KMC anticipates change to German vehicle license plates

Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

More than 40,000 KMC drivers will change the “USA” to “D” vehicle license plates.
“We are going to get the new German plates,” said Maj. Benito Barron,
569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron commander. “We just don’t know when
or how many, but my vehicle registration folks are working the
processes to make it a smooth transition.”

USAREUR, announced the changeover as a result of a recent agreement
with the German government allowing U.S. members to drive German-plated
cars without paying its vehicle tax or undergoing more stringent
vehicle inspections.

Designed as an added force protection measure, USAREUR intends the
changeover to happen as vehicle registrations expire in 2006 and 2007,
giving owners a choice of keeping their old plates or getting the new

The changeover will eventually become mandatory for all U.S. forces
servicemembers and civilians stationed in Germany, said Major Barron.

“People, two to three years from now, won’t even know what the current
plates you and I know look like,” he said. “They will only know the
German plates.”

German plates take the designator of the local municipality. It’s
believed that KMC German plates will sport “KL,” instead of “AD” or
“HK” since the Vehicle Registration Office on Kapaun issues out of
Kaiserslautern, Major Barron said.
Some German laws may go with those German plates.

“As an example, a lot of our American cars come here with tinted
windows so when we slap on German plates, we are subject to German laws
on what the window tinting should be,” he said.

The changeover will cause an additional transaction to the current
registration procedure. Unlike the current ones, the new “D” plates
will be issued only for the duration of an individual’s tour in
Germany. Vehicle owners must return German plates to local vehicle
registration offices when they are reassigned outside of Germany. This
is because the numbering system of the new plates will come from the
German government instead of USAREUR, which makes the U.S. forces

“Part of the issue on these new plates is going to be the fact that
we’re going to be given a series of numbers that we have to keep using
so getting plates back is going to take up a new importance,” said
Capt. J.P. Guerard, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern provost marshal.

While supplies last, the black-and-white, “VA” plates will be used as
transport plates for vehicles being shipped out of Germany, and the
current plates will be used,” said Tech. Sgt. Chad D. Frahm, 569th
USFPS vehicle and weapons registration NCO in charge.

For more information on the plate conversion, call the Kapaun Vehicle Registration Office at 489-7542.