Registering a vehicle in Germany

Registering a vehicle in Germany

Registering a vehicle in Germany

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:  

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.

Read also

  • Driving in Germany

    Driving in Germany

    Everything about cars and driving in Germany: driver's licences, learning to drive, registering cars, taxes, insurance, inspections / TÜV & importing cars.
    read more
  • Driving licence in Germany

    Driving licence in Germany

    How long can you use foreign driving licences in Germany? How do you exchange, replace or renew your licence? All the info expats need on driver's licences.
    read more
  • Importing & Exporting vehicles in Germany

    Importing & Exporting vehicles in Germany

    Looking to import your car to Germany, or export your German car to a different country? There are some rules, taxes & fees you need to be aware of.
    read more
  • Learning how to drive in Germany

    Learning how to drive in Germany

    Learning to drive in Germany is done through a driving school and involves taking an eye test & first aid course, as well as theory and practical exams.
    read more
  • German motor vehicle tax & Emissions badges

    German motor vehicle tax & Emissions badges

    Vehicle taxes & emissions badges in Germany: what are they, who needs them, how do you get one and how much do they cost?
    read more
  • Car insurance in Germany

    Car insurance in Germany

    Expats driving in Germany need car insurance (third-party, partial or comprehensive). Find out how to take out car insurance and get an eVB number.
    read more
  • The German autobahn

    The German autobahn

    Discover history, traffic laws and facts & figures in our guide to driving on the German autobahn, world-famous as the highway without a speed limit.
    read more
  • Private insurance in Germany

    Private insurance in Germany

    Information of different types of private insurance in Germany, with links to comparison sites and recommended, expat-friendly insurance providers.
    read more
  • Transportation in Germany

    Transportation in Germany

    A guide to the German public transportation system for expats: public transport (S- & U-Bahn, tram), taxis, trains, coaches, long-distance buses & driving.
    read more
  • German road signs

    German road signs

    Drivers in Germany should be familiar with the different German road signs and their meanings, including warning, regulation, guide and supplemental signs.
    read more
  • German periodic technical inspection (Hauptuntersuchung / TÜV)

    German periodic technical inspection (Hauptuntersuchung / TÜV)

    Make sure your car meets German safety requirements by having a technical inspection (TÜV): where to get one, the cost and what to do if your car fails.
    read more