Skip to content
Home » Owning a car in Germany

Owning a car in Germany

  • 15 min read
  • Blog

Deregister your car when leaving Germany

Despite recent increases in cycling and a visible consolidation of public transport – at least until the corona pandemic in spring 2020 – passenger transport in Germany is dominated by car use. Cars have long been part of the essential household equipment in Germany. With a population of 83 million, there are more than 46 million cars in Germany. 

Deregister your car when leaving Germany
Deregistering a car in Germany is cheaper than registering a car

Drivers license transfer

To transfer a foreign driver’s license, you must apply to the vehicle registration office. You must do this in the district where the driver’s license holder is registered or resides at the transcription time. There is no legal deadline for when you must do this. If you buy a car, you must register it; if you sell one, you should deregister it. You need some documents and an appointment at the vehicle registration office to do this.

To register your vehicle, you must provide the following documents:

  • Identity card or passport
  • Vehicle insurance confirmation (EVB number: a seven-digit combination of numbers and letters) for the vehicle’s liability insurance. In Germany driving on public roads without insurance coverage is a criminal offense.
  • Registration certificate Part I and Part II
  • Proof of the last general inspection ( also called TÜV)
  • Vehicle tax collection authorization
  • Preferred license plate: If you would like a specific license plate, it is possible to reserve one in advance. The fee for this is 10 to 20 euros.

If you send a representative to the registration office, you must issue a written power of attorney. In addition, the person must have their original I.D. and a copy of your I.D.. 

Who must deregister a car?

You must deregister your car if you sell it, decommission it or scrap it, and you can do this at any registration office in Germany. You must also deregister your car if you choose to move abroad. 

How to deregister my car

The registration office automatically informs the main customs office and your insurance company that the vehicle has been deregistered. Anyone who currently wants to register or deregister a car must make an appointment in advance.  You can make the appointment to deregister a vehicle via the Internet in 13 of the 16 state capitals. At some authorities, making an appointment is also possible by e-mail or telephone. Bremen and Wiesbaden still allow on-site processing without an appointment.

In Berlin, Hanover, Düsseldorf, Saarbrücken, and Munich, people sometimes had to wait weeks for an appointment. In half of the state capitals, appointments were available on the same day. Because of the Corona restrictions, we advise people in doubt to call the registration offices to find out whether shorter appointments are possible or whether the information on the websites is up to date.

Within the European Union you can take your vehicle with you when you move
Within the European Union, you can take your vehicle with you

You will need the following documents to deregister your vehicle:

  • Registration certificate part I (formerly: vehicle registration document)
  • Registration certificate part II (previously: vehicle title)
  • The license plate number of the car
  • Current TÜV report
  • Your identity card or passport (with registration certificate from the residents’ registration office)
  • In the case of final vehicle deregistration: proof of recycling from a certified scrap car collection point.

The documents are always necessary, regardless of whether you sell your car after Deregistration, scrap it or want to do something else with it. All papers are essential for Deregistration.

How much does it cost to deregister my car?

It doesn’t cost much to deregister a car at the vehicle registration office. Usually, you pay between seven and ten euros for Deregistration, which is cheaper than registering the vehicle.

If you deregister the car at the same registration office where you registered it, you pay less.

In this case, you can expect to pay around five to seven euros. When you register the car at a different registration office, it will cost about ten to twelve euros.

Can I keep my car in Germany when I move abroad?

A car can no longer be registered in your name in Germany (however, a vehicle that has already been registered can continue to run under the designation of an authorized representative) when you deregister. You can deregister your vehicle in Germany at any vehicle registration office or, if applicable, on their online portal. As a rule, it is not possible to deregister abroad, for example, at the foreign representations of the Federal Republic of Germany. Within the European Union, you can take your vehicle with you without any problems.

Emigrants need motor vehicle liability insurance in the country of destination, a technical inspection by the local TÜV, and a declaration that the car complies with the European operating regulations. In some countries, you can take the no-claims bonus from Germany along. Deregistration or re-registration is unnecessary if you keep your residence in Germany and stay in another E.U. country for less than six months. In this case, you do not need to re-register your car and do not have to pay vehicle tax in the E.U. country.

How to leave Germany with my car
You have already left Germany? Let SympatMe deregister your car for you

How to leave Germany with my car

Within the European Union, you can take your vehicle with you without any problems. Emigrants need motor vehicle liability insurance in the destination country, a technical inspection by the local TÜV, and a declaration that the car complies with the European operating regulations. Those who emigrate to another continent, such as South America, the USA, or Australia, must ship their car.

