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Germany – Buying or Importing a Car

If you’re a foreign national planning to purchase or import a vehicle in Germany, it’s essential to understand the legal procedures involved. In this article, we’ll cover the steps involved in buying or importing a car in Germany, along with the necessary paperwork and contact details of relevant government departments.

Buying a New or Used Car in Germany

Buying a new or used car in Germany follows a similar process to most other countries. The first step is to find a reputable dealership or private seller. You can browse local classifieds websites or visit authorized car dealerships.

Required Documents for Buying a Car in Germany

Foreign nationals need to provide the following documents to buy a car in Germany:

  • Passport
  • Residence Permit or Visa
  • German Driver’s License
  • Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV)
  • Sales Contract

Registering the Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the car, you need to register it with the local Vehicle Registration Office (Zulassungsstelle). The registration process involves providing the following documents:


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  • Sales Contract
  • Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV)
  • Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Proof of Identity
  • Proof of Residence
  • Proof of Payment of Vehicle Tax

After submitting the necessary documents, the Zulassungsstelle will issue you with German registration plates and a vehicle registration certificate.

Importing a Vehicle in Germany

If you’re planning to import a vehicle to Germany, there are specific procedures and requirements to follow.

Required Documents for Importing a Vehicle

Foreign nationals need to provide the following documents to import a car to Germany:

  • Passport
  • Residence Permit or Visa
  • German Driver’s License
  • Vehicle purchase invoice
  • Certificate of Conformity (COC)
  • Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV)
  • Customs Declaration
  • Insurance Policy
  • Proof of Payment of Vehicle Tax

Step-by-Step Guide to Importing a Vehicle

  1. Obtain a Certificate of Conformity (COC) from the manufacturer.

  2. Obtain a Vehicle Purchase Invoice from the seller.

  3. Obtain a Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV) from a licensed inspection center.

  4. Obtain a Customs Declaration from the Customs Office.

  5. Obtain an Insurance Policy from an approved insurance company.

  6. Pay the Vehicle Tax at the Tax Office.

  7. Register the Vehicle with the local Vehicle Registration Office (Zulassungsstelle). Provide all the necessary documents, including the Vehicle Purchase Invoice, COC, TÜV, Customs Declaration, Insurance Policy, and proof of payment of the Vehicle Tax.

  8. The Zulassungsstelle will issue German registration plates and a Vehicle Registration Certificate.

Contact Details of Relevant Government Departments

If you need assistance with the import process, you can contact the following German government departments:

  • Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure: https://www.bmvi.de/
  • Customs Office: https://www.zoll.de/
  • Vehicle Registration Office (Zulassungsstelle): Contact information varies depending on the location.

Selling a Car in Germany

If you’re planning to sell a car in Germany, there are specific procedures and paperwork to follow.

Required Documents for Selling a Car in Germany

When selling a car in Germany, you need to provide the following documents:

  • Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV)
  • Sales Contract
  • Insurance Policy

Step-by-Step Guide to Selling a Car

  1. Obtain a Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV) from a licensed inspection center.

  2. Obtain an Insurance Policy from an approved insurance company.

  3. Complete a Sales Contract with the buyer.

  4. Provide the buyer with the Vehicle Registration Certificate, Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV), and Insurance Policy.

  5. The buyer needs to register the vehicle with the local Vehicle Registration Office (Zulassungsstelle) and obtain German registration plates.

  6. Submit a Notice of Transfer of Ownership to the Zulassungsstelle within 14 days of the sale.

Tips for Selling a Car in Germany

Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when selling a car in Germany:

  • Ensure the Vehicle Registration Certificate, Technical Inspection Certificate (TÜV), and Insurance Policy are up to date and valid.

  • Be honest about the condition of the car and disclose any defects or accidents.

  • Set a fair price based on the car’s condition, age, and mileage.

  • Meet the buyer in a public place and bring a friend or family member for safety.

  • Only accept cash or bank transfer as payment.

  • Once the sale is complete, submit a Notice of Transfer of Ownership to the Zulassungsstelle within 14 days.

Contact Details of Relevant Government Departments

If you need assistance with the selling process, you can contact the following German government departments:

  • Vehicle Registration Office (Zulassungsstelle): Contact information varies depending on the location.
  • Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure: https://www.bmvi.de/

Buying or importing a vehicle in Germany involves following specific procedures and providing the necessary paperwork. As a foreign national, it’s essential to have a German Driver’s License and understand the local regulations. Contacting the relevant government departments can help with any queries or issues during the process. Selling a car in Germany also involves specific paperwork, and being honest and transparent can ensure a smooth transaction.


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