Getting a Vehicle in Germany

Getting a Vehicle in Germany

by Stripes Europe
Stripes Europe



  • On-installation: USAREUR license.
  • Off-installation: Though many companies will rent to you with both a U.S. license and International Driving Permit (IDP), the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) states that you need a USAREUR license to drive any vehicle.
  • Look into getting a GPS when you arrive

> Get an IDP through:

  • American Automobile Association (AAA):
  • American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA):
  • Authorized German city or state licensing offices: Ask at the Driver Testing Center


Be sure to bring:

  • Check or money order payable to “USAREUR Registration Fund”
  • ID card and USAREUR license
  • Proof of insurance (name must match ID card)
  • Application for Motor Vehicle Registration (AE Form 190-1AA)
  • U.S.  title/registration (name must match ID card)
  • Shipping document, customs form (AE Form 550-175A) or current NATO registration
  • POV waiver (if applicable)
  • Warning triangle, first-aid kit and reflective vest


  • After registration, you’ll receive temporary plates for up to 30 days
  • Vehicle must be inspected
  • Visit for  the  top  reasons  that  vehicles  fail inspection
  • Once your vehicle passes, you will be issued permanent plates.

> Required Equipment: 

  • Vehicle registration.
  • First-aid kit, warning triangle and reflective vest.
  • During winter: winter or all-season tires, designated with a snowflake or “M+S” (Mud+Snow) symbol.


  • Check, yard-sale websites or your installation’s “lemon lot.”
  • Cars older than 10 years need to be inspected before a sale between ID cardholders.
  • Newer cars must have at least 60 days left on the registration to retain the current inspection expiration date.

> Required documents for vehicle registration on a used vehicle:

  • Same as for shipped POV, minus shipping document.
  • U.S. title/registration document is needed for U.S. specification vehicles.
  • A Bill of Sale with signature of seller and buyer, as well as the vehicle’s make, model, year and chassis number
  • Sales between ID cardholders may also require a lien release.

> Tips

  • Ask owner to complete inspection before de-registration.
  • Have owner keep insurance until registration is transferred.
  • Get proof of exhaust emission testing, service record, previous vehicle defects and inspection pass guarantee. 
  • Sales between government ID cardholders require presence of all buyers and sellers


  • Buy from a dealer participating in the Military Car Sales Program.
  • Benefits include tax-free transactions, worldwide shipping, U.S. specifications and prices lower than U.S. MSRP prices.

> Required documents for vehicle registration on a new vehicle:

  • Same as for shipped POV, minus U.S. title/registration and shipping document.
  • Bill of Sale or purchase order with name and signature of seller and buyer, as well as the vehicle’s make, model, year and chassis number.
  • You’ll have 60 days to provide additional documentation, such as the German title book and customs form.
  • Find out more at


  • Sign up for the duty-free fuel program managed by AAFES.
  • Money can be added to a prepaid card for future purchases.
  • Registered vehicles have a monthly ration based on the size and weight noted on your vehicle registration.

> Program Details:

  • Only available in Germany at on-installation AAFES facilities and off-installation Esso stations.
  • Only good for one assigned vehicle and the type of fuel the car uses.
  • More than one vehicle may be registered, and up to two ID holders may be assigned to a fuel card for each vehicle.
  • Prepaid cash balance is shared across owners and vehicles.
  • Exceeding your fuel ration allowance or prepaid balance, or buying with an expired card, will result in paying the taxed, economy fuel price.

> Using the Card:

  • On-installation: Use prepaid balance or another form of payment.
  • Off-installation: Must use prepaid balance.
  • Pump gas, then take the fuel card, vehicle registration and ID card to the attendant.
  • Know your 4-digit PIN.
  • Amount purchased is deducted from monthly ration.

> Payment for Transaction:

  • Know your ration and card balances:, toll-free number on card or last receipt.
  • Add money to card: cash, check, Military Star card, debit or credit at AAFES shoppettes/gas stations; online at; by phone at the number on the back of the card; and by automatic bank transfer or payment.
  • Lost or stolen card: immediately call AAFES at 0800-181-9945.


Subscribe to our Stripes Europe newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, helpful PCS tips, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Europe
Pinterest: Stars and Stripes Europe
Instagram: @StarsandStripeseurope

Recommended Content

Around the Web