Germany: What you can and can't ship

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An image of traditional German houses in a German town
Moving to Germany is an exciting prospect, however one of the biggest things you need to consider is what items you can and can't ship into the country.

Our guide covers everything you need to know to safely and legally ship your belongings to Germany. Whether you're shipping documents, personal effects or gifts, read on to make sure your shipment meets all the necessary requirements and restrictions. 

What can I ship to Germany?

You can ship a wide range of items to Germany, such as:

  • Documents and letter
  • Personal effects such as your clothing and household items 
  • Artwork and antiques 
  • Musical instruments 
  • Electronics and computer equipment 
  • Books and magazines
  • Children's toys
  • Sporting equipment 
Please note that this is not an indicative list of the items you are able to ship to Germany.
It is always a good idea to check with your shipping provider for specific restrictions and regulations before shipping any items to Germany. If you are unsure whether or not you can ship any of your items, please feel free to contact your Move Manager who will be able to provide expert information and advice. 

What can't I ship to Germany?

Germany, like other countries, have a list of restricted items to protect the safety and security of its citizens, prevent the spread of diseases, and preserve cultural heritage. Restricted items are items that are subject to certain regulations and restrictions when being shipped. These items may require special permits, licenses, or documentation, or they may be prohibited altogether.

Some examples of restricted items in Germany include:

  • Firearms and ammunition: The importation of firearms and ammunition into Germany is highly regulated and requires a permit.

  • Pharmaceuticals: Some prescription drugs and other pharmaceuticals are restricted and require special documentation and approval.

  • Food and agricultural products: The importation of certain food and agricultural products, such as meat and dairy, is restricted to prevent the spread of diseases and protect public health.

  • Cultural artifacts: The importation of cultural artifacts, such as antiques and artwork, may require special documentation and approval.

  • Alcohol and tobacco products: The importation of alcohol and tobacco products is restricted and subject to excise duties and taxes.

  • Endangered species: The importation of products made from endangered species, such as ivory or certain types of wood, is prohibited.

  • Currency and financial instruments: The importation of currency and financial instruments, such as cash, checks, and money orders, is restricted and subject to declaration and reporting requirements.

There are also several items that you cannot ship into Germany at all, due to safety, health or legal reasons. Some of these include:

  • Illegal drugs: Narcotics and other illegal substances are strictly prohibited in Germany. Shipping such items can lead to serious legal consequences.

  • Counterfeit goods: Items that infringe on intellectual property rights, such as counterfeit goods, are illegal to ship to Germany.

  • Dangerous goods: Hazardous materials, explosives, and other dangerous goods are not allowed to be shipped without proper authorisation and labelling.

  • Weapons and ammunition: Firearms and ammunition are strictly controlled in Germany, and shipping them without proper authorisation is illegal.

  • Live animals and plants: The importation of live animals and plants is subject to strict regulations in Germany, and certain species are prohibited.

  • Pornographic material: The importation of pornographic material is prohibited in Germany.

  • Perishable items: Certain perishable items, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, require special permits and may be subject to restrictions and inspections.

There are several reasons why some items are prohibited to import into Germany:

  1. Health & Safety Concerns: Items that Items that pose a threat to public health and safety are not allowed to be imported into Germany. This includes hazardous materials, explosives, and other dangerous goods.

  2. Protecting Intellectual Property: Germany, like many other countries, has strict laws protecting intellectual property. Items that infringe on intellectual property rights, such as counterfeit goods, are not allowed to be imported into the country.

  3. Protection of Domestic Industry: Some items may be restricted or prohibited to protect domestic industries. For example, the importation of certain agricultural products or textiles may be limited to protect local producers.

  4. Protection of Environment and Wildlife: Germany has strict regulations regarding the importation of live animals and plants to protect biodiversity and prevent the spread of invasive species.

  5. National Security: The importation of certain items, such as firearms and ammunition, is prohibited to ensure national security.

These restrictions and prohibitions are in place to protect Germany and its citizens from harm and to ensure compliance with national and international laws and regulations.

If you are caught importing prohibited items into Germany, you may be subject to serious consequences, including legal penalties, fines and even imprisonment. The severity of the consequences can vary depending on the type of item being brought in and the intent behind bringing it into the country.

It is essential that you familiarise yourself with Germany's custom regulations before shipping your goods and avoid bringing any prohibited items.

By hiring Pickfords as your international mover, you can feel confident that you will have all the support you need to send your belongings to Germany. If you are considering moving to Germany, get in touch with us today or get a quote here