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Old 01-25-2012, 07:07 PM   #1
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TacomaWorld aus Germany

Hola. I'm moving to Germany next month and I'm stressing the customs inspection. Does anyone have any experience with the customs officials and their window tint? I've heard bad things...
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Old 01-26-2012, 04:23 AM   #2
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Is your move military related? If so, you'll have no problems with customs. In fact, unless you're shipping the vehicle independently (not using military transport), you'll never even see a customs official. With military transport, the vehicle will leave the USA through a military facilty (Charlestown, etc) and arrive in Germany at another military facility (Bremerhaven). Of course, the vehicle will be inspected carefully when you turn it in to the military for shipment to Germany (even excess dirt is not allowed on the vehicle). Check with your vehicle transport office for full details, including any considerations regarding lien holders.

Once the vehicle arrives in Bremerhaven, you can usually arrange to have it delivered to the military installation you're assigned to. If that service is not available at your particular military installation, you'll have to travel to Bremerhaven to get the vehicle yourself (most carpool or travel by train). Prior to picking up the vehicle, you'll need to obtain a USAREUR drivers license (written test with far more questions than most tests here, covering European traffic laws, signs, etc), license plates (German plates issued by the military), and vehicle insurance.

If your move is independent of the military (an entirely civilian move), it's a vastly different story. Your vehicle will have to be converted to EU specifications (very expensive) and inspected before it can be registered. You'll also likely (some exceptions) be required pay import duties once you establish residency (tourists visiting less than six months are exempt).

As a civilian not associated with the military, you'll also need to obtain a German drivers license. However, depending on which state your license was obtained from, you can often simply trade in your USA drivers license directly for the German license (no driving school, tests, etc) after registering as a new resident. For more info about that (process, etc), visit the AMCham Germany website and search for "driver's license" under the menus on the home page.

I'm quite familar with all this, so certainly feel free to ask any additional questions you might think of. By the way, if a military-related move, you'll usually have no problems with you window tint if it's legal in your state. If a civilian move, any non-manufacturer installed tint will likely have to be removed to comply with EU specifications.

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Old 01-26-2012, 10:21 PM   #3
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thanks, stew! awesome feedback and tips. this is a PCS, i'm headed to landstuhl. do you work for customs?
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:01 AM   #4
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Do I work for customs? No. I've simply had a long association with the military (active duty, civilian employee, etc), including many moves to and from overseas. In fact, I just returned last November from a 6-year stint in Germany, employed at HQ US Army Europe (USAREUR) in Heidelberg. That was my fourth visit, for a combined total of roughly 16-years within that country. I've also lived in Italy, Spain, Turkey, and elsewhere.

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Old 01-27-2012, 01:28 AM   #5
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Enjoy it! I'd love to go to Germany. I took two semesters of German my first year in college, its a cool language and a lot easier to learn than you'd think.
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Old 01-27-2012, 05:16 AM   #6
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I shipped my '87 Toyota to Germany way back in 1992. It had dark tinted windows but I don't remember having to remove it when I had it inspected. However, if your tires stick out farther than your fenders you will have to get fender flairs or different wheels and tires. Having said that, it has been 20 years so I am sure the rules have changed since then.
I spent 2 years in Nurenberg and enjoyed every minute of it. Have a good time but keep out of trouble. The Polzei does not mess around.
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Old 01-27-2012, 05:33 AM   #7
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One of the most important things to acquire is the lein release from your title holder, unless you own it outright. Shipped my vehicle both times, just made sure I had all required paperwork in order and made sure the vehicle was clean inside and out. Other than that get the book and study those traffic signs, they are the number one killer for the licensing test. I think we have about 50 in our entire country; they teach you the most important 150, there's alot more than that. I was stationed in Germany twice, would go back in a second if I could find the right job.
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Old 01-27-2012, 05:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staticsquelch View Post
One of the most important things to acquire is the lein release from your title holder, unless you own it outright. Shipped my vehicle both times, just made sure I had all required paperwork in order and made sure the vehicle was clean inside and out. Other than that get the book and study those traffic signs, they are the number one killer for the licensing test. I think we have about 50 in our entire country; they teach you the most important 150, there's alot more than that. I was stationed in Germany twice, would go back in a second if I could find the right job.
X2... The USAEUR license test is no joke. They required us to take a 40 hour class before we could take the test.
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:31 AM   #9
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thanks for the feedback, guys! i'm not leaving for another two weeks but i'm already packed and ready. can't wait to get back. this is my first experience with shipping a vehicle overseas. last time i inherited a vehicle from my boss.

my orders actually define the parameters of the tint law and my wife's convinced that we'll have to get it removed but i think i'll leave it, as everyone is saying that it won’t be a problem.

the quickest lesson i learned in the army is "don't believe the hype!"
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:41 AM   #10
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stew: great website! the practice tests and manual will be helpful.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julian parzival View Post
stew: great website! the practice tests and manual will be helpful.
The current drivers license manual and practice tests for military personnel can be found here. Information on the AMCham Germany (American Chamber of Commerce, Germany) website applies only to U.S. civilians and businesses in Germany.

Active duty military personnel and their dependants must obtain the military-issued USAREUR drivers license. Again, the manual and practice tests can be found here. Civilian employees of the military may use either the German (see earlier message) or the USAREUR drivers license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abn2060 View Post
X2... The USAEUR license test is no joke. They required us to take a 40 hour class before we could take the test.
The class is still required. At the moment, the written test consists of 100 questions, 25 of those covering international road signs. To pass, one must get at least 85 of those questions correct. Despite the study manual, practice tests, and class, the failure rate is high.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:15 PM   #12
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thanks for the tips. definitely had to take the tint off the driver/ passenger windows. old guy at baumholder was very nice and took it off one of the windows for me so i could pass the inspection. it hurt... but the trucks legal now.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:59 AM   #13
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That's a shame. I've not heard of too many having problems with window tint. The few were extremely dark tints, darker than allowed in most states. Well, at least you can get new tint put back on once you return.

How did you do on the USAREUR drivers test? I've passed it three times before, with the last time (fourth) simply given to me (missed one too many questions) simply because I was able to show a previous, expired, USAREUR drivers license.

Weilerbach? I used to drive through there occasionally while stationed in Idar-Oberstein many years ago. Today, understand it's mostly ordanance or medical. Anyway, if you get out and travel (even just to the local stores), you're going to love Germany. The stores are similar (familiar), yet quite different at the same time. Take care.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:17 AM   #14
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Julian, if you speak spanish fluently, you should learn German! They are both similar languages in many aspects.

it is very easy to learn, just repitition, repitition.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:09 AM   #15
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thanks ink junky. i had 5 semesters of it back in the day and it's slowly coming back. ...the accents are little hard to manage down here!

where are you guys?
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:19 AM   #16
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tint definitely had to come off. anyone here from the K-Town area?
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:07 PM   #17
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bump
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:14 PM   #18
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i left germany back in dec of 2010. while i was there they changed it to where no tint on the front passenger and driver windows. every where else is ok.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:48 PM   #19
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I left the K-town area a couple years ago, I miss it dearly. If you like good barbecue wings, Chucks on the walkplatz downtown is a great place to go. Although my favorite food was the little pasta shops they had in the commissarys on Vogelweh and Ramstein.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:39 PM   #20
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i don't think i've been to chucks. did you ever try the doner box from the stand near thirsty nellys? so awesome.

mathis: i've heard of people having their windows re-tinted but i don't think i'll mess with it. i miss the look but would rather not pay rheinland-pfalz anymore of my money. speeding tickets are bleeding me.

stewartx: did you hear their moving the hospital to weilerbach?
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