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Germany Import Guide

A complete guide for importing goods into Germany.

The Federal Republic of Germany, or Germany, is the second most populous country in Europe with over 83 million people across nearly 360,000 square kilometers. Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world (by GDP) and has the seventeenth highest income per capita according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is also the third largest importer of goods and third largest exporter of goods worldwide.

Key Info

Country code (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2): DE
Country code top-level domain (ccTLD): .de
Currency (ISO4217): Euro (EUR)
World Trade Organization (WTO) Status: Member

Duty & Tax Information

Duty is payable on goods imported into Germany from outside of the European Union (EU) for both commercial and private imports. The ad valorem Most Favored Nation (MFN) duty rates range from 0% to 17% with a weighted mean of 1.5% (2020). The Cost, Insurance, Freight (CIF) valuation method is used to calculate duty and a number of goods are exempt from duty (such as books and some electronic goods).

The standard VAT rate for importing into Germany is 19%, which is applied to most goods and services. However, some goods and services are exempt from, or attract a reduced VAT rate. VAT is calculated on the combined cost of the value of the import and any import duty payable. In 2021, the EU introduced the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) program to help simplify the declaration and payment of VAT for goods sold by international sellers. More information about the IOSS can be found on the taxation customs IOSS website.

Excise is charged on alcohol and tobacco products.

Minimum Thresholds

Germany has a duty de minimis of €150 EUR, below which no import duty is payable. VAT and excise are both payable on all imports, including those below the duty de minimis.

Prohibited Goods

Germany has a comprehensive list of restricted and prohibited goods, including:

  • Automatic firearms and explosives
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Flick knives
  • Goods bearing false origin statements

Some goods can be imported with the correct licensing, while others are fully prohibited. An extensive list of restricted and prohibited goods can be found on the Zoll restrictions website.

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