The transport is associated with considerable costs. Emigrants must expect costs of between 1,500 and 2,500 euros for shipping alone. In addition, various fees can amount to several hundred euros. The car must also comply with the prevailing safety regulations there. In the U.S., for example, authorities require side impact protection, bumper guards, and more. The conversion can be expensive if the car does not comply with the regulations.

Furthermore, emigrants will have to pay customs fees. They also have to do much paperwork, take care of import formalities, and get an export license plate. In many cases, all this effort and the high costs do not pay off. So it’s easier to sell the car in Germany and look for a new vehicle locally. You can use the money from the sale proceeds as a down payment for a car abroad.

Some countries, such as Uruguay, prohibit the importation of cars for individuals unless they are retirees, have permanent residency, own real estate, or can prove a certain amount of monthly income. Before leaving the country, emigrants are strongly advised to check the destination country’s customs regulations. Otherwise, your car may be confiscated by customs.

How to deregister my car from abroad

You can deregister your vehicle in Germany at any vehicle registration office or, if applicable, on their online portal. As a rule, it is not possible to deregister abroad, for example, at the foreign representations of the Federal Republic of Germany.

You should always deregister your car in person at the vehicle registration office. However, you can also appoint a representative to deregister your vehicle for you. Unlike vehicle registration and re-registration, the representative does not need a power of attorney for deregistration. If you don’t know anybody in Germany that can take care of this for you, you should book the help of a service provider like SympatMe.

Let SympatMe register your car in Germany. Online, Easy & also possible from abroad
Let SympatMe register your car in Germany

Vehicle registration: Now also online

Cars can also be registered, transferred, and deregistered online. It is how vehicle registration works online:

  • A new ID card with eID online function is required.
  • Vehicle registration certificate and letter must have concealed security codes.
  • Payment is made online using an EC or credit card.

Digitization in the registration offices: Initial registration and transfer to a new owner are possible via the Internet. This Internet-based vehicle registration*, or i-Kfz, complements the deregistration and re-registration of passenger cars via the Internet. However, only about two-thirds of the registration offices offer a comprehensive range of services for online registration on their Internet portals. Online registration is currently only possible for general license plates. It is not yet possible for all others, such as seasonal license plates and so-called e-license plates.

What you need for online registration

To use the online service, you must meet some requirements: For all processes, the vehicle owner needs a new ID card with activated eID online function* and associated PIN. In addition, a card reader or a smartphone with a free ID app*. Secondly, the registration certificates (vehicle registration document and vehicle title) must have a hidden security code* that must be rubbed-free. It has been the case for Part I of the registration certificate since 2015 and Part II since 2018.

You can deregister your vehicle at any vehicle registration office in Germany
You can deregister your vehicle at any vehicle registration office in Germany

This is how registration works

You must first identify yourself in the online portal of the local registration authority using your new ID card or your electronic residence permit. It is how it continues in the case of a first-time registration: Enter the vehicle identification number FIN and then the security code on the registration certificate Part II (vehicle title) – you must uncover this beforehand. Then you need the eVB number of the insurance company for proof of vehicle liability and account data to collect vehicle tax. 

Now, you can select the next available license plate or enter your reserved preferred license plate. After automatically checking the application data, you pay by ePayment, for example, Giropay or a credit card. Which means of payment is accepted depends on the IT of the respective registration office. After all, entries have been confirmed. A clerk checks the application at the registration office. Then the registration notice and certificates, stamp sticker holder, and the sticker holder for the primary inspection (HU) to stick on the license plate will be sent to you by mail. Once the sticker holder has been affixed to the license plate, you can drive off.

Deregistering a car – also online

Can I do it online? You’ll find the answers here.

Deregistering a car when moving – is that necessary?

You do not have to deregister your car when you move, and it is sufficient to re-register at the new place of residence.

Can I deregister my car anywhere?

You can deregister your car at any vehicle registration office in Germany. It means that you do not have to go to the registration office at your residence, as is the case when you re-register or register your vehicle.

Was your car stolen? Then the police can also carry out the vehicle deregistration as part of the report.

deregister a German car online
The deregistration of your car is also possible without the letter or vehicle registration certificate

Deregister your car online: Is this possible?

An advantage for vehicle owners whose car was registered in 2015 is that you can also deregister your vehicle online. You have one more minor official procedure to complete when the vehicle is decommissioned, sold, or scrapped. Practical not only for those who are moving and whose time is therefore short.

The requirements for the online deregistration of your car at a glance:

  • Your vehicle was registered as of 1.1.2015. In this case, there are stamped plates on the license plates, under which a security code is hidden. You will need this code if you want to deregister your vehicle online.
  • You have an electronic ID card with an activated online function (eID) and a reader at hand and use the ID card app of the Federal Office for Information Security.
  • You can make payments online (credit card, Giropay, or similar). The exact costs vary from municipality to municipality.

