Customs Duty

Personal effects

You do not normally have to pay customs duty for the import of your private household goods. Items (including private cars) that you can import duty-free when moving to Stuttgart are classed as personal effects for custom purposes. The items must meet certain conditions to be classed as personal effects.

However, personal effects remain under customs surveillance for twelve months. This means that the goods must not be handed over to any other person during this period (loaned, pledged, rented, sold or given as a gift). If this condition is not met, the exemption from customs duty no longer applies and the customs duty is charged.

The following constitute personal effects:
  • Household goods , i.e. all personal belongings, such as household textiles, bed and table linen, furniture as well as appliances that you need for your own personal use.
  • All kinds of private vehicles, i.e. vehicles and motorcycles, cars (possibly with trailers), camping trailers, pleasure boats and private aircraft (a certificate issued by the relevant foreign authorities should provide evidence that the vehicle or aircraft was registered for use in the appropriate country in your name).
  • Household provisions , provided that they do not exceed the quantities appropriate to normal family requirements - these quantities should be based on the requirements at the old place of residence.
  • Pets and animals used for riding.
  • Portable instruments and equipment for skilled and professional activities provided they are needed to exercise your profession. 
The following do not constitute personal belongings:
  • Alcoholic products;
  • Tobacco and tobacco products;
  • Commercial vehicles;
  • Commercially used items other than portable instruments and equipment for skilled and professional activities.

Entry from an EU state:

If you are entering Germany from an EU state you can bring your private household goods with you without any customs formalities.

However: There are specific areas within the EU where the simplified provisions for travel between EU states do not apply as they are not part of the EU customs territory: Territories with special arrangements

Entry from a non-EU state:

If you are entering from a non-EU state you must register your personal effects.

You will find precise regulations on the customs office website.


If you come to Germany directly from a non-EU state and bring cash worth a total value of € 10,000 or more, you must register this in writing on arrival with the customs office.

If you come to Germany via another member state of the European Union and bring cash or an equivalent means of payment worth a total value of € 10,000 or more, you only need to declare this verbally to the customs officers on demand.
Further information:
The customs office website.