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Moving to Germany requires careful planning and consideration and, above all else, a reliable international removal company.
Compare My Move can match you with up to 6 international removal companies so you can compare the costs and potentially save up to 70% on your removals to Germany. Germany has previously been listed as the 4th most popular British Expat location and with great health care, free education and the annual Oktoberfest, is it any wonder why?
Choosing a company to carry out your European move is of the utmost importance. We aim to find you the very best deal with our directory of verified and experienced movers. The great thing about finding your international removal company with us is that we’ve completed all the checks for you.
We only work with trusted, qualified and fully insured movers to ensure you and your belongings are protected throughout the entire process. Use our simple, time-saving online form and you’ll receive competitive quotes for the job.
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Consider the freight options for removals to Germany.
Willkommen in Deutschland
Your chosen removal company will assess the volume of your items during a free home survey and advise on the recommended freight options to Germany. The 3 main options available are:
If you opt for road freight to Germany, you will normally use the Euro Tunnel and complete the journey by road. Germany is noted for its vast and efficient road network, which means there will usually be many different routes to choose from if you decide upon road freight to Germany.
The most commonly-chosen option is generally road due to its affordability.
Air freight to Germany is another option as the number of major airports in the country makes it a suitable choice for many. One of the drawbacks of opting for air freight to Germany is that prices are normally worked out by weight instead of space. Furthermore, you may be hit hard by sizable handling and insurance costs.
It’s important to note that air freight can actually be 12-16 times more expensive than sea freight.
Costs for moving your goods to Germany by shipping container can be difficult to work out, though most people living in a 2-3 bedroom home will be well-catered for by a 20ft container. However, you may need to opt for a 40ft container if you have more to move or need to transport a car with sea-based freight shipping to Germany.
To move a 40ft container from London to Hamburg, you could be looking at an average cost of around £547, with the travel time taking over 1 day.
Germany is not short of options when it comes to shipping and transporting items. The cost of your removals to Germany can vary substantially, depending on a number of factors including how much you are shipping and which shipping method you decide to use.
Shipping by road can cost between £1,900 and £2,700
Sea freight shipping can cost between £3,100 and £4,300
These figures don’t include costs for insurance, quarantine inspections, custom fees and duties or taxes and assume special items such as pianos are included. Furthermore, it is assumed that easy access to both your UK home and German property is available.
It’s important to be aware of all prohibitions and restrictions when you are planning to import goods into Germany. You will need to find out which items you need to declare to the German customs office as well as what the national COVID-19 regulations are at the time of your house move.
As the UK is classed as a ‘high-incidence area’, only British citizens who are fully vaccinated may enter Germany. From 1st August 2021, any travellers aged 12-years old and above must provide proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test before arrival. As the risk of COVID-19 is still present worldwide, this may change fairly quickly so it’s vital you keep up to date on travel advice and restrictions.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you may only enter Germany if you’re a German citizen or resident or if you are the spouse/partner/child under 18 of a German citizen or resident. If you serve in an important role or have an urgent need to travel but are not vaccinated, there may be the potential for you to enter the country.
The vast majority of personal goods won’t present you with any problems, though you may be prohibited or restricted from importing others by the German Customs Administration, even when these items are transferred within the European Union. Although you won’t be surprised to learn that items such as illegal and some medical drugs and weapons are blacklisted.
Any cash or assets worth more than €10,000 need to be declared as you could face a fine of up to €1,000,000 if you don’t alert the authorities to them.
You will need to pay duty on alcohol or cigarettes if they exceed permitted volumes and quantities.
You will need to meet various requirements in order to import furniture and household goods without being met with import duties. You must be planning to take up official residence in the country, must have owned the items for a minimum of 6 months and must have lived in the UK for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.
The goods must be for personal use only and you won’t be able to sell them until you have been a resident in Germany for 1 year. If you are importing particularly costly items, the customs office may require a deposit until they are re-exported.
Pornographic materials can be problematic and you won’t be able to import anything featuring “unconstitutional” content. There are also complex German customs regulations about plants and pets.
It is incredibly important to ensure your goods are safe and secure when being moved from one location to another, whether you’re moving overseas or not. It’s also advised that you start packing as early as possible as the process often takes longer than expected.
Starting at the top of the house and working your way downwards is a wise move, as is packing any items in small boxes to make transportation easier. You should try and minimise the weight of individual boxes as much as you possibly can and concentrate on packing 1 room at a time before moving your belongings to Germany.
Make sure you label each box with what it contains and which room it is for. Any boxes that contain fragile items should be labelled appropriately. Heavier items should be placed towards the bottom of the box with lighter goods on top. Bubble wrap can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to protecting breakables, whilst blankets and pillows can also defend furniture from damage. All important documents should be kept in a safe place.
