Offering your vehicle to visiting family and friends may sound like a simple solution, but it might not be legal.
Visitors from the U.S. who are not considered military dependents are required to possess an exception to policy form, AE Form 550-175D, to operate a U.S. Army Europe-registered vehicle. This can be obtained through the local military customs field office.
“Individuals who wish to acquire this form will need to bring in their passport, a valid stateside driver’s license, and official German translations of their license or international driver’s licenses issued by the American Automobile Association or National Automobile Club,” said Brian Harris, USAREUR customs border clearance agent. “Copies of the above can be brought in prior to the guest’s arrival to country.”
Once approved, guests can use the exception to policy form to drive a USAREUR registered vehicle in Germany independently. The form must be in the car when they are driving along with the vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and their international driver’s license or an official translation of their stateside license.
The authorization is only valid inside Germany and can be granted for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month period.
“Driving in Germany is tax free for U.S. service members and dependents stationed in Germany, which is why customs authorization is required for guests,” Harris said.
While it is required for guests to acquire the exception to policy form, it is the vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure their visitors remain compliant.
“Allowing someone to operate their USAREUR-plated vehicle without the proper paperwork could lead the registered owner to receive a traffic ticket and a suspension of driving privileges for up to 180 days,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Bertrand, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron NCO in charge of installation security.
Visitors who wish to extend the authorization past the maximum granted 90 days require an exception to policy coordinated with the German Federal Finance Ministry, which can be reached at 06221-57-4942.
While the exception to policy form allows guests to operate a USAREUR-plated vehicle, it does not allow them to buy gas at Army and Air Force Exchange Service gas stations or use AAFES fuel ration cards.
For more information, details on procedures and locations of customs offices, visit www.eur.army.mil/opm/customs/gercustoms.htm.