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Relocating to Germany

All You Need to Know about Relocating Your Household Goods and Pets

If you’re planning to relocate to Germany, there are many things to consider, such as restrictions on household goods, cash limits, and regulations on bringing animals into the country. This informative guide will take you through the various steps of relocating to Germany and help you to decide what to bring with you, and what to leave behind.

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If you’re planning to move to Germany, you’ll need to consider certain aspects, such as restrictions on household goods, storing or shipping your items, customs rules, moving with pets, and health requirements.

Our relocation guide provides detailed information about every step of the relocation process, including information about relocating with pets. This can be confusing, as importing pets into Germany requires proof of immunization against rabies, and sometimes separate examinations from different vets. Meanwhile, certain ‘dangerous’ dog breeds are banned in Germany, including English and Staffordshire bull terriers.

Moving and Shipping Household Goods

Moving household items and belongings can quickly become a challenging task. Our overview of imports and customs restrictions guides you through some potentially complicated processes and shows you how to relocate to Germany with ease.

Germany’s Import and Customs Restrictions

When you pack your items, you should ensure that they’re personal property and not of a commercial nature. There aren’t any restrictions on the number or type of items you bring, but it has to be clear that you’re not bringing them with you to sell.

Items that you are allowed to bring are:

  • Household goods, such as bed linen, home gym equipment, tables and chairs, and anything needed for everyday life
  • Private cars, bicycles, trailers, caravans, and any other vehicle. If you transport an aircraft, you must have proof showing it’s registered in your name
  • Domestic pets, like cats, dogs, and horses. Find out more in our ‘Moving with Pets’ section
  • Items required for use in a trade or profession that are portable, and for applied or liberal arts, like pottery and jewelry making or literature, math, and philosophy

Some examples of items that are not accepted are:

  • Alcohol: more than 1 liter of spirits over 22% strength or undenatured ethyl alcohol of 80% or higher, two liters of alcohol and alcoholic beverages 22% or higher, any equivalent combined quantity of the above, more than four liters of non-sparkling wine, or more than 16 liters of beer
  • Tobacco items
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Items used in a trade or profession that aren’t portable and for applied or liberal arts

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Home Good Storage

Depending on your belongings and needs, it’s almost always possible to find the perfect secure storage in Germany’s modern facilities.

Long and Short-Term Storage

There is a range of reputable companies who offer long and short-term services, storing your goods in safe, dry environments, where your items are protected from damage and the elements.

In terms of costs, storage prices range from around €70 per month for 3 square meters to around €380 for 22 square meters of space.

Storage Companies to Consider

Munich: If you’re relocating to Munich, Lagerwelt GmbH offers long and short-term home good storage, with between one and 20 meters of space, in a ‘dry, clean and safe’ environment. Lagerwelt stands out from other companies in that it gives special rates to students.

Furthermore, ZeitLager is another company in Munich that’s worth contacting about your storage needs. ZeitLager offers ‘fair monthly prices’, meaning you pay for the month, not four weeks or 28 days, like some other companies. This could save you 10% over a 12-month period.

Nationwide: Alternatively, MyPlace offers storage units all over Germany, in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, and Nuremberg, and it has sites in planning in Sachsen, Wiesbaden, and Frankfurt. MyPlace has 12 storage sites in Berlin alone. You can check MyPlace’s prices for storage spaces in different cities here.

Note that some removal companies also offer home good storage, and at certain places, you’ll need to provide your own padlock.

Vaccinations and Health Requirements for Germany

Before relocating, you should ensure all your vaccinations required for Germany and other health requirements for immigration are up-to-date, including vaccines, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio, and varicella (chickenpox). And don’t forget your annual flu shot.

What Vaccinations do I need for Germany?

Moreover, to meet Germany’s immigration vaccination requirements and stay safe, remember to ask your doctor if you should get vaccines against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, or rabies.

For most people, these aren’t crucial, however, rabies is present in some bats in Germany, so if you’re working with animals or spend a lot of time outdoors, or even around bats, you should get the rabies vaccination.

Furthermore, although tetanus and diphtheria are uncommon in Germany, it’s recommended that children from eight weeks to twelve months old are vaccinated against them. This not only protects your children, but it also makes sure that these infectious diseases don’t spread in Germany.

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Moving with Pets

With at least one dog in every eight households, not to mention countless other pets, domesticated animals in Germany are common. Stray dogs and cats are rare in comparison to the many beloved family pets in Germany.

However, taking your cat, dog, or other pets to Germany requires a bit of paperwork. Some pets are outlawed, especially certain dog breeds or protected species.

Can You Bring Pets into Germany?

You can bring pets into Germany, but it is important to start planning well in advance. Some of the steps necessary for arriving with your pets in Germany may require up to six months of preparation. If you don’t fulfill all of Germany’s import and customs requirements, the German Customs Administration can put your pets in quarantine or even return them to your country of origin at your expense.

Pets in Germany: Regulations for Pet Import

Some regulations for pets in Germany may depend on the regional authorities at your final place of residence. Please note that all these regulations may also apply when you re-enter Germany with your pets after leaving the country for a while.

Regulations for dogs, cats, and ferrets fall under European legislation. According to European law, you may bring up to five animals per person traveling. If you want to take more than five pets with you, you have to follow the requirements for the commercial pet trade.

In order to prevent a rabies epidemic, regulations were harmonized across the EU member states in 2003.

Pets in Germany: Moving within the EU

To import and keep their pets in Germany, owners of cats, dogs, or ferrets, may have to fulfill immigration vaccination requirements. Here are some more things you must know:

  • You must have your pet immunized for rabies. Depending on the vaccine brand, repeat vaccination may be required. The complete vaccination must be no older than 12 months and no more recent than 30 days.
  • Pets in Germany should be clearly identifiable by an implanted transponder. A clearly visible tattoo ID is an alternative as long as your pet got the tattoo before July 2011.
  • All pets in Germany, as well as other EU member states, must have an identification document (“pet passport”). This confirms the vaccination and the chip implant. In an EU member state, you can obtain the pet passport at your local veterinarian. To register a pet passport, you have to bring proof of identification, proof of vaccination, and, in some cases, the pet itself.

Pets in Germany: Moving from outside the EU

When arriving with your pets in Germany from outside the European Union, you have to meet the above requirements for moving within Europe. In addition to that, you sometimes have to prove the rabies vaccination’s efficiency. The required blood test needs to be done at least three months before entering the European Union and 30 days or more after the immunization. However, your pet doesn’t need a blood test when entering from one of the  “listed” countries outside the EU. For a complete list, please visit the European Commission website.

If you are not coming from one of these countries, your animal has to be tested for immunity against rabies. A certified veterinarian from an authorized laboratory has to do this test.

Keep in mind that the rabies vaccination must not be older than 12 months. Your pet then has to take the blood test between three and eleven months before your departure. Sometimes, you have to wait up to four months after the vaccination before you can schedule the blood test.

Moreover, if you don’t set out from an EU/EEA member state, you need a health certificate for your pet. If your veterinarian cannot provide you with the necessary forms, you can download bilingual certificates from an EU website (Please scroll down to the “Document” section). An officially registered or authorized vet has to fill in, sign, and issue the certificate for your pets in Germany.

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: July 01, 2019

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