Moving To Germany

If you are moving to Germany, it should be exciting; but it can be stressful too. International relocation requires extensive research and thorough planning. You need a professional team with expertise in overseas shipping from the USA to Germany to ensure your goods arrive safely and with the proper documentation in order. As a leading specialist in the industry, International Sea & Air Shipping is thoroughly acquainted with the different processes and requirements unique to each country.

Whether you’re a returning citizen, new immigrant, or temporary visitor, you will need an experienced company for every step while shipping to Germany. At International Sea & Air Shipping, we provide specialized services door to door. Shipping to Germany was never so easy. Let us make your experience seamless and hassle-free.

How International Sea & Air Shipping can help for moving to Germany

At International Sea & Air Shipping, we specialize in household shipping, including shipping personal effects and household goods, packing services and export crating, and internationally shipping cars and boats. Whether leaving the United States for Germany or from Germany to the United States, you can count on us to handle everything smoothly and professionally from beginning to end.

When planning your move to Germany, you’re likely to encounter an over whelming number of options. In such a competitive industry, it’s hard to differentiate one relocation company from another. When making your shortlist, check that the company is registered with an industry body, such as the FMC Federal Maritime Commission or IAM International Association of Movers. You should also consider any personal recommendations and online testimonials. Once you’re down to a few options, speak personally to each company on the phone and ask the key questions about your move, such as what happens if something goes wrong, if an itemized quote can be provided and who your point of contact will be. If you’re not happy with the answers, choose another company.

Another important question is whether you should hire an international relocation company. This question largely depends on how much time you have and costs, as international moving companies typically take care of any potential issue that may arise which is ideal for time-strapped expats – but maybe not for tight budgets. How, then, do you decide which is the best international moving company and relocation option for you?

At International Sea & Air Shipping, we use our knowledge and experience to help you relocate across the globe with ease. As a international moving company, we staff our team with licensed, bonded, insured and trained moving professionals and can ensure your move to Germany is as smooth as can be, from door-to-door. With our 24/7 customer service and shipment tracking capabilities, you can rest easy your belongings are in good hands.

About Germany

A country long associated with valor and rich history, Germany has charm that encompasses nature, arts, culture and cuisine.

The Western European nation is teeming with numerous internationally acclaimed orchestras, theaters, concert halls, museums and exhibitions. Germany also boasts many beautiful natural attractions, especially in the Alpine region, including lakes, mountains, parks, and waterfalls. It has its own distinctive and delicious cuisine, the finest beers and wines, and is known for its robust leads in the world of soccer and other games.

Germany is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 62nd largest in the world. It shares land borders with Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland. The country boasts world’s fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest by purchasing power parity. Germany is the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods.

As we have mentioned earlier, Germany offers one of the best quality of life in the whole world to its citizens. This is reiterated in the Mercer Quality of Life Survey 2018. This annual survey covered 231 cities in the whole world and there were 7 cities from Germany that ranked in the world’s top 30 cities for offering the best quality of living. Out of these 7 cities Munich, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt even ranked in the top 10!

Cities in Germany even ranked high when it comes to the standard of infrastructure, public transport availability and operation, overall traffic congestion and also airport effectiveness. Here is a tentative list of the best cities you can consider to move in Germany from the USA

  • Berlin – The capital city
  • Hamburg – A famous port city with intricate bridges crossing all over the city
  • Munich – Known for the famous Oktoberfest
  • Frankfurt – Known for fast paced life and the sky-scrappers
  • Stuttgart – Economically flourishing and naturally charming

Custom Regulations for Germany

Note: entry requirement depend on the country of origin.

