Prepare your Documents!

Entering the EU (and Schengen area), you need to prove your identity and present official documents to the border control. If you are a citizen of a country of the Schengen area, you only need to show a valid proof of identity (ID or passport). If you are from another country, depending on your country of origin, you may also have to show:

  • Your visa and/or any official documents allowing you to enter Germany
  • Documents showing the purpose of your stay (such as a job contract)
  • Your work and/or residence permit
  • Documents showing that you have enough money for your stay (and return)

For more information on how to get these documents, read our article Hit the Ground Running Upon Your Entry into Germany.

Prepare your luggage

When entering Germany, you can bring some duty-free articles if they meet certain conditions:

  • You carry these goods (i.e. you travel with them)
  • They are for your personal use or consumption

You can read more information on Zoll’s website.

Be careful! Some products are  either banned in Germany and within the EU, or their quantity is regulated. To get more information on restrictions, check Zoll’s website.

Move your stuff!

When transferring residence, you will need to move [↙] your stuff. There is no numerical restriction on the type or quantity of goods registered as property, but it has to be clear that they don’t have any commercial character. Unrestricted property generally includes:

  • Household effects, that is: all personal effects, household linen, furnishings and equipment intended for the personal use of the individuals concerned or for meeting their household needs;
  • Private vehicles: cycles, motor cycles, private motor vehicles and their trailers, camping caravans, and even pleasure craft and private aeroplanes;
  • Household provisions, in quantities appropriate to normal family requirements, on the basis of normal requirements in the former area of residence;
  • Household pets and saddle animals;
  • Portable instruments and equipment of the applied or liberal arts required by the person concerned for the pursuit of his trade or profession.

Be careful, some restrictions apply to property goods moved in Germany. Check the Zoll website for more information.

Some conditions must be respected for the recognition of goods as personal properties:

  • Your previous residence must have been your residence for at least 12 months;
  • You must actually possess the goods and you must have used non-consumable goods for at least 6 months before the transfer;
  • You must show that your vehicle is registered in your name;
  • You must transfer your property goods within 12 months after you transferred your normal place of residence (you may do the transfer of these goods in separate consignments);
  • You can transfer property goods up to 6 months before transferring your residence, but you will have to provide security to do so;
  • You can’t transfer your property within the first 12 months since the acceptance of its entry for free circulation.

Use the form 0350, “Customs Declaration for the Release of Personal Property Entered for Free Circulation with a Specified End-Use” (Zollanmeldung für die Überführung von Übersiedlungsgut in den zollrechtlich freien Verkehr zur besonderen Verwendung) to apply for release for free circulation.

Goods that are legally seen as your personal property moved in connection to a transfer of residence and are entered for free circulation as such are exempt from import turnover tax, but not from any excise duty that may be applicable. This is especially true for your vehicle, for which you will have to pay the German vehicle tax. This tax is payable to the border customs office (where you submit your tax declaration). The customs office will then issue a card and receipt. Keep it safe!

Contact and information:

Here you find the most important information needed to answer your questions about Crossing the German border. If you know other tips or want to share your experience, do not hesitate to contact us. You could even send your testimony which could be published on our website! Thanks for your contribution to the Leon community!