How do I keep my license and cars when moving to Germany?

26 posts in this topic

ADAC* will translate your Iowa license with or without a membership.  If you end up keeping your somewhat older Mustang, having a membership with them is not a bad idea. 

 

I got to keep my KY license when I switched to a German one in Munich.  This entirely depends on the office and/or the person working your request.  I soon discovered that I didn't really need a US license anymore, and in fact -- renting cars via German websites such as Billiger Mietwagen or cardelmar was only possible with a German license. 

 

*ADAC is like a German AAA but without the hostile lobbying against bike lanes and public transit.

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I just want to say that the info given by @JG52 is really amazing and a great resource.

 

I spent around 170 Euro to get my US spec car inspected at the TÜV and I would have had to replace both headlights (you can actually look at the lights yourself and if there is an "E" stamp on them, you're ok, if not you'll have to get Euro-spec versions). Now before you go to the TÜV, they'll want a technical specifications sheet (Datenblatt) which you can get via your dealer (if they offer it, mine didn't) or via the TÜV itself. Some independent companies also offer this service. I had to pay about 250 Euro for it.

 

Now something to consider will be what emissions category your US spec call will fall under in Germany as this is the basis for the Kfz-Steuer. For many gasoline powered cars, they will default to Euro 3. So you'll end up paying a bit more in Kfz-Steuer than the comparable Euro-spec car. The more displacement and CO2 emissions (so most US spec cars) the more you pay per year.

 

Good luck and please post your experience here!

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On 1/30/2021, 8:42:14, Space Cowboy said:

 

Good question.  FWIW, I did not need a translation of my US State DL

 

 

 

TÜV Nord.

 

I checked the TÜV Nord website, I didn't see any place there where I could check what is required for US Spec vehicles to pass the TUV.  Am I missing something on that website?

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On 3/3/2021, 9:15:05, danielg said:

Try this one. It is in German, however:

 

https://www.tuvsud.com/de-de/branchen/mobilitaet-und-automotive/import-und-zulassung/importfahrzeug-richtlinie

 

It gives a general overview as to what is acceptable and what not for a non-EU car in Germany.

On 3/3/2021, 9:15:05, danielg said:

Try this one. It is in German, however:

 

https://www.tuvsud.com/de-de/branchen/mobilitaet-und-automotive/import-und-zulassung/importfahrzeug-richtlinie

 

It gives a general overview as to what is acceptable and what not for a non-EU car in Germany.

 

Danke Danielg! We recently had our 2015 Outback go through the German TÜV and it passed the inspection, we even got the "Licht Test" sticker for the windshield.  However, our Subaru doesn't have the " Nebelschlussleuchte" rear fog light.  Can anyone confirm if that is required?  Maybe the car is pre-wired for one, but we're not sure.

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It should be in the Mängelliste. If it wasn't listed then you should be good. They wanted a Nebelschlussleuchte for my car back in the day. At that time, I was driving a US spec BMW so I just had to buy a new light assembly for the back and a new control unit for the panel (as the US unit didn't have a physical button for the rear fog light as it was non-existent). Annoying but kind of a non-issue as pretty much the exact same car was being sold in Germany.

 

I've seen two or three obviously US spec cars driving around locally that have a separate rear fog light that was just screwed onto the rear bumper. Quite ugly but I guess it does the trick and satisfies the TÜV. Personally I would be surprised if you can get around not having a rear fog light.

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