Deregistering a vehicle: This is how it’s done online, step by step

If you meet all the requirements, you can conveniently deregister your car online via the homepage of the registration office at your place of residence. This is how it works:

  • You register with your registration office for online deregistration. To securely confirm your identity, you will need your electronic ID card, reader, and the ID card app.
  • Enter your car license plate number.
  • Then enter the security code of the sticker on the license plates. You must either remove the security cover or scratch off the seal emblem to make this visible.
  • Now you still need the seven-digit security code from the registration certificate part I (vehicle registration document). You will find this in the vehicle registration document under a white field that you must scratch-free.
  • Once you have entered everything, you finally pay the fee by credit card or Giropay. You can find out the costs for deregistration at the registration office.
  • Once the data has been transferred and processed, you will receive the deregistration notice by mail.

Good to know: An online deregistration is also an option for older vehicles. Namely, suppose they have already been deregistered before but were re-registered from 1.1.2015 or later (re-registration). In that case, the decisive factor is the registration date, not the year of manufacture of the vehicle.

What do you need to deregister a car?

To deregister your vehicle, you will generally need the following documents:

  • valid identity card or passport
  • Registration certificate part I (formerly vehicle registration document)
  • Registration certificate part II (previously vehicle title)
  • License plates

Optional:

Proof of disposal, if the vehicle has been scrapped valid inspection report of the primary inspection (HU), if the deregistration is only temporary

What do you need to deregister a vehicle from Germany?
You can still drive your deregistered vehicle until the end of the deregistration day

Are you deregistering a car: Possible without the letter or vehicle registration certificate?

The registration certificate part II (formerly vehicle title) is proof that you are the car’s owner. The deregistration must be entered in part I’s registration certificate (previously vehicle registration document). It is therefore inconvenient if you have lost or misplaced these documents. But deregistration is still possible: You must submit an affidavit of loss to the registration authority. Then you can deregister your car without a letter or vehicle registration document.

Power of attorney for vehicle deregistration is not necessary

You can also be represented when deregistering your car. The representative usually does not need a power of attorney for the vehicle deregistration. The decisive factor is who presents the registration certificate part II (vehicle title). In this case, the registration office assumes that the letter’s owner is also authorized to deregister the vehicle. It is best to ask the authorities which documents your authorized representative should bring with him in advance. Some authorities still insist on a written power of attorney or other proof such as a sales contract or a certificate of inheritance.

What happens after deregistration?

You are asking yourself: Can I still drive my deregistered vehicle? The answer is: Yes, until the end of the deregistration day. Therefore, you can drive the car to the scrapyard, dealer, or home without problems. Prerequisite: Your motor vehicle liability insurance covers this drive. Therefore, check the terms and conditions of your insurance policy in advance.

Deregistering a car: Insurance and tax

The registration authority automatically informs the car insurance and the tax office about the deregistration. If you do not want to rely on this, you can send the deregistration certificate to your insurance company.

Motor vehicle insurance is suspended for 18 months

You must not cancel the car insurance after deregistration. It was initially dormant for 18 months as a result of deregistration. During this time, you do not have to pay any premiums. However, the insurance coverage continues – but only on the parking space. If you re-register within 18 months, insurance coverage becomes fully active again. At the end of the 18 months without re-registration, the insurance expires without separate notice.

You can keep your license plate if you want to register another vehicle
You can keep your license plate if you want to register another vehicle

License plates

By removing the registration authority’s inspection sticker and official seal, the license plates are rendered unusable. You can then decide whether you want to take the license plates with you or have them disposed of.

Tip: If you would like to register a new car with the same license plate after deregistering the vehicle, you should reserve the desired license plate directly on site.

Please keep in mind that we do our best to provide credible and up-to-date information, but we are not an official advisor (in the sense of the Legal Services Act, RDG) for taxes, legal matters, and the like. Our service does not replace an individual consultation with legal assistance, and we provide digital tools and automated workflows to assist with the residence deregistration and related necessary steps.

Image sources:

  1. Roman Kraft / Unsplash
  2. Frank Albrecht / Unsplash
  3. Viktor Theo / Unsplash
  4. Eric Muhr / Unsplash
  5. Samuel Foster / Unsplash
  6. Arrul Lin / Unsplash
  7. Nicolas Peyrol / Unsplash
  8. Kevin Solbrig / Unsplash
  9. Anastasia Tarasova / Unsplash
  10. Robert Klank / Unsplash
nv-author-image

Anne

Anne grows company awareness threw various online/ social media channels. Further to this, she manages editorial planning and execution.