GACO helps Americans adjust to life in Germany

New to Germany with lots of questions and you don’t know where to go for answers? There’s an office for that.

The German-American Community Office is a free service for all citizens and residents in the area. It’s designed to help with things like understanding German policies, cultural matters, traffic issues, translation support, recreation information, and more.

The GACO’s bilingual team has answered more than 40,000 customer inquiries over the past 18 years.  Most subjects deal with administrative matters such as how and where to obtain an international driver’s license, getting married or retiring in Germany, visa-related issues, assistance with waste management and recycling regulations, and pet importation rules.  The office also provides linguistic support to help translate documents, bills, letters and other correspondence for both Americans and Germans.

More recently, the office has answered many questions from Americans about the health measures and coronavirus restrictions that apply in Rheinland-Pfalz.  No matter what your concern or question is, the GACO can usually point you in the right direction.

The staff includes representatives from Ramstein Air Base, the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz and the Kaiserslautern city administration, making it the only facility of its kind in the world.  The team takes pride in helping military members, civilian employees and their families integrate into the local German community.

The staff has developed an extensive network of contacts within the local government, businesses and service providers, and associations and nonprofit organizations such as the “Welcome to Rheinland-Pfalz” (WIR!) initiative.  The WIR!-program is sponsored by the Rheinland-Pfalz state government to help Americans adjust to life in Germany, and it’s an important cooperation partner for the GACO.

The office is located at Lauterstr. 2, 67657 Kaiserslautern, across the street from the Kaiserslautern city hall. Although the office is closed to walk-ins due to the pandemic, individuals may make an appointment to get personal assistance with urgent matters. Contact staff members with questions or to request an appointment via e-mail at or call 0631-363-3010.  Once operations return to normal, the GACO’s door will be open again to all citizens.

In future KA newspapers, look for the “GACO Corner” that we plan to publish on a regular basis.  The section will include frequently asked questions and other information to keep the community informed and to help you live life in Germany.