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If all this seems a bit overwhelming you can contact Relocation Service move-in for assistance on a job-by-job basis.

Click here for information on Karlsruhe's specific low emissions policy and parking.


Car Insurance

You must have insurance for your car in Germany. If the car is registered in Germany, any number of agencies will issue a policy. The cost will depend on the age of the car, your driving record etc.

If your car is registered outside of Germany, make sure your policy covers Germany.


Vehicle Registration

You should have a German translation of your car's registration papers. This can be arranged at the local ADAC.

EU — If your car is registered in another EU country, you can use it in Germany up to one year. See here for more information. The agency responsible for car taxes is the Customs Agency.


Non-EU living in Karlsruhe — If you want to bring your car from a non-EU country, the vehicle may be subject to import duties and VAT, although in most cases if the vehicle is for private use and has been in your possession for at least six months, you will be exempt.  Please check with the customs office before importing your car. To register your vehicle, find your nearest Karlsruhe office.  Some offices have an on-line appointment service.

  • Servicezentrum Auto und Verkehr - Steinhäuserstr. 22
  • Ortsverwaltung Grötzingen - Rathausplatz 1
  • Ortsverwaltung Stupferich - Kleinsteinbacher Str. 16

You will need to bring your vehicle to the place of registration for proof of identification. The types of documents you need to show depend on the age of your vehicle. If it is less than 6 months old, it is considered new. Documents you may need to bring with you — check with the office to determine exactly what you will need:

  • form of identification (passport or ID card)
  • residence registration papers (Anmeldeformular)
  • vehicle license plates and registration papers
  • proof that the vehicle is roadworthy if it is older than three years - (HU - Hauptuntersuchung) - General Inspection
  • receipt or bill of sale for the vehicle (original)
  • proof of insurance (eVB Nummer - elektronische Versicherungsbestätigung) - you can obtain this number from your insurance company
  • European Certificate of Conformity ( COC:  EG Übereinstimmungsbescheinigung) issued by the manufacturer or their agent (original)
  • A TÜV/DEKRA certificate of roadworthiness and emissions testing in accordance with § 21 STVZO, if you do not have a COC
  • customs clearance certificate if coming from a non-EU country
  • direct debit authorization for vehicle taxation (Einzugsermächtigung für Kfz-Steuer) — you cannot have your vehicle registered if you do not provide this information — no exceptions! Taxes will be automatically withdrawn from your bank account once a year, the amount depending on the age and size of your vehicle.

A registration fee must be paid in cash or with an EC card and PIN number.

Non-EU living in Landkreis Karlsruhe — The same information as above but the place to take care of this is:

Zulassungstelle Karlsruhe

Beiertheimer Allee 2, 76137 Karlsruhe

Zulassungsstelle Bruchsal

Am Alten Güterbahnhof 9, 76646 Bruchsal

Zulassungsstelle Bretten

Hermann-Beuttenmüller-Straße 6, 75015 Bretten

Zulassungsstelle Ettlingen

Am Lindscharren 4-6, 76275 Ettlingen


Vehicle Taxes (Kfz Steuer)

A yearly vehicle tax is levied - this is taken care of by the Zollamt (Customs Office). All persons who have cars registered in Germany must pay this tax. It will be automatically withdrawn from your bank account once a year. There is no other way to pay this fee — you must fill out the forms to allow automatic withdrawal once a year of the car taxes. The amount will depend on the age and size of your vehicle.


Legalities

Always carry your driver's license and vehicle registration paper with you when you drive.

Everyone in the car must wear a seat belt.

Children under 12 years of age or 1.5 meters in height must have a special seat.

Telephoning while driving is only allowed with a hands-free system (head-set, speaker etc.).

This being Germany, there are, of course, many more rules and regulations. Be aware because ignorance of the law cannot be used as an excuse.


Winter Tires

Winter tires are required in Germany in icy or snowy conditions

A 2010 law clearly states that you may not drive without winter tires and this applies to all motorized vehicles using roads in Germany.  This also applies to vehicles registered abroad. When renting a car it is the driver's responsibility to check if the hired vehicle is equipped with proper tires.

Suitable tires will normally be marked 'M+S' (mud and snow) however these can also be marked with a snow flake or snowy mountains symbol. For best results the ADAC, the German automobile club, recommends a tread depth of at least 4 mm and tires which have a "3 Peak mountain Snow Flake" seal, which means it is suitable for use in severe snow conditions.

As of January 1, 2018 all new winter and all-weather tires must have the “Alpine” symbol (snowflake with a stylized mountain). M+S is no longer sufficient for winter conditions. This regulation is valid for new tires produced after December 31, 2107. Tires produced before this date may be used until September 30, 2024.

Winter weather conditions include black ice, snow, ice, slush and hoarfrost.  Please bear in mind that these conditions may also be present even if the temperature is above 0 degrees. As winter weather is unpredictable it is advisable to have winter tires on from October through Easter.

Motorists in violation of this law face fines and may also be prevented from using their vehicles. Be aware that your insurance may be invalid if you are in violation of winter tire regulations. If your tires are not appropirate for the weather conditions, the fine is €75 – more if you are in or cause an accident


Emergency Equipment

German law requires that all automobiles be equipped with:

  • a triangle caution sign
  • as of July 1, 2014, all cars must have a bright colored vest for the driver in case of emergency - these must conform to the European Norm 471 (EN 471). In many European countries, one vest per passenger is the rule.
  • a first aid kit (DIN number 13164). First aid kits are available at the ADAC or German service stations.

If you have a breakdown on the Autobahn, there are emergency telephones every two kilometers. A small black arrow on the white posts will direct you to the nearest phone. If you use your mobile phone, be sure to note the kilometer marking on the side of the road so that you are more easily found.

If you are in an accident, call the police (110) and/or emergency number (112) in case of injuries. You may not leave the scene of an accident without leaving your contact details - otherwise you could be accused of hit-and-run.