Shopping After Retirement

Customs Advice for US Retirees, Widows, Widowers and Unaccompanied Dependents in Germany

relating to AE Form 550-175K (US Forces Status Verification)

Who is permitted to shop in US sales facilities in Germany after military retirement and loss of individual logistic support?

    Eligibility in accordance with
    AE Regulation 550-175

  • Retired military personnel and their dependents who permanently reside in Germany.

  • Retired military personnel and their dependents who visit Germany for at least 30 uninterrupted days.

  • Dependent spouses of retired military personnel who reside without their sponsors permanently in Germany.

  • Widow(er)s of retired military personnel who have not remarried and reside permanently in Germany and their dependents.

  • Retired reservists (reservists who are otherwise eligible for retirement, but are under the age of 60).

  • 100% disabled veterans.

  • Unaccompanied dependent children of active duty or retired military personnel whose sponsor does not reside in Germany.

  • Unaccompanied dependents of active duty service members who are assigned to a restricted short tour outside of Germany.

  • 20/20/20 former spouses of retired military personnel.

    Not eligible

  • Retired civilian employees.

  • Widow(er)s and 20/20/20 former spouses visiting in Germany.

  • Dependents of retired military personnel visiting Germany without their sponsor.

What do I need to bring with me to obtain approval for shopping?

You will need to obtain a status verification (AE Form 550-175K) from a US Forces customs office in Germany. Military retirees, dependents, unaccompanied dependents (UD), unaccompanied dependent spouses, or widow(er)s will have to present the following documents:

  • Respective ID cards (e.g. Military Retiree ID card, Dependent Retiree ID card, Widow(er) ID card)
  • Passport or Personalausweis
  • Valid residence permit if residing or ordinary resident in Germany

What do I have to do next?

The AE Form 550-175K must be presented to your local German customs office for further processing and issuance of the actual authorization Form 0216 and Form 0217, also called “Pink Card”. In order to access US Forces sales facilities you will need both your respective ID card and “Pink Card”.


  • Purchase of rationed items is not permitted.
  • All purchases are for personal use only. Resale or transfer is not permitted.
  • You must present the “Pink Card” no later than the 5th day of the month to the issuing German customs office together with ALL original cash register receipts for all purchases made in the previous month. Retired personnel visiting Germany may come to an agreement with German customs authorities on a specific date to present their receipts before leaving Germany.
  • German customs will levy duties based on the euro rate applicable in the month when the purchases were made. For further details, please go to German Customs
  • Eligible personnel are subject to German legal action and may lose their exchange and commissary entitlements in Germany if they fail to fully comply with these requirements.

German Customs will levy tax in the amount of 17.5% MwSt (German Value Added Tax) for items with a single item sale price of less than the US dollar equivalent of 50 euros and at the regular tariff of 19% MwSt for items equivalent of 50 euros and more.

For further information on tariff rates used to determine duties for items go to:

  • Tariff rates in English and German
  • What if I am not able to shop myself due to a medical condition or handicap?

    The entitled person can appoint a Shopping Assistant in case additional help is needed due to medical conditions, a handicap status or an existing custodianship. This person can shop and register on behalf of the entitled person.

    Please provide following documentation if you wish to apply for a shopping assistant authorization, :

    • Written request for Shopping Assistant Authorization, dated and signed by the retiree, widow(er) or UD
    • Certificate proving that the retiree/widow(er) or UD is medically incapacitated or under custodianship.
    • ID card, passport or Personalausweis with valid residence permit of retiree, widow(er) or UD.
    • Passport / Personalausweis of designated Shopping Assistant with valid residence permit or other immigration documents.

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