Authorized U.S. citizens in Germany receive a variety of goods and products through the military postal system from family, friends and online retail companies in the states. The majority of the mail received is processed and made available to customers without interruption.
However, the post offices continue to receive some parcels that contain items that are prohibited and/or restricted for import into Germany.
When German customs officials inspect the post offices and notice a violation, parcels are routinely seized and detained.
A sampling of prohibited items includes:
• Beef jerky and canned meat products, including dog and cat food
• Coffee, alcohol and tobacco products
• Prescription drugs from pharmacies and non-prescription medicines, including supplements, diet pills and vitamins
• Dairy products
• Firearms without proper permits, ammunition and fireworks
• Counterfeit goods, including purses, shoes, clothing, CDs, DVDs and any merchandise that violates trademark agreements
In addition, customers should be aware that use of the military postal system to receive and send goods and merchandise for the purpose of resale, resulting in a financial gain, is strictly prohibited. The resale prohibition violates Department of Defense mail regulations and host nation customs laws. Violators could face penalties or fines from German customs and may also jeopardize their mailing privileges, including a temporary mailing suspension, limited privileges or a permanent revocation of privileges.
Retired military patrons face additional restrictions. In accordance with U.S. European Command Instruction 8703.01, military retirees in Germany may only receive goods and merchandise from commercial mailers with a value of €22 or less and €45 or less from personal mailers. These restrictions are in addition to the 16 ounce weight limit.
For more information on what is prohibited in the mail for Germany, visit www1.zoll.de/english_version/a0_passenger_traffic/e0_vub/g0_medicines/priv_imports/index.html or pick up a copy of USEUCOM NOTICE 8704.01-R, Prohibited Import Items, dated Nov. 1, 2012, available at the Ramstein Northside, Southside and Kapaun post offices.
(Courtesy of Master Sgt. Joshua Keenan)