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Import goods from EU countries to Germany

If you enter or return to Germany from a Member State of the European Union (EU), you can bring the goods purchased there tax-free and without customs formalities. However, certain products subject to excise duty, such as coffee, alcohol or tobacco products, are subject to indicative quantities up to which, in principle, use for private purposes is accepted.

The indicative quantities for tax-free bringing from other EU Member States for private purposes are:

  • in the case of tobacco products

    • Cigarettes: 800 pieces
    • Cigarillos: 400 pieces
    • Cigars: 200 pieces
    • Smoking tobacco: 1 kilogram
  • for alcoholic beverages

    • Alcohol for drinking purposes (such as brandy, whisky, rum, vodka): 10 litres
    • alcoholic sweet drinks (alcopops): 10 litres
    • Intermediate products (such as sherry, port and marsala): 20 litres
    • Sparkling wine: 60 litres
    • Beer: 110 litres
  • with coffee

    • Coffee: 10 kilograms
    • Coffee-containing goods: 10 kilograms
  • for fuels

    • for vehicles, special containers, machinery and equipment and refrigeration and air conditioning systems: the quantity in the main container and up to 20 litres in spare containers of a vehicle.

These indicative quantities may be used cumulatively. This means, for example, that you can bring several types of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages at the same time up to the target quantity set for your own consumption.

Exceeding indicative quantities - commercial movement

If the goods you are carrying exceed the indicative quantities, a commercial purpose is assumed by law, irrespective of the other criteria. You can disprove this presumption by proving that you personally use the goods you bring with you for private purposes. In doing so, you must demonstrate that you meet the condition for a tax exemption.

Otherwise, there will be a transfer for commercial purposes. This means that you have to pay excise duty on your goods. If you cannot refute the fact that you are moving the goods for commercial purposes, customs will ensure that you bring your goods with you. In this case, you must immediately declare the goods you have brought with you and pay the excise duty.

If you are unsure whether the goods you bring exceed the indicative quantities, please contact customs directly.

Areas with special customs or tax regulations

The following areas are part of the national territory but are not part of the customs and tax territory of the EU. Imports from these territories are subject to the rules for entry from non-EU Member States. Goods from these areas are therefore exempt only if they do not exceed the travel allowances for goods from non-EU countries. If the travel allowances are exceeded, customs duties, import vat and possible excise duties are levied:

  • Helgoland and Büsingen,
  • Faroe Islands and Greenland,
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Valais and Futuna, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Saint-Barthélemy,
  • Livigno
  • Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten,
  • Ceuta and Melilla,
  • Gibraltar and
  • the northern (Turkish) part of the Republic of Cyprus, in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise any effective control.

Areas with special tax regulations

The following areas are part of the customs territory, but not the EU tax territory. The rules apply to entries from non-EU Member States. If you do not meet the requirements for tax-free transfer for private purposes, you must pay import sales taxes and possibly excise duties:

  • Canary Islands (excise duty and import VAT),
  • The British Channel Islands (excise and import VAT),
  • French overseas departments (Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe, Réunion, Saint-Martin and French Guiana) (excise and import VAT),
  • Aland Islands (excise and import VAT),
  • Mount Athos in Greece (excise and import VAT) and
  • Campione d'Italia (Italy) and the Italian part of Lake Lugano between Ponte Tresa and Porto Ceresoi (import VAT).

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)

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