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

how much does it cost to move to germany


If you are moving internationally for the first time, you probably think that you will have to leave most of your belongings behind. If the cost of your international plane ticket is thousands of dollars, how much more could it be to try to ship your whole home? The truth is, moving internationally via shipping container can be more economical than you think. So, how much does it cost to move to Germany? Here’s what you need to know:

Shipping Rates to Germany

When you move to Germany via sea transport, you can choose either a half-container or full-container. The half-container offers 20 feet of space, and the full-container gives you the whole 40 feet. While you will need to work with a shipper to get a comprehensive quote, container shipping rates to Germany are available online and serve as a helpful baseline. To move a full container from New York to Germany, you can expect to pay under $3,000. A half-container can be shipped for as little as $1,700. Moving from the West Coast? You should still be able to ship your container for less than $3,000.

Cost of Importing Household Goods Into Germany

One of the first things people ask about when moving overseas is whether they will owe customs duty and taxes. Unwelcome surprises at the border can cost you thousands of dollars or force you to surrender prohibited items.

Moving overseas involves a lot of moving parts and you will need to carefully choose which items to bring and which items to leave behind. Every item that you pack for shipping must be carefully inventoried, with detailed lists describing the contents of each individual box.

The best part is, if you are making Germany your permanent home, you can import your household goods free of custom and border taxes. All you have to do is qualify. To qualify for tax and duty-free imports, you must provide the following documents:

  • Official termination for your residence in the U.S. (such as a lease termination or sale agreements for your previous home in the U.S.), along with proof that you lived in the U.S. for at least a year.
  • Proof of new residence in Germany (a lease agreement, Einwohnermeldeamt [German police registration], or a letter from your German employer.)

Because the laws governing immigration and customs are subject to change, you should always reach out to your local German embassy for current guidance. This can keep you informed of any changes that may impact your move.

Cost of Importing A Vehicle Into Germany

If you are moving to Germany from the USA permanently, your vehicle can be imported tax and duty-free. (Note: This tax exemption pertains to customs only. Germany has other taxes associated with vehicle ownership that you cannot avoid.)

Unfortunately, for vehicles manufactured for use in North America, modifications will be required to meet German vehicle safety standards. These modifications could be to your steering, headlights, emissions, brakes, or tires. These modifications can be expensive and must be performed by a qualified mechanic. If you are on the fence about whether or not you want to subject to your car to this modification, look it up online. The results can be quite unattractive and you may even feel that your car has been ruined. You may end up choosing to purchase a vehicle in Germany when you arrive.

Once your vehicle has successfully arrived and been processed through customs, 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 your New Address in Germany
  • Customs Clearance
  • Export Permit
  • Vehicle Registration from the U.S.
  • 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

Moving internationally is a big deal but it doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. Working with an overseas moving company will lighten your load and give you peace of mind. Three Men and a Truck offers personalized service to make your international move a seamless transfer. Contact us today for your free cheap moving 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

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