Customs clearance a must when selling cars, guns in Germany

by Robert Szostek
U.S. Army Customs Agency - Europe Public Affairs Office

U.S. personnel must get a “Permit to Transfer” when selling or giving a U.S. Army Europe-plated vehicle to a non-ID cardholder in Germany. Failure to get the permit could lead to serious complications with German customs authorities.

“It is important to get the permit to transfer before you sell, donate or transfer a car to a German car dealer, junkyard or person who is not an ID cardholder,” explained Fred Evans, chief of services at U.S. Army Customs Agency – Europe.

This applies even if you did not receive money for the vehicle, for example, if it was wrecked in an accident, he added.

If you do not obtain this permit, you will eventually fail to clear vehicle registration when it is time to PCS. Customs authorities will require you to prove what happened to the vehicle.

“This is obviously very difficult if the car was crushed long ago, you are in the middle of clearing out of Europe and you have no record of where the car went,” Evans continued. “If you cannot show what happened to the vehicle, you may be identified in a military police report and subject to disciplinary action. You may also have to pay a hefty tax demand based upon the value of the vehicle as well as possible fines from German Customs authorities.”

The “Permit to Transfer” (AE Form 550-175B) is available at the U.S. Forces customs office serving your garrison or airbase. The form is also required when you sell firearms or other expensive personal items to someone who is not an ID cardholder.

More information on selling personal property in Germany is available online at or by contacting your local U.S. Forces customs office. A list of customs offices can be found online at

Customs Queries
537-3957 , -3959 or
0049- 611-143-537-3953