PCSing to Germany? Here’s How to Transport Your Car

Military Shipping, Tips, Vehicle ShippingWith 0 comments

As a military member who’s about to relocate to Germany, you surely have a lot on your mind. Car transportation may be your main preoccupation at the moment, but if so, don’t worry. PCSing to Germany isn’t as stressful as it may sound. Plus, you’re not alone. Hundreds of your colleagues have already been through the same hassle. Luckily, we have gathered the most important information you’ll need to know to ship your POV (privately owned vehicle) to your new station in Germany successfully.

We’ll cover different transportation methods, share info about free car transport, and provide more valuable insights on shipping a car from the US to Germany. And if you’re wondering, “How much does it cost to ship a car to Germany?” we’ll answer that as well. So without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Shipping a car to Germany

Shipping a Car From the USA to Germany: Transportation Methods

Military members that fulfill certain conditions are eligible for POV shipment overseas at the expense of the government. You can have your POV shipped free of charge if you meet any of the requirements below.

  • You’re a military member with a new PCS form to Germany
  • You’re a military member with a new PCS form with an authorized home port ship change
  • You’re a Department of Defense (DoD) employee that is being transferred to a new location

Note that the following restrictions may apply for shipping your vehicle with the government.

  • The government can only ship one vehicle you own or lease privately. The second (and any subsequent) vehicle would be at your expense.
  • You can only initiate the shipping if you received a permanent change of station (PCS).
  • You may not be able to ship your vehicle for free if it exceeds the maximum allowed of 20 MTONS.
  • ’You’re only allowed to transport self-propelled motor vehicles with wheels. This includes passenger cars, motorcycles, jeeps, vans, station wagons, pickups, and scooters.
  • Your overseas tour must be for longer than one year for you to ship your POV.
  • You need to have a document proving the ’vehicle’s ownership for all shipments to and from the US, including Germany.
  • For leased vehicles, you need to provide a lienholder-signed statement that they give you permission to ship the car to a military base stationed in Germany.

For more details on restrictions when it comes to shipping a car overseas, you can visit this link.

You can use the government transportation method or choose one of your own. In the first case, you won’t have any power over selecting the transportation mode. If you wish to organize the transport independently, you’ll have greater control over your POV shipment. And if you’re eligible for free shipping, the government will reimburse you for the costs.

There are plenty of car shipping companies that organize international vehicle shipments for military members. To make the best choice, make sure to do thorough research of available companies. You can look for the Better Business Bureau rating or the ’company’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standing. However, word of mouth from friends or family members who already used this type of service successfully can help the most.

For example, Military Car Shipping can get your POV from a specific pickup location in the US all the way to your military base in Germany. We also offer special discounts and have great customer service.

Here are three more reasons to choose Military Car Shipping as your POV shipping company.

Peace of mind

When you work with a company like ours, you have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is in the hands of professionals.

Compliance with all standards

Our military vehicle transportation company follows all standards for vehicle shipments overseas.

Condition reports

We guarantee regular shipment reporting including pictures and documentation. You will also receive transit times to track the delivery.

Whichever company you choose, you should know that vehicle transportation isn’t an exact science. You should be prepared for delays in transport and delivery that can last for five days or even more. That’s why it’s best to leave some wiggle time to meet the changes in deadlines without stressing out.

Also, if you decide to turn in your vehicle to a truck driver, know that they will need a large open space for maneuvering. That’s why it’s best to drop off your truck at the parking lot of a grocery store.

The person in charge of relocating your vehicle will perform a thorough inspection of your POV before picking it up and after delivery. If they detect any type of damage prior to departure, you’ll be asked to sign off on it like you would with the transfer of a damaged piece of furniture.

ship car from usa to germany

Shipping a Car From the US to Germany: Explore the Roll-On or Roll-Off Service

Roll-on or roll-off services are the most affordable option when it comes to shipping a car to Germany. To be able to transport your vehicle to the military base in this country, you need to meet these requirements.

  • No personal items
  • Tools valued at less than $200, a spare tire, and two snow tires with wheels are allowed
  • No more than 1/4 tank of gas
  • No audio or video equipment (DVDs, TVs, or radios) unless they are permanently attached
  • No flammable liquids
  • Must meet the guidelines for Germany; check with TO

Shipping Times for POVs

You can get your vehicle shipped to your military base in Germany as long as you respect the time limit stated by the government. The numbers change for different military departments, so you can find yours below.

Air Force

Air Force members can ship their vehicle for free as long as they deliver it to the port no more than 90 days after their departure for a tour in Germany. Note that the tour should last for at least one year from the date of shipping. If your scheduled tour to Germany lasts less than a year, you can ship your vehicle within 30 days of departure.

Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Navy

Military members of these branches can ship their POV to Germany if their tour is scheduled for at least one more year after departure. The Secretarial Process can grant exceptions to this rule.

