Customs helps guests ‘drive on’ in Germany

by Robert Szostek
USAREUR Provost Marshal Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany ― One advantage of being stationed in Germany is that friends and family can visit you to get that real “old world” travel experience. And you can let them drive your U.S. Army Europe-plated car on their own excursions if you first receive customs approval.

“Just go to your local military customs field office and fill out the application form,” said Fred Evans, chief of services, USAREUR Customs Executive Agency. “If you want to have the paperwork ready before your relatives or friends arrive, you should bring along your vehicle registration and clear copies of their passports, stateside driver’s licenses and official German translations of their licenses or international driver’s licenses issued by the American Automobile Association or National Automobile Club.” 

For visitors from countries other than the U.S., ask your military customs office if an international driver’s license or translation is required.

It is very important to note that your guests cannot be residents of Germany or plan to establish residency in Germany, and they cannot be your dependents.  
It is also important to ensure that your automobile insurance covers your guests.
Consult the customs website at for more details on procedures and locations of customs offices.

Your guests can use this exception to policy to drive a USAREUR-registered POV in Germany for up to 90 days within a six-month period. 

The 90-day period begins on the day the visitor arrives in any European Union member state.

The document must remain in the car when your guests use your vehicle independently, along with their passports, the vehicle registration, proof of insurance and their international driver’s licenses (or official translations of their licenses).

“Driving in Germany is a tax and duty-free privilege for U.S. forces personnel and their dependents,” Mr. Evans said. This is why the customs authorization is required for guests.

Mr. Evans warned that this exception to policy does not let your guests buy gas at Army and Air Force Exchange Service gas stations or use your AAFES fuel ration card. Likewise, friends and family visiting Germany who rent a car may not use AAFES gas stations or AAFES fuel ration cards. 

Your guests can have a great time driving around Europe if you plan ahead. Call any military customs field office to find out more.