Entering Germany is usually a very straightforward procedure. If you’re arriving from any of the 25 other Schengen countries, such as the Netherlands, Poland, Austria or the Czech Republic, you no longer have to show your passport or go through customs in Germany, no matter which nationality you are. If you're coming in from non-Schengen countries, full border procedures apply.
Goods brought in and out of countries within the EU incur no additional taxes, provided duty has been paid somewhere within the EU and the goods are for personal use. Duty-free shopping is only available if you're leaving the EU.
Duty-free allowances (for anyone over 17) arriving from non-EU countries:
- 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of loose tobacco or a proportional combination of these goods.
- 1L of strong liquor or 2L of less than 22% alcohol by volume, plus 4L of wine, plus 16L of beer.
- other goods up to the value of €300 if arriving by land, or €430 if arriving by sea or air (€175 for under 15 years).
Generally not required for tourist stays up to 90 days (or at all for EU nationals); some nationalities need a Schengen Visa.
- EU nationals only need their passport or national identity card to enter, stay and work in Germany for three months. If you plan to stay longer, you must register with the authorities at the Bürgeramt (Citizens' Registration Office) within two weeks of your arrival.
- Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland and the US only need a valid passport (no visa) if entering Germany as tourists for up to three months within a six-month period. Passports must be valid for another four months beyond the intended departure date. For stays exceeding 90 days, contact your nearest German embassy or consulate, and begin your visa application well in advance.
- Nationals from other countries need a Schengen Visa, named for the 1995 Schengen Agreement that abolished international border controls between many European countries. Applications for a Schengen Visa must be filed with the embassy or consulate of the country that is your primary destination. It is valid for stays of up to 90 days. Legal residency in any Schengen country makes a visa unnecessary, regardless of your nationality.
- For full details, see www.auswaertiges-amt.de and check with a German consulate in your country.