The POVs You Can Transport to Germany

A POV is any vehicle in your possession (or in your dependent’s possession) used for personal transportation that can be driven on public highways and is self-propelled. The POV also needs to have at least four wheels and must be able to carry passengers or household goods.

Military members relocating to Germany can ship a motorcycle or moped as long as they aren’t accompanied by other four-wheeled vehicles.

Things to Know Before Shipping Your Car to Germany

  1. Remember that you can only ship one car. If you travel with a family, you’ll have to figure out what you want to do with your second car; sell it, offer it to friends or family, or simply leave it home.
  2. Clean your vehicle well. It’s crucial that you clean your car the best you can before handing it over at the port or to the truck driver (depending on your drop-off choice). You can either do the cleaning yourself or schedule a deep-cleaning service before departure. To be safe, it may be better to opt for the latter.
  3. Don’t forget the engine compartment. After cleaning and checking the interior, you should inspect and clean your engine compartment. You can perform the inspection independently or again, have a professional clean it for you.
  4. Make sure you have any necessary EPA and DOT stickers. The EPA emission sticker should say “Vehicle Emission Control” next to “Catalyst,” and it’s mandatory to possess this in order to pass the official inspection. The DOT sticker goes on the driver’s-side doorframe. It can also be placed in the engine compartment.
  5. Have proof of ownership. You should have all documents, modifications, and amendments that prove you’re the owner of the vehicle that’s being shipped. If someone else will turn the vehicle in for you, bring the power of attorney (POA) or authorization letter that proves it.
  6. Ensure you have no unresolved recall notices for your vehicle. If so, you need to have them settled before departure.
  7. Don’t forget to bring state or government-issued photo identification.
  8. Disconnect all alarms and anti-theft devices before turning in the vehicle.
  9. Bring all keys from the car, including the wheel locks and gas tank keys, and keep the spares for yourself.

Common Reasons Vehicles Don’t Pass VPC Inspection

It’s important to follow all regulations and requirements when preparing your vehicle for the overseas journey. Here are some of the most common issues seen by customers that prevent their car from getting shipped.

  • No EPA sticker
  • Too much fuel
  • Dirty exterior or interior
  • Engine leaks
  • Mechanical problems

Things to Know When Picking Up Your Car in Germany

  1. Make sure you have all documents with you when you come to pick up your POV. This includes proper identification, all keys, and the DD Form 788 or its equivalent copy.
  2. Inspect the interior and exterior of the vehicle once you pick it up. Look for damage or loss and record any such instances in your shipping document to get paid for the damage.
  3. Once you receive a notification that your vehicle is available for pickup, you’ll have 45 days to arrange the procedure.

Cost to Ship a Car to Germany

As military personnel, you’re granted one free POV shipment at the expense of the government for your new PCS to Germany. Should you wish to ship an additional vehicle, you can expect to pay from $900 to $1,300 per vehicle. This includes port-to-port costs and excludes additional fees, import duties, insurance, vehicle collection, etc.

Shipping a Car to Germany: Best Ports

There are several operating ports for shipping vehicles and other cargo from the US to Germany. The best location to ship your car depends on where you’ll be located. Wiesbaden and Ramstein military base members prefer to send their POVs to the Antwerp or Zeebrugge ports in Belgium because it’s the closest port available. Schweinfurt and Bamberg-based military members prefer the Hamburg or Bremerhaven ports in Germany.

Military Car Shipping provides POV shipping services to different ports in Germany and then to the military base.


Can I Ship Two Cars to Germany?

As an active military member with a PCS to Germany, you can only bring one car at the government’s expense. If you wish to ship a second car (including any self-propelled vehicle), you’ll have to cover the expenses yourself.

Can Someone Else Drop Off My Car for Me if I’m Already in Germany?

Absolutely. You can grant your spouse or family member permission to pick up or drop off your POV on your behalf. You’ll have to sign a power of attorney or an authorization letter as proof that you trust this person to do this part of the transfer for you.

Can I Ship a Car to Germany for Free?

Yes, as long as you meet all the requirements stated by the Department of Defense. To ship a car to Germany for free, it needs to meet the given weight limits, be owned or leased by you, and shouldn’t have more than 1/4 tank of gas, among the other items mentioned earlier.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a POV to Germany?

The transit times vary from 20 to 30 days. The duration of the trip depends on the final destination, as well as vessel availability and weather and road conditions.

military pcs to germany

Military PCS to Germany: Find A POV Shipping Company You Can Trust

You can trust Military Car Shipping for POV shipping services to your new military post in Germany. We can arrange pick-up and drop-off at any location that’s most convenient for you. And if you can’t be there to hand or receive the vehicle, you can always assign a person of confidence to do the job for you. Our transport rates are some of the most affordable ones on the market.

Visit our website to get an instant quote and make your relocating easier.