Importing property into Germany duty and tax-free

With AE Form 550-175A

Import/Export Certificate & Purchase Permit

Imports into Germany (from outside the European Union)

Do you want to buy a racing bike in Switzerland? Are you interested in purchasing a rug from Turkey? Is your new furniture being shipped in from the States?
As a US service member, civilian component or their dependent stationed in Germany, you should be aware of your tax relief rights when making purchases outside the EU as there is the potential of making big savings!
Your local military customs office can assist you in getting your items into Germany duty and tax-free with the AE Form 550-175A (Import / Export Certificate & Purchase Permit).

    What do you need to bring with you?

  • Authorized person’s / sponsor’s name

  • SSN / DoD ID

  • Organization name

  • APO address

  • DEROS date

  • Invoice or order Form including information on imported item, value, where it was imported from, vendor’s / seller’s address and name

  • Shipping documents

On issuance by the military customs office, take your two copies to the respective German customs office for processing and release of goods. The stamped form is valid for 90 days from issuance date. Please read, understand and comply with the Privacy Act information (at the top on page 1) and Part V Declaration by (page 2).


  • AE Form 550-175A gives no authorization to a sales representative, lawyer, delivery company, agent hired by a vendor or any person not authorized individual logistic support / SOFA status to effect customs clearance in Germany.
  • If you are travelling back from outside the European Union (EU) and have made a purchase, then you are obliged to inform the respective customs authorities at the EU border that you are US service member or civilian component with SOFA status (i.e. have tax privileges). Furthermore you will need to inform them that you will report purchased goods to your local customs office.
  • You must take the two copies to German customs and you are responsible for completing the transaction.

Importing a vehicle or purchasing a vehicle from a customs warehouse

The AE Form 550-175A will also allow you to import a vehicle, purchase a vehicle from an authorized U.S. car dealer which is being held in a German customs warehouse or buy a vehicle from German car dealer duty and tax-free.

What do I need to do?

  • Obtain AE Form 550-175A from a military customs office
  • Present two original copies together with AE Form 190-1AA (Application for Motor Vehicle Registration) to the German customs office
  • German customs keeps both copies of the AE Form 550-175A and stamps the AE Form 190-1AA. The stamp is required to effect the import of the vehicle or purchase from the German customs warehouse (except vehicles purchased through the Canadian, British or French PX).

Export Certificate

An export certificate permits authorized personnel to export personal and household goods duty and tax-free. AE Form 550-175A will be submitted only when requested by local German customs authorities.

Special rules for importing weapons

It is prohibited to bring firearms into the Federal Republic of Germany until they are properly registered with U.S. Forces and German authorities. For detailed information, US service members and civilian components should contact the Firearms Section of the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

  • Please click here to view the Registry of Motor Vehicles firearms webpage.
  • In order for the military customs office to issue an AE Form 550-175A for tax and duty-free firearm importation you need to bring…

    • USAREUR weapon’s registration
    • German hunting license (Jagdschein) or weapons possession card (Waffenbesitzkarte)
    • German importation certificate (Verbringungserlaubnis)

  • Please click here to view the Customs Advice pamphlet in PDF format.