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Driving For Members

EXPLAINED: How to register your car in Germany from September 1st

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How to register your car in Germany from September 1st
A sign in the city centre points the way to the registration office in Potsdam. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Soeren Stache

Vehicle registration is about to get a lot easier in Germany, as the process moves online from September 1st. But how will it work?

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What’s happening?

In an era of digital transformation, Germany is taking a significant step towards streamlining its vehicle registration process.

From September 1st, the new i-Kfz project, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMDV), will introduce an internet-based vehicle registration system that will allow people to register, de-register, and re-register their vehicles online.

When do I need to register my vehicle?

Anyone who owns a motor vehicle in Germany and intends to use it on public roads has to register it with the authorities in the area where they live. This applies to both residents and non-residents and also means that vehicles have to be re-registered when moving to a different region of Germany.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What to know about driving in low emissions zones in Germany

If you buy a car through a dealership, they will normally take care of vehicle registration for you. But if you bought the car privately or imported it, you will need to register it yourself.

Until now, that meant making an appointment at the local Kraftfahrzeug Zulassungsstelle (car registration office), but from September 1st, this can be done online.

What documents do I need to register my vehicle?

There are several documents that you need to register your vehicle, including:

- A valid ID (a German passport, foreign one or an ID card)

- Registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung)

- Proof of ownership (part II of the car’s registration certificate)

- Proof of car insurance (eVB number)

- Foreign registration certificate (for imported cars only)

- Proof of road worthiness following technical inspection (TÜV certificate)

- SEPA direct debit mandate for payment of vehicle tax

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How do I register online?

The federal states and local administrations will be responsible for setting up the i-Kfz registration portals and these portals can be accessed through the website of your local registration authority (or by searching, for example "Berlin i-Kfz Anmeldung").

To use the online service, you will need:

- An identity card (including residency permits) with an eID online function

- A card reader or a smartphone with a free ID app

- Vehicle documents with security code 

How long do I have to wait before I can drive my car?

One of the major changes introduced by the i-Kfz is that the vehicle registration is activated immediately. Once registered through the i-Kfz system, vehicles can hit the roads right away.

The registration notification, vehicle documents, and license plates will then be sent by mail, which usually two to three business days. You can be on the road without these documents for up to 10 days, as long as you keep the digital registration certificate as proof that the vehicle is registered.

READ ALSO: How to get a German driver's licence as a third-country national

As with regular registration, you will need to take care of the license plates yourself. However, these can also be easily ordered online, via a website like the STVA.

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What does online vehicle registration cost?

The fees for digital vehicle registration are slightly higher than those for in-person visits to the registration office.

The cost for digitally registering a vehicle for the first time is €27.90 (instead of €27). For transferring vehicle ownership, the fee is €28.20, while the de-registration of a car costs only €5.70.

There is also a charge of €10.20 for sending the Part II registration certificate by registered mail or as a certificate of postal delivery.

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Comments (1)

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Rodney Basford 2023/08/28 11:29
Please, can you suggest some relevant "free ID apps"?

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