Enlisting the services of professionals to help with your international move can save a great deal of time and money, whilst ensuring your goods remain safe during transit. Professional moving companies also have specialist equipment to help you reduce the risk of damage and unforeseen costs. For more information, you can read our international removals guides for valuable advice on moving your belongings to Germany.
If your stay in the country is temporary, you will be able to drive it in Germany for a maximum of 6 months with your home licence plates and registration. However, it is advisable to source a German version of the registration documentation. Most cars or other motor vehicles imported to Germany from outside the EU will be subject to a 10% import duty and a 19% import value-added tax.
You will need to organise car taxes and registration if you are staying in Germany for more than 6 months. The Zollamt (customs office) can help you with this. People heading to Germany to study will not need to register or pay car tax.
Registration after importing a car to Germany normally costs between €26 - €58. The amount of tax you will need to pay will depend on the size or age of your vehicle. The cash is to the Customs Office on an annual basis.
You need to contact the Customs Office to find out exactly what documentation you will need, but this will often include a photo ID, your residence registration papers, proof of ownership and proof that your car is roadworthy if it is more than 3 years old.
You will also need proof of insurance and a receipt from when you purchased the vehicle and a European Certificate of Conformity when importing a car to Germany.
There are strict rules in place when it comes to moving pets to Germany. Though pets are welcome for free on most public transport, you will need to inform the airline before flying with them.
You will usually require a ventilated travelling container with a waterproof bottom that enables your pets to move and lie down. Make sure you label the container correctly so they don’t get lost and ensure they have enough food and water. It’s wise to read the International Air Transport Association (IATA) rules before travelling by air with your pet.
For small pets, you may be able to take your pet in the passenger cabin, though the container will usually have to fit under the seat in front of you. Though your pet will likely be ‘live cargo’ in the cargo hold for transport.
German pet import doesn’t have to be complex, but you must complete all the relevant paperwork in advance or your pet could be quarantined. Make sure your pet is vaccinated for rabies before you leave the UK. The authorities will require evidence that a vaccination took place at least 21 days before the journey. Cats and dogs need to be at least 15 weeks old before they can enter the country and they will need a microchip that identifies them.
Some dog breeds and crossbreeds are banned for import, including so-called ‘fighting’ or ‘dangerous’ breeds such as Staffordshire bull terriers and pit bull terriers. Whether you’re moving dogs to Germany or transporting any other kind of pet, it’s vital that you read up on what is expected of you before your journey.
You will not require a German Residence Permit if you are from an EU country. Those entering the country from outside of the EU will require a permit if they plan on staying longer than 90 days. As the UK has officially left the EU, British citizens will require a German Residence Permit when moving house.
There are 3 different types of residence permit available, one of which is the Temporary Residence Permit. This permit is designed for short stays of up to a year and specifies which activities you are permitted to engage in, which can include work or study.
EU Blue Cards are designed for foreign nationals from non-EU countries who have valuable skills in fields, such as science and technology, and wish to work in Germany.
The Permanent Residence Permit is for those who wish to stay in the country permanently and travel in and out of it as often as they like. These permits are mainly given to those who have EU Blue Cards or have held temporary permits for several years. People with permanent residence permits can stay in Germany with their spouses and children.
If you are an EU or EEA citizen, you won’t need a German visa or a residence permit to live, work or study in Germany. However, you will still need to register at the resident’s registration office within 3 months of the move and you will need to take your passport and proof of residency with you.
Those that do not have EU/EEA citizenship but are closely related to someone in the country that does, can apply for a German visa. If you are not from the EU or EEA and are staying for more than 90 days, you will either need a visa or a residence permit depending on which country you are from. As the UK has officially left the EU, most British citizens will now require a visa or permit when moving to Germany.
There are several different types of visas available - which kind of German visa application you need will depend on the nature of your visit. Common German visa types include the Working Visa, the Studying and Language Learning Visa, the Germany Schengen Visa and the Job Seeker Visa.
EU nationals shouldn’t face any difficulties with opening a bank account in Germany, but if you’re a non-EU national moving to the country, you will need to show a German work permit and prove your registration.
You have a better chance of getting a German bank account if you have a detailed financial history and an employment contract. You will typically be required to open your account in person at the branch or a post office if you’re opening an account with an online-only German bank.
Mail sent to your old UK address can be forwarded to any German address for up to a year but you will need to pay a modest fee to Royal Mail. You will need to tell HMRC that you are planning to leave and inform your utility providers of the date you are moving.
You also need to set up your utilities a few weeks before the big move. Your new home will normally be connected to gas, water and electricity providers so the process should be as straightforward as it would be in the UK.