U.S. Customs NATO - Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Office

Mission statment

  • Assist in negotiating customs arrangements as directed with the German Federal Ministry of Finance on customs policy matters in support of all U.S. military branches of service, NATO International Military Headquarters and various other Non-SOFA status personnel affiliated with the U.S. forces in Germany.
  • Negotiate exceptions to policy as required for the U.S. forces in Germany, civilian components and their respective dependents stationed in Germany on certain customs and tax privileges.
  • Provide input to regulations and/or implementing provisions of the customs law legislation.
  • Ensure U.S. Army in Europe regulations reflect correct customs policy procedures.

Some NATO SOFA special actions/exceptions to policy

  • Requests for In-Loco-Parentis: the in-loco-parentis program grants limited customs & tax-free privileges to purchase items for children's needs in U.S. sales facilities in Germany when (both) parents are deployed in support of peace-keeping or security operations.

  • Requests for domestic Child Care Provider authorizations: The Child Care Provider program grants limited customs & tax-free privileges to purchase items for authorized children's needs in U.S. sales facilities in Germany.

  • Requests for events/special events (i.e. donation drives, charity funds).

  • Requests for special circumstance Status of Forces retentions.

  • Requests for limited privileges for Foreign Liaison Personnel. Personnel who cannot access https://aepubs.army.mil/ to obtain the respective policy memo or any other regulations or forms should contact the NATO-SOFA office.

  • For other requests for exceptions to policy (i.e. hardship situations due to medical incapacitation, disposal of tax free items due to base closure, .. etc.) contact the NATO-SOFA office.

  • You can also download the regulation here: AER 550-175 & USAFE Instruction 51-702 (U.S. Forces Customs Controls in Germany.)