  • Copy of Passport (the page showing photo)
  • Copy of Visa and/or Work Permit (for foreign citizens only)
    • Foreign citizens must obtain a Work Permit (Arberterlaubnis) issued by the local employment office
    • Residence Visa (not needed for German nationals) or Residence Permit (granted only after a Work Permit has been issued)
  • Inventory (original) in German or English, valued, dated and signed by the customer
  • Signed declaration, stating the imported goods are the owner’s personal effects
  • Signed declaration, stating the imported goods are not subject to any Customs restrictions (e.g. drugs, weapons, etc.)
  • Signed declaration that no taxable high value goods (such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, guns, etc.) are in shipment. Such goods must be listed separately and will be taxed.
  • Statement of Transfer from employer (in German if possible)- should state the shipper was an employee for the company abroad, how long he/she has lived in this country, and how long he/she will remain an employee of the company in Germany
  • Certificate of Registration with the German police (“Polizeiliche Anmeldung”)
  • Certificate of Registration (Anmeldebestaetigung) from the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt)
  • German nationals need a declaration from German Embassy or Consulate confirming their length of stay abroad and exact destination address in Germany. Without this document, shipment will not clear Customs.
  • German Customs Form 0350 (Zollantrag) in triplicate, stating goods will not be sold for one year
  • Health Certificate may be required
  • Copy of Insurance Certificate
  • Customs clearance Power of Attorney Form authorizing Destination Agent to act on behalf of the customer in liaison with Customs
  • Foreign diplomats need a Certificate from the Embassy or Consulate
  • Used household goods are duty-free if customer has resided at least one year abroad, if the goods were owned by the customer over six months and will not be sold for a minimum of one year
  • Goods should be imported within one year of customer taking up residence; if not, reasons are needed for delay – maximum three years
  • Inheritance items:
    • Death Certificate
    • “Erbschein” or an official document which certifies the customer has inherited the items from the deceased and states the relationship between them
  • Wedding Trousseaux
    • Marriage Certificate
    • If household goods are imported before the marriage, proof the marriage will take place within two months is required
  • Explosives
  • Ammunition
  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Any protected animal or species, dried plant or items of historical significance (ivory, snakeskin, leopard fur, pre-Columbian items, etc.)
  • Pornographic material
  • Certain types of meat
  • Absinthe, methyl alcohol and pure alcohol
  • Radioactive material
  • Wine, grape juice and other various foodstuffs and consumer goods in large quantity
  • New items, less than six months old (invoice required)
  • Alcohol
    • Inventory must detail exact number and size of bottles, exact alcoholic strength in percent, and value of each bottle
  • Tobacco, tea, coffee
  • Toilet waters, perfumes
  • Foodstuffs in large quantities (do not recommend shipping with household goods)
  • Electronic items such as computers, videos, stereos, etc. (must show serial number and have purchase invoice)
    • Duplicate appliances or electrical equipment may be assessed high duties
  • Guns require a Certificate of Registration, valid passport of owner, proof of ownership, and a gun license for importation
    • Duty-free if firearm has been owned for at least six months prior to importing
    • Guns must be easily accessible
    • Must apply for a German Ownership Permit
    • List as last items on inventory, indicate model, caliber and serial number
  • Live plants (need special Import Permit)
  • Admitted duty-free if customer has lived abroad for over one year, has owned and used the auto for a minimum of six months, if brought in for personal use with household goods and will not be sold for one year
  • Cars must be inspected before licensing, comply with German technical and environmental regulations and require modifications
  • It is highly recommended that the customer informs the Destination Agent of all auto details prior to importing.
  • Documents required:
    • Proof of ownership
    • Car documents
    • German driver’s license
    • Owner’s passport
    • Owner’s police registration in Germany (polizieliche Anmeldebestatigung)
    • Insurance record from country of origin
    • Third-party liability insurance that begins with customs clearance
    • Declaration of customer that no high value goods are in car
    • Origin Registration and copy of title
    • Commercial invoice if vehicle is new
  • Dogs, cats and canaries are permitted with a Health Certificate (in German or with a translation) issued by a licensed veterinarian describing the animal and stating that the pet is free from rabies and contagious diseases
  • Health Certificate is valid ten days from the date in which it was issued (20 days for pets coming from non-European countries)
  • All endangered species and exotic animals are prohibited

Note – Customs regulations are subject to change at any time. The proceeding information is a brief summary of customs regulations applicable to household goods shipments to this destination and is being provided for general guidance to assist our Agents and Customers. Since such regulations are subject to change without notice, International sea & air shipping cannot be held liable for any costs, damage, delays, or other detrimental events resulting from non-compliance. Always double check with your local embassy or consulate.

Top 5 reasons to move in Germany from USA


German healthcare facility is touted as one of the best in Europe. In Germany there are private and public healthcare systems and health insurance is a must for all to avail healthcare benefits. When you are moving to Germany your employer can already have health insurance as part of your employment package. Enquire the process thoroughly. In case you need to get health insurance on your own, there are many reliable agents available.

Employment accessibility

Germany is breaking its own historic precedent of reducing the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate of this country is reducing on a monthly basis! And combine this with the fact the work hour is less than the USA offering a better work-life balance. Additionally, as per Government data, the average annual salary in Germany is $52,000, which is higher than the USA! The economic stability of this country speaks volume of the opportunities you get in terms of lucrative employment offers.

