Privately owned vehicles

U.S. Customs requires personnel to have a copy of the title to their vehicle when shipping it overseas. The title must include the vehicle identification number or, if the vehicle does not have a VIN, the product identification number. If there's a lien on the vehicle, there must be written approval from the lien holder. Be sure to read the POV Shipping pamphlet with detailed information on shipping POVs here. Below are recent additions to the regulations for POV shipping:

  • Tires: All tires must have at least 1.6mm tread over the complete tire surface. No re-grooved tires are allowed; snow tires (if on vehicle) must be on the drive wheels; and there can be no mixing of radial and conventional tires. Tires must not protrude beyond the fender wells.
  • Exhaust system: No rusted out or leaking exhaust system components allowed. Exhaust systems with cut outs, fiberglass packed or straght through exhaust pipes are not allowed. Noise level of exhaust systems for vehicles and motor cycles must not exceed 95 decibels.
  • Brakes: A mismatch of 20 percent or more between wheels, as measured on the brake wheel drag maching is prohibited. A parking brake that is inoperative on one side when measured on a brake wheel drag machine is prohibited. An emergency brake that fails to stop the vehicle during a road test is prohibited.
  • Exterior Condition: Missing fenders, broken windows, extensive body damage, deterioration, broken springs or oil leaks are not allowed. Foreign manufactured vehicle frames are usually an integral part of the body; therefore, rust damage is critical and will necessitate costly reconstruction to pass the inspection. Spoilers attached to vehicles must meet the manufacturer's installation specifications. Homemade spoilers or spoilers that do not meet the manufacturer's specifications are prohibited by German law. Spinning rims attached to vehicles are prohibited by German law.
  • Modifications: Any modifications changing the vehicle body style (as to engine not being covered), altered bumpers, which are not to manufacturer's specifications, missing or damaged running boards are not allowed. Any after-market material (transparent or tinted) attached to the windshield or front side windows directly to the left and right of the driver and the passenger is prohibited by German law.

Vehicles are shipped to the Mainz-Kastel Vehicle Processing Center, a 10-minute drive from Clay Kaserne. It's important that personnel notify the transportation office upon arrival.

Your car must pass an inspection for safety, condition and reliability. It's recommended that any needed repairs be completed prior to shipping your car to Germany. Labor and parts are very expensive and parts may take time to arrive in Germany. Check vehicles for rust, chips, cracks in the windshield and oil leaks. Inoperative lights, horn, speedometer and other items can prevent your car from passing inspection.

Car Insurance

Germany has a high cost of living. Prices for auto insurance are especially expensive. Variables include your age, the car's age, engine size, make, model and weight. German liability insurance, which is mandatory, ranges from 400 to 1,000 Euros per year. Shop around when purchasing insurance.

Driver's licenses

The minimum age for driving in Germany is 17. Soldiers and U.S. civilian employees must have a stateside license or a country license to obtain a U.S. Army Europe certificate of license. Prior to departing the U.S., ensure your stateside driver's license is current and not near expiration. Possession of a valid stateside license expedites licensing in USAREUR. Personnel must hold a USAREUR POV Certificate of License in order to operate a private auto off-post. Individuals are no longer permitted to use a military license in lieu of a valid state or country license to obtain a U.S. Forces POV Certificate of License for any class. Prior to arriving, it is recommended that you study for the driver's license exam. You can find the driver's licensing resources such as driver's handbook, video links and manual online at or Driving in Europe. The laws and street signs are different than in the U.S. and can be confusing. Personnel requiring child care during the driver's orientation and test may utilize hourly slots at the Child Development Center on a space available basis, however, children must be registered through Central Enrollment in order to use hourly care. If you do not have a valid license you will be considered a "novice" and must go through German licensing procedures to obtain a license. The process is very lengthy and expensive. A German driver's license costs approximately 2,000 Euros.

Child safety seats

Car seat requirements are different in Germany than in the U.S. All children under 12 years of age who are smaller than 4'11" or weigh less than 50 pounds must use an approved child seat or booster seat. Children up to 36 months or up to 40 pounds must use a car seat. Children ages 3 to 11 or 33 to 80 pounds must use a booster seat. Failure to use these devices may result in a fine and/or loss of your driving privileges.