth while being transported, we do not advise doing so. Typically, vacuuming the inside is more than enough.

Vehicles that are shipped to Germany are registered to drive on German roads. Before being registered in Germany, all automobiles that are delivered there must pass a safety check (German: TÜV). Some companies may even connect you with our partner who is physically present in the Bremen warehouse if the vehicle needs to undergo any homologation or conversion procedures in order to be TÜV compliant. This eliminates the need to move the car to a different place because everything may be completed "in-house." With this knowledge, you are ready to not only import your car from the US to Germany but even to start your own importing business (or check out our Best Classic Car Business Ideas article if you need extra inspiration)! And if you first need a classic to either import to Germany or to start a vintage car business with, feel free to explore our rich inventory to find the most gorgeous vehicles ever produced!


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