Public transport

Relocation to Germany will get your life on the high lanes of life! Welcome to one of Europe’s most well connected nations. Germany boasts of nice roads and overall good connectivity across the country no matter which part of the country you will be relocating to! This is good news for the car owners considering moving their automobiles to Germany.

Reasonable cost of living

Consider this scenario of making a trip to the supermarket in any of Germany’s leading cities for daily groceries. You get eggs, bread, cheese, potato etc and pay a bill which is way lesser than what you will be paying in the top cities in the US! We all consider a place to live when we are moving to any new city and that too in a new country. So, after food cost, now consider the cost of renting a house in any of the top cities in Germany. Again the cost will be more reasonable compared to what you will be paying in the leading cities in the USA! When you can save hundreds of bucks on your stay and food undoubtedly your cost of living becomes a whole lot reasonable and friendly on the pocket.

High quality of life

And now here is another top pick from us regarding why moving to Germany from the USA is a good decision – the high quality of life! Yes, Germany, one of the powerhouses of Europe, offers high quality of life. The upscale education system where everyone can go to university for free, the world class healthcare system, the lower cost of living, the work-life balance with reduced work hours and more holidays, entertainment opportunities – all have contributed in creating a high quality of lifestyle in Germany.

Interesting facts to consider for the relocation to Germany

We understand that you have conducted prior research before contemplating the move to Germany from the USA. Yet here are some interesting facts and pointers about Germany that can cement your resolve to move to this leading European country leaving behind the American dream.

  • Germany is home to 46 World Heritage Sites, the 4th most of any country in the world!
  • Obtaining the VISA is relatively easier for moving to Germany
  • Berlin’s 117-year-old U-Bahn (subway) is efficient enough to carry 1.5 million people daily to 173 stations and across 94 miles of track! Talk about the efficiency of the public transport system in Germany!
  • University education is free in Germany! This is because all 16 states in the country abolished tuition fees in 2014!
  • People working and living in Germany have given their work-life balance a score of 8.4 out of 10! Do you know the reason for this high score? It is because Germany offers one of the best number of paid holidays in the whole of Europe! Even the work hours are shorter!
  • And where can you go to spend your holidays when you move to Germany? Well, you can choose your pick – The country has more than 2,500 castles! Also, if you are an adventurer there is a good news – the country has over 124,000 miles of hiking trails!


How much does it cost to move to Germany from the USA?

The shipping cost of your belongings when you are relocating to Germany from the USA will depend on the volume of the belongings and also their condition. Further air freight is costlier than ocean freight. Based on how much container space your belongings will contain the price is further calculated from major ports in the USA to major ports in Germany. You can get in touch with our representative to offer you free shipping quotes.

What are the major ports in Germany for relocation?

There are around 80 ports in Germany. However, the top 10 seaports you can use for shipping your belongings to Germany when you are moving from the USA, are the following –
a. Hamburg
b. Frankfurt
c. Bremen
d. Wilhelmshaven
e. Duisburg
f. Rostock
g. Emden
h. Lubeck
i. Kiel
j. Brunsbuttel

How to move household goods to Germany?

You have the option of selecting either air freight service or sea freight service to transport your household belongings when relocating from the USA to Germany. For detailed guidance you can get in touch with our representative or fill up the free shipping quotation form.

Do I need VISA to move to Germany?

Yes, you will need a valid VISA for your relocation to Germany from the USA. There are different types of VISA available depending on the purpose and duration of your stay in Germany.

What are the different resident permits for moving to Germany from the USA?

There are different types of resident permits available for settling in Germany. Here is a list –
Student Residence Permit (or Student Visa)
Work Permit (or Employment Visa)
Family Reunion Visa (or Family Visa)
Freelancer Visa (or Self-employment Visa)
EU Blue Card
Permanent Settlement Permit (or Niederlassungserlaubnis)

We were going to use a different company (Mohawk Moving) but then, a few weeks before the move, they suddenly increased the price by over 14%, so I called Hillary and she jumped on our situation and offered a reasonable estimate with all detailed charges, so I knew what to expect. ACE Moving in the Twin Cities was awesome, they used every bit of space in our 20 ft. container and wrapped our furniture to protect it. We had two pick up locations and they managed that perfectly. COSCO put the sea-can on a vessel between NYC and Bremerhaven. Also Carl Hartmann GmbH in Bremerhaven was efficient when we had a few hick ups with German customs and the container arrived on time 48 days later in the Frankfurt area. Christ Movers were awesome unloading everything. Very happy with the service from all involved. – Joerg Happel