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Moving to Germany and planning to bring your vehicle with you? Understanding the intricacies of the German car registration system is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through each step of registering your car in Germany, from scheduling an appointment to acquiring German number plates.

The Basics of German Car Registration

Before delving into the specifics, let’s begin with a brief overview of how the German car registration system works.

How Does The German Car Registration System Work?

The German car registration process begins with reserving an appointment at a vehicle registration center in your district.

Before you head to the registration center, ensure you have all the necessary documents in order. These include:

  • TÜV Certificate (Technical Inspection): To comply with German road standards, your imported vehicle must undergo a technical inspection at a government-approved center. This inspection typically costs between €100 and €200.
  • Valid ID: Carry your passport or any other valid means of identification.
  • Proof of Car Insurance: Car insurance is mandatory in Germany. You’ll need to provide your 7-digit eVB number from your insurance provider.
  • Certificate of Conformity (COC): A European COC proves that your vehicle meets European traffic standards. While manufacturers issue these certificates, services like EUROCOC can assist you in obtaining one swiftly.
  • Registration Certificate: Every resident in Germany, whether a citizen or a foreigner, receives a registration certificate as proof of residence.
  • Proof of Ownership: Ensure you have the necessary documents proving your ownership of the vehicle.
  • Foreign Registration Certificate (for imported cars): If you’re importing a vehicle, this document is essential for the registration process.
  • 032031 Form (Bank Details): You’ll need to provide your bank information during registration to complete tax payments.

Importation and Exportation of Vehicles

For those who might need to import or export a vehicle, here’s what you need to know:

  • Importation:
    • Imported cars need to undergo a technical inspection at a government-approved center. This inspection typically costs between €100 and €200.
    • Car insurance is mandatory in Germany, and you’ll need to present a 7-digit eVB number given by your insurance provider.
    • A European Certificate of Conformity (COC) is required to show that your vehicle complies with European traffic standards.
  • Exportation:
    • If you plan to export a vehicle to a non-EU country, you’ll need to make a customs declaration through the ATLAS Export system.
    • Customs declarations can also be made at the border when exiting the EU if the vehicle weighs less than 1000kg and costs less than €1000.
    • German export plates are necessary for exportation.

Applying for German Number Plates

Once your vehicle is successfully registered, you can proceed to an Autokennzeichen branch or contact an online specialist to print your German license plates. After obtaining the plates, it’s imperative to return to the registration office to receive the official seal of your German district. This seal is not just a formality; it signifies the completion of the registration process.

Cost of Car Registration in Germany

Let’s break down the expenses involved in registering your vehicle in Germany:

  • How Much For Car Registration In Germany?
    • The base cost for vehicle registration in Germany typically ranges from €30 to €60.
    • Additional expenses include the technical inspection (€100 to €200), the cost of German car number plates (€15 to €50) and the cost of COC (€100 to €400)

What Do German Car Number Plates Look Like?

German license plates follow a specific format and design. They are white with black characters, usually made from aluminum. The standard dimensions for car license plates in Germany, as in most of Europe, are 520 mm x 110 mm (20.5 inches x 4.3 inches). This standard size also applies to trucks, buses, and trailers.

To signify its membership in the European Union, German registration plates display the EU flag on the left side. This blue strip is adorned with 12 yellow stars forming a circle. Alongside the EU flag, you’ll find the letter ‘D,’ signifying Germany’s international vehicle registration code.

The registration number on German plates follows the format ‘AAA BBCCCC,’ where ‘AA’ represents the area code indicating the German district of registration. This code can consist of one, two, or three characters, depending on the district. The ‘BBCCCC’ section is a serial code comprising one or two letters (‘BB’) and one, two, three, or four numbers (‘CCCC’). This code ranges from A1 to ZZ9999, providing a vast array of combinations.

German license plates feature a pair of stickers: a registration sticker that validates the plate and a safety test sticker indicating the vehicle’s roadworthiness. Front plates have the registration sticker, while rear plates have both stickers. The safety sticker is placed above the registration sticker, between the Area code and the serial code.

Special and Custom German License Plates

Special Plates:

Special German license plates are reserved for specific categories, including government officials, military vehicles, ambulances, and diplomatic vehicles. For instance, the President and Chancellor have license plate numbers ‘0-1’ and ‘0-2,’ respectively. Additionally, cars belonging to car dealers sport red characters instead of the standard black.

Customization Options:

While customization options are limited, you can modify the 6-digit serial code of your German license plate for a personal touch. Keep in mind that reservations for custom numbers may incur an additional fee of €10 to €15. This allows you to add a unique touch to your vehicle while adhering to German regulations.


Registering your car in Germany might seem like a complex process, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a manageable task. This comprehensive guide has covered every aspect of the German car registration system, from the initial appointment to the acquisition of your German number plates. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the German car registration process and enjoy a smooth transition to life on German roads.

Ready to make your car registration in Germany hassle-free? Order your Certificate of Conformity (COC) through EUROCOC now and experience a seamless journey to getting your German number plates. Take the first step toward stress-free driving – place your order today!