Import rules and regulations for Japanese used vehicles in Germany

Japanese automobile industry is one of the popular automobile industries in the world. With Japanese vehicles come extreme reliability, good quality and safety. Time and again, with various test, Japanese automakers have proven that they are better than other makers across the world. The result speaks itself for the hard work and determination poured by automobile manufacturers. And that’s why there are around millions of Japanese vehicles across the world. Not only new vehicles, even used automobile sector of the country is famous among masses across the world. Almost all countries import vehicles from Japan. Likewise, Germany a European nation import used vehicles from Japan.


Germany is located in west-central Europe that stretches from the Alps, across the North European Plain to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. During vehicle importation, it is important for the importer to follow the country’s import rules and regulations. Importation of left-hand drive vehicles is permitted in Germany.

Technical Inspection (Fahrzeug-Hauptuntersuchung, common “TUV”) is required on vehicles imported in Germany. When registering a vehicle in the country, Technical Inspection certificate is required.

Documents for customs clearance:-

  • Copy of passport
  • Residence Registration Confirmation
  • Copy of certificate of Title and Registration
  • Proof of Ownership such as bill of sale, commercial Invoice- required for vehicles in the owner’s possession less than 6 months
  • Insurance Card – from origin country
  • Third Party Liability Insurance – initiated at Customs clearance

Taxation in Germany:-
Duties and taxes on used vehicles will be 12% of CIF and VAT of 16% of CIF including the duty. Every motor vehicle registered in Germany is subject to a special motor vehicle tax (Kfz-Steuer). The first payment must be paid soon after registering the vehicle.

Exemption on duty is given, provided the following conditions are satisfied:-

  • The importer must have lived outside the European Union (EU) for at least a year
  • The vehicle must be bought outside EU and have driven for at least six months before its importation
  • The importer must be a registered citizen of Germany
  • The vehicle is intended for personal use only
  • The importer should keep the vehicle for at least one year following its importation

It is allowed to drive the imported vehicle with the home license plates and registration if one imported the vehicle for temporary basis i.e. for a period of up to 12 months. Registration document with German translation is required. If one is staying for a longer period, then the vehicle must be registered at local Kfz-Zulassungsstelle. Once the duties and taxes are paid, a customs receipt or clearance certificate (Zollquittung) or otherwise a permit of customs exemption (Unbedenklichkeitsbe-scheinigung) is issued. It is required while registration of the vehicle.

Documents required for registering the vehicle:-

  • Proof of identity and residence such as passport, residence registration receipt. Only residents and resident companies may register a car, either by themselves or through an authorized representative, who must submit a letter of attorney
  • Proof of ownership e.g. Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice
  • Customs clearance certificate (Zollbescheinigung) stating payment of or exemption (Unbedenklichkeitsbe-scheinigung) of relevant taxes and duties
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • TUV certificate
  • Insurance confirmation

Shipping Ports:-
Major shipping ports in Germany are Hamburg and Bremerhaven. Generally, RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) shipping method is used for shipment of vehicle. However, on request of customers more expensive yet safe method of shipping, container shipment method is used.


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