Registering Your Car in Germany
If you live in Germany for more than 6 months, you are legally required to register your vehicle in Germany. Official government websites have limited information about the registration process… and it is all in German. This guide for expats explains (in English!) everything you need to know in order to register you car in Germany.
You will also have to pay motor vehicle tax (see below) and purchase car insurance.
Sections in this article:
Where to register your car
You can register your car at your local registration office (Kraftfahrzeug Zulassungsstelle). The German Federal Motor Transport Authority has a PDF on their website of all the registration offices. You can access their website here. It is important to note, however, that this list is in German.
You can also search for your local registration office here. Under “Behörden – Suche” type the name of the city where you are a resident. Then click search. You will find a list of registration offices in your city.
Necessary documents to register your car in Germany
When you go to your local registration office, you will need to bring several documents with you. The documents you will likely need to provide include the following:
- Valid driver’s license
- Registration certificate (proof that you’re registered at a German address)
- Certificate showing you own the car
- eVB number (You will receive this when you get car insurance.)
- Foreign registration certificate (for imported cars only)
- TÜV certificate (inspection to test if your car meets road & environmental safety regulations)
- SEPA direct debit form for vehicle tax payment
Provided you have all the necessary documents and they are approved, your local registration office will add your car’s information to the German register of vehicles. Afterwards, you will get a document that gives you permission to get a German license plate for your car.
Motor vehicle tax in Germany
Once you’ve registered your car in Germany, you will have to pay a motor vehicle tax. How much you’ll pay for the motor vehicle tax in Germany is based off 4 factors:
- Drive type (petrol, diesel, Wankel or electric)
- CO 2 emissions (two euros per gram per kilometre)
- Engine size/displacement
- You car’s emission class
SEPA form to pay vehicle tax
The SEPA direct debit form (Form #032021 PDF) you submit when you register your car will be used to pay the motor vehicle tax. The Main Customs Office is responsible for all matters related to your vehicle tax. They operate as the vehicle registration authority for motor vehicle taxes.
The amount you are required to pay is automatically taken from the bank account you indicated on your SEPA direct debit form. This amount is debited in advance for one year. In other words, you pay a lump sum for one year of your motor vehicle tax.
Car insurance (eVB number)
When you purchase car insurance, your car insurance provider gives you an eVB number. This number is proof that you have valid car insurance. You will need it to register your car in Germany.
In Germany, you can choose from 3 different types of car insurance: liability car insurance, partial car insurance and comprehensive car insurance.
Our article, “Car Insurance In Germany: What You Need To Know,” gives a complete (and simple!) explanation of car insurance in Germany. It’s the perfect guide for any expat.
Lastly, everyone living in Germany gets a German Tax ID Number. After you register your address with the local registration office, you will receive this number in the mail.
You’ll use your tax ID number when you pay for your motor vehicle tax and fill out your SEPA form.
Read more about what to do with your German tax ID number in our article, “German Tax ID Number: A Guide For Expats.”
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