I'm a German citizen currently living in the USA. When I now visit Germany for a vacation, what items I bought in the USA do I have to declare at the customs?

These items however are not staying in Germany and are worth > $1000.

Do I have to declare what I bring with me or are they under the travellers’ allowances?

I couldn't find any specific official resources for this.

  • 2
    There are plenty of official resources but, provided they are not remaining in the EU and will leave again with you, you probably don't need to declare them.
    – CMaster
    Oct 11, 2016 at 15:06
  • 1
    @CMaster I thought so too. The only resource I found was that link but this didn't specifically said if there are restrictions
    – empiric
    Oct 11, 2016 at 15:09
  • @empiric The page you are linking to in your last comment contains a list of restrictions, which you have to consider as a visitor in Germany. What exactly confuses you about this list and why do you think that any of the items you are intending to bring fall into any of the restricted categories? Oct 11, 2016 at 15:30
  • 1
    @empiric The page you are linking to clearly states that the item values must be within the traveller's allowance only if you intend to leave them in Germany and that you may be required to lodge a written declaration for more valuable items if German custom authorities tell you to do so, in which case you most likely will have to present the items to the customs again when leaving to prove that they are not staying in Germany. Why is that not possible? Oct 11, 2016 at 16:21
  • 2
    As an additional note, if the items are not staying in Germany but still staying within the EU, I believe the restrictions remain the same.
    – downhand
    Oct 17, 2016 at 7:49

1 Answer 1


The official German customs website referenced in Noldor130884's answer summarizes the legal stuff as follows:

If you are staying in Germany you can usually bring properties in your baggage into Germany at zero import duty and without customs formalities.

The most important restriction to this is

Goods that you bring to Germany and that you intend to leave (such as visitor’s gifts) may only be imported duty-free within the traveller’s allowances.

In my opinion, being a German citizen shouldn't pose a problem here. If you were a German resident, there might be a problem if you tried to claim (without proof) that you were actually planning to take all the fancy stuff you brought with you, again.

  • This sentence is actually very confusing, it should probably read "if you are staying temporarily" or "if you are visiting Germany". Being a German citizen might be a problem to the extent that border guards could be tempted to assume that you are a resident as well. Making clear that you aren't and maybe having something concret to buttress this claim (return ticket, US driving license) can be useful.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 17, 2016 at 11:16
  • @Relaxed I don't really know how one would actually prove non-residency. Residency, on the other hand, should be fairly easy to prove, as Germany has compulsory resident registration and possession of a national ID is mandatory for Germans subject to compulsory registration. - Not having this could be a start... Oct 17, 2016 at 15:25
  • Yes, I carefully avoided the word "prove". But what the OP should focus on IMO is documenting his or her situation the US, so driving license, residence document, insurance cards (if such a thing exists there) should go a long way. If you have several of these and it builds a coherent picture, it would add to your credibility in the unlikely event that you are questioned. That's how these things work in countries that don't have a German-style mandatory registration system.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 17, 2016 at 15:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .