Household effects

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Under Übersiedlungsgut refers personal property in which no import duties on transfer to the customs territory of the EC incurred.

When moving across customs borders, all belongings brought with you would have to be cleared and taxed. However, as the European Community generally supports immigration, there are customs and tax exemptions for so-called household effects.

What counts as household effects?

  • personal household items (e.g. furniture and household appliances)
  • Vehicles for personal use (e.g. also sports aircraft)
  • Household supplies (the amount is based on the usual needs of the people moving)
  • Domestic animals and mounts
  • portable objects required for the exercise of manual or professional activities

Customs must be able to clearly see that the imported goods are not intended for resale, they must be recognizable as personal removal goods.

What does not count as household effects?

  • alcoholic products,
  • Tobacco and tobacco products,
  • Commercial vehicles,
  • commercially used items (exception: portable instruments and devices, see above )


If you want to change your usual place of residence and move to the customs territory of the Community , this is only possible if the person moving has previously lived outside the customs territory of the Community for twelve months or if he can prove, for example by means of an employment contract, that it at least his intention to do so was. In addition to the conditions listed above, the household effects must actually belong to the beneficiary and have been in use for at least six months prior to the move. This must be proven, for example, by means of invoice receipts or sales contracts. Furthermore, the goods must retain their previous function. The goods do not have to be dispatched in a single shipment, but must not exceed the time frame of twelve months in order to guarantee the duty-free introduction.

Registration with customs

Relocation goods must be registered in writing using the form provided for the release into free circulation under customs law. If you have any questions, you can contact the responsible customs office in the country of immigration.

Customs surveillance

To ensure that the duty-free goods are not used as commercial goods, the household effects are under observation by the customs office for twelve months after they have been released for free circulation. In order for this to be possible, the beneficiary must neither:

  • still lend
  • to rent,
  • pledge,
  • give away
  • or sell.

If these regulations are violated, there is no customs exemption and criminal or fine proceedings will result.

Legal bases

  • Articles 2 to 10 of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 918/83 on the Community system of customs exemptions of March 28, 1983 (Official Journal of the European Communities No. L 105 of April 23, 1983, p. 1; corrected in the Official Journal of EG No. L 274 of October 7, 1983, p. 40 and No. L 256 of September 27, 1985, p. 47);
  • Section 1 of the 1993 Import VAT Exemption Ordinance of August 11, 1992 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1526); amended by ordinance of February 9, 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 302, correction of Federal Law Gazette I p. 523);
  • § 1 of the import excise tax exemption ordinance of June 8, 1999 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1414).

Individual evidence

  1. Regulation (EEC) No. 918/83

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