The Ultimate Guide to German Vehicle Registration: Navigating the Process with Ease

Moving to Germany and bringing your vehicle along? Navigating the German car registration process can seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it becomes a breeze. In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through every step of registering your car in Germany, from scheduling an appointment to obtaining your German license plates.

Understanding the German Car Registration System:

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s get a grasp on how the German car registration system operates. The process starts with booking an appointment at your local vehicle registration center. Make sure you have all the necessary documents ready, including:

  1. TÜV Certificate: Your imported vehicle must pass a technical inspection at an authorized center to ensure it meets German road standards. This inspection usually costs between €100 and €200.
  2. Valid ID: Bring along your passport or any other valid identification.
  3. Proof of Car Insurance: Car insurance is compulsory in Germany. You’ll need to provide your 7-digit eVB number from your insurance provider.
  4. Certificate of Conformity (COC): A European COC certifies that your vehicle complies with European traffic regulations. While manufacturers issue these certificates, services like GetCOC can help you obtain one quickly and easily.
  5. Registration Certificate: All residents in Germany, whether citizens or foreigners, receive a registration certificate as proof of residence.
  6. Proof of Ownership: Ensure you have the documents proving your ownership of the vehicle.
  7. Foreign Registration Certificate (for imported cars): If you’re importing a vehicle, this document is crucial for the registration process.
  8. 032031 Form (Bank Details): You’ll need to provide your bank information during registration to facilitate tax payments.

Importing and Exporting Vehicles:

If you’re planning to import or export a vehicle, here’s what you should know:


  • Imported vehicles must undergo a technical inspection at an authorized center, which typically costs between €100 and €200.
  • Car insurance is mandatory in Germany, and you’ll need to present a 7-digit eVB number provided by your insurance company.
  • A European Certificate of Conformity (COC) is required to prove that your vehicle meets European traffic standards.


  • If you’re exporting a vehicle to a non-EU country, you’ll need to make a customs declaration through the ATLAS Export system.
  • For vehicles weighing less than 1000kg and costing less than €1000, customs declarations can be made at the border when leaving the EU.
  • German export plates are required for exportation.

Getting Your German Number Plates:

Once your vehicle is successfully registered, head to an Autokennzeichen branch or contact an online specialist to have your German license plates printed. After receiving the plates, it’s crucial to return to the registration office to obtain the official seal of your German district. This seal is not just a formality; it signifies the completion of the registration process.

The Cost of Car Registration in Germany:

Let’s break down the expenses involved in registering your vehicle in Germany:

  • The base cost for vehicle registration typically ranges from €30 to €60.
  • Additional expenses include the technical inspection (€100 to €200), the cost of German car number plates (€15 to €50), and the cost of obtaining a COC (€100 to €400).

German Car Number Plates: Design and Format: German license plates have a distinctive look and follow a specific format. They are white with black characters and usually made from aluminum. The standard dimensions for car license plates in Germany, as in most of Europe, are 520 mm x 110 mm (20.5 inches x 4.3 inches). This standard size also applies to trucks, buses, and trailers.

As a member of the European Union, German registration plates feature the EU flag on the left side – a blue strip adorned with 12 yellow stars forming a circle. Next to the EU flag, you’ll find the letter ‘D,’ indicating Germany’s international vehicle registration code.

The registration number on German plates follows the format ‘AAA BBCCCC’:

  • ‘AA’ represents the area code indicating the German district of registration. This code can consist of one, two, or three characters, depending on the district.
  • ‘BBCCCC’ is a serial code comprising one or two letters (‘BB’) and one, two, three, or four numbers (‘CCCC’). This code ranges from A1 to ZZ9999, offering a wide range of combinations.

German license plates feature two stickers:

  1. A registration sticker that validates the plate (found on the front plate)
  2. A safety test sticker indicating the vehicle’s roadworthiness (found on the rear plate, above the registration sticker, between the area code and the serial code)

Special and Custom German License Plates: Special Plates: Certain categories of vehicles in Germany have special license plates, such as government officials, military vehicles, ambulances, and diplomatic vehicles. For example, the President and Chancellor have license plate numbers ‘0-1’ and ‘0-2,’ respectively. Additionally, cars belonging to car dealers feature red characters instead of the standard black.

Customization Options: While customization options are limited, you can personalize the 6-digit serial code of your German license plate. Keep in mind that reserving custom numbers may incur an additional fee of €10 to €15. This allows you to add a unique touch to your vehicle while adhering to German regulations.


Registering your car in Germany may seem like a complex undertaking, but with the right information and preparation, it becomes a manageable task. This ultimate guide has covered every aspect of the German car registration system, from scheduling your initial appointment to obtaining your German number plates. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the German car registration process and enjoy a smooth transition to life on German roads.

Streamline your car registration in Germany by ordering your Certificate of Conformity (COC) through GetCOC. As the top provider of official and authentic COCs valid in all EU and EEA countries, GetCOC ensures a hassle-free experience. Take the first step toward stress-free driving in Germany – order your COC from GetCOC today!