Whether you’ve bought a car in Germany or imported one from abroad, you will need to register it with your local car registration office before you can start driving.
How to register your car in Germany
All cars in Germany must be registered with the competent authority in the area where the car’s owner lives. This applies even if you move to a different city within Germany, due to the fact that all German number plates display a code indicating where the car is registered (e.g. B for Berlin or HH for Hamburg).
If you bought your car through a dealership, they will normally handle its registration for you. If you bought the car privately or have imported it, you will need to register it yourself by booking an appointment at your local car registration office (Kraftfahrzeug Zulassungsstelle). The registration costs around 30 euros.
Documents required to register a car in Germany
There are several documents and proofs that are required for the registration of a vehicle. Depending on your situation, you may have to take some extra steps to obtain these documents. The required paperwork usually includes the following:
- Valid ID (a German passport, foreign one or an ID card)
- Registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung)
- Proof of ownership (part II of the car’s registration certificate)
- Proof of car insurance (eVB number)
- Certificate of conformity (if applicable)
- Foreign registration certificate (for imported cars only)
- Proof of roadworthiness following technical inspection (TÜV certificate)
- SEPA direct debit mandate for payment of vehicle tax
At the appointment, all your paperwork will be checked. If everything is in order, your vehicle will be entered into the German register of vehicles and you will be provided with a seal of registration (Stempelplakette) for your car’s number plates.
Getting German licence plates for your car
Once you receive this approval, you can have your licence plates printed at an Autoschilder. You can have this done anywhere that offers this service; the printing of plates is not regulated in Germany as the seal of registration is what makes them valid. Plates generally cost somewhere between 15 and 20 euros.
Once printed, you can take the plates back to the vehicle registry to have the official seal applied. You can then fit the plates to your car and take to the roads.
Paying vehicle tax
Once you have registered your vehicle, you will automatically receive a tax notification from the customs office (Zollamt), telling you the amount of vehicle tax you must pay and how to make payment.