October 2019: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

October 2019: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

October 2019: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

From online vehicle registrations to hedge trimming regulations (yes, you read that right), there’s plenty of “new” to get used to this October! Here’s an overview of some important changes affecting expats in Germany. 

1. Car registration goes online 

Phase three of Germany’s i-Kfz project will be launched this October, meaning that drivers in Germany will at long last be able to complete lots of their car admin digitally. From October 1, it will be possible to register, re-register or deregister a vehicle, change registered owners and update registered addresses online. 

You will, however, need an identity card with an online function, a PIN and a card reader or mobile phone with an NFC chip. The online service is also only available for cars that were first registered after January 1, 2015. Still, it’s a step in the right direction … 

2. New questions for driving theory test

Anyone learning how to drive in Germany will have to reckon with a new bank of questions from October 1. 48 questions from the previous theoretical examination have been revised or replaced with new ones. If you are studying hard for your driving licence, then make sure your source material is up to date - otherwise you might get some nasty surprises when it comes to your test day. 

3. New system for quality control in nursing homes

The new “Pflege-TÜV” will replace MDK scores to evaluate the quality of 13.000 inpatient nursing homes nationwide. The MDK scores have been heavily criticised for allegedly inflating grades and failing to reflect reality. 

Under the new quality control system, external auditors will examine important criteria such as nutrition, personal care and wound care. The results of the quality checks will be published by health insurance funds and long-term care insurers, as well as online, making it easier for people to find a good nursing home.  

4. Clocks go back

The European Union has pledged to phase it out, just not quite yet: once again this year, the clocks will be reset in October as summer daylight saving time comes to an end. At 3am on the night between Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27, the clock will be set back an hour (it’s the good one - you get an extra hour of sleep!) The EU parliament has agreed that the time change will officially be abolished from 2021. 

5. eBay sellers must provide proof of sales tax

From October 1, 2019, commercial sellers who trade on eBay will have to provide a record of sales tax (Umsatzsteuer - a type of business tax in Germany) to the platform. The new regulation is the result of stricter requirements being imposed on online marketplaces to make sure their users are paying VAT. To prevent their accounts from becoming blocked, commercial sellers must upload a picture of their sales tax certificate from the tax office

6. Hedge trimming allowed again

This would only be news in Germany… Fear not folks, for from October 1 you can once again trim your hedges to your heart’s content. In case you didn’t already know, Article 39 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act prohibits the “excessive” trimming of “hedges, living fences, bushes and other woody plants in the period from March 1 to September 30”, in order to preserve the habitats of birds. From the beginning of October, however, you’re free to get out those pruning shears and go wild.



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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