How Much Does It Cost To Move From California To Germany?


There are many ways to move from California to Germany, but overseas shipping by container is likely to be your best option. When you move to Germany via sea transport, you can choose either a half-container (20 ft) or full-container (40 ft).

While you will need to work with a shipper to get a comprehensive quote, container shipping rates are available online and serve as a helpful baseline. To move a full container from California to Germany, you can expect to pay under $3,000. A half-container can be shipped for as little as $1,700. Note that these prices are for the container shipping only and do not reflect taxes and other associated fees.

There are several international ports in California, giving you access to options that could save you time and money. Whether you ship out of San Diego or San Francisco, or anywhere in between, working with an overseas moving company will ensure that you take advantage of these savings. Professional movers know all the secrets so they can get you the best deal.

Importing Household Goods to Germany

Not surprisingly, one of the first things people ask about when moving overseas is customs duty and taxes. It’s true that those taxes can lead to a lot of stress, particularly if you need to be able to plan and stick to a budget. Unwelcome surprises at the border can cost you thousands of dollars.

However, if you are moving to Germany permanently, you can import most household goods free of customs duty and taxes.

To qualify for tax and duty-free imports, you must provide documentation to demonstrate:

  • Official termination for your residence in California (such as a lease termination or sale agreements for your previous home in California)
  • Proof of new residence in Germany
  • Proof of residency in California for at least 12 months

Unfortunately, the laws governing immigration and customs change often. For this reason, if you choose not to work with an overseas moving company, you need to contact your local German embassy to receive the most current guidance.

Importing a Vehicle to Germany

If you are moving to Germany permanently, your vehicle can be imported tax and duty-free.

However, for vehicles manufactured for use in North America, modifications will be required for your steering, headlights, emissions, and potentially more. These modifications must be performed by a qualified mechanic.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, if you aren’t sure you want your vehicle to be modified, take a look online. If you are on the fence about whether or not you want to subject to your car to this modification, take a look at modified vehicles online. There’s a reason why they call them modifications and not upgrades. Stay open to the idea of selling your vehicle in the U.S. and buying another in Germany.

Once your vehicle has successfully arrived in the country and passed through customs and modification, you must register your vehicle in Germany. Vehicle registration in Germany requires:

  • Valid Passport or Other ID
  • Proof of Vehicle Ownership (free of liens or encumbrances)
  • Proof of Address in Germany
  • Customs Clearance
  • Export Permit
  • Vehicle Registration from your country of origin
  • Insurance Card
  • Proof of Roadworthiness and Emissions Testing
  • Certification from the German Federal Motor Vehicle Registry attesting that the vehicle has never been registered in Germany

Three Men and a Truck

Three Men and a Truck is a moving company with expertise in international and overseas moves. Whether it’s down the street or around the world, we have the connections and experience needed to ensure a smooth transfer. To learn more about how we can help you achieve the perfect move, contact us today for your free, no-obligation shipping quote.

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at

Ready to Move?

Get A Quote To Move

Contact an agent by filling out the fast quote form and get your next move started today!

Get a quote to move