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Germany - Importing your goods

Importing your goods in Germany

Importing goods into Germany is surprisingly not as complicated or as bureaucratic as in many other countries. While there are restrictions on the import of animals, certain substances and weapons (*), general descriptions such as 'household effects' or 'personal effects' are sufficient labels for your unaccompanied goods.
The moving company we used packed our goods for us. Each box was numbered and had a general description of the items inside on the invoice.

One sticky point is that the moving company you use may not allow the goods into the country until you give them a permanent (non-hotel) address for delivery.

Author's note: When our goods arrived, we got a call from customs to make sure that we hadn't packed any food in our shipment. That was the most rigorous questioning we were aware of, but then again we hired a moving company to take care of things for us.

(*) see also  in Immigration
Custom Regulations
Duty-free Shopping
Importing an Automobile or Other Vehicle
Pets Paperwork
Quarantine Requirements
Vaccination Requirements
Vaccinations Required for Pets
What is not Allowed

Import restrictions

Duty free limits

The following duty free limits apply to people travelling into the EU. *Note: the Canary Islands, French provinces, and the Channel Islands are considered part of the EU for customs purposes.


Travellers over 17 can carry up to
200 cigarettes or
100 Zigarillos or
50 cigars or
250 grams tobacco or
a compilation of the above.


Travellers over 17 can carry up to
1 litre of spirits with an alcoholic content of over 22% or
1 litre of ethylalcohol with an alcoholic content over 80% or
2 litres of spirits or aperitifs or
2 litres of a similar beverage with an alcoholic content of 22% or less or
2 litres of sparkling wine or liqueur wine or one of each, and 2 litres of non-sparkling wine


500 grams of roast coffee or 200 grams of instant coffee


500 grams of perfume and 25 litres eau de toilette.


Personal doses of medicine.

175 euros worth of "other goods".

If a single, indivisible item goes over the tax-free amount, then tax has to be paid on the whole value of the item. No tax-free amount is given to items used for business reasons.

Absolute restrictions

Since January 2003 restrictions have tightened on the import of meat, milk and dairy products to the EU. Exceptions are made for infant foods and diabetic foods in unopened packets. Also fish and fish products, and products containing milk or cream-like sweets, chocolate or biscuits are not affected by the new rules.

In addition to the above restrictions, you also cannot carry (live) animals, plants or parts thereof, particularly if they are protected species. Souvenirs made of coral and shells must be surrendered to customs. Do not believe what the seller of the product tells you, believe what the German customs officials tell you!

A list is available from:

Bundesamt für Naturschutz
Konstantinstr. 110
53179 Bonn
0228 - 84910

You are also not allowed to carry over 15,000 euros worth of cash in the form of securities, cheques, bills, precious metal und gemstones. This law is due to attempts to constrain organised crime and money laundering.

Trafficking of illegal drugs is of course not allowed!

Other restricted or prohibited items

- firearms and ammunition (weapons of riflemen, hunting weapons, prohibited items)

- fireworks
- literature of unconstitutional content
- pornography
- food
- narcotics
- medicines
- dangerous dogs (fighting dogs)
- pets, products made from animals
- endangered species
- plants
counterfeit/pirated goods