Customs formalities

Living in Europe, Working in Europe | Entry conditions/visas | Germany



When entering Germany from an EU Member State, goods for private consumption can be carried free of charge. However, restrictions may apply to certain goods.


Further information:

Travel within the European Union.



Customs formalities may vary depending on whether you stay in Germany temporarily and keep your normal place of residence in a non-EU country or you move your normal place of residence to Germany:


Most German airports have a green and a red customs exit.

You should use use the green "Nothing to declare" exit if you only carry goods up to a total value of 430 euros.

If you carry in your luggage goods for personal use that exceed the value of 430 euros, it is recommendable to take the red exit in order to register the goods at the customs office and, if necessary, to pay customs duties.

In principle, goods for personal use can be admitted free of import duties provided that it can be credibly explained that the following criteria are met:

  • Your normal place of residence is in a non-EU country;
  • You will be staying in Germany temporarily;
  • The goods are part of your professional equipment, which will be fully taken out of Germany after completion of your research stay.


If you are asked to pay customs duties, keep all receipts and immediately make an application for refund of customs duties. The application can be submitted by means of the customs form 0223 (in German) or be made informally.

Further information can be found under Erlass- bzw. Erstattungsverfahren (in German only).


For a stay of up to 24 months, the temporary importation procedure (in German: Zollverfahren der vorübergehenden Verwendung) may be used. This allows for a full or partial exemption from import duties.


Furter information:





Gifts worth up to 45 euros which are sent by one private individual to another can be admitted free of customs duties under certain circumstances.

A simplified calculation of charges by means of a flat rate of duty may be applied if the value of the goods does not exceed 700 euros.

In the case of Internet orders, orders of goods valued up to 150 euros will have sales tax charged at the rate of 19 percent or 7 percent and, if applicable, the excise duty. Exempt from this rule are cases where the sales tax on the goods amounts to less than one euro. 

For a value of more than 150 euros, the duties are calculated according to the valid tariff.


Further information: