Shipping·Dec 7, 2022

Shipping to Germany from the US: A Comprehensive Guide

Shipping to Germany from the US.Article updated on Nov 7, 2023

Shipping to Germany is an essential process for individuals and businesses alike. Whether you need to send personal belongings, products, or documents, efficient shipping services provided by couriers are crucial for timely and secure delivery of cargo, mailing, and deliveries. The importance of shipping to Germany cannot be overstated, as it enables individuals and businesses to connect with customers, suppliers, and partners in this vibrant European market.

Reliable carriers such as Deutsche Post, also known as DHL, and FedEx offer comprehensive logistics solutions for couriers and cargo, specifically catering to the German market's shipping needs. These carriers provide competitive shipping rates, streamlined processes, and convenient tracking systems.

Shop with discounts from US

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Advantages of Shopping Online from US Retailers while Residing in Germany

There are numerous advantages for customers residing in Germany who choose to shop from US retailers. Not only do they have access to a vast range of products, but they can also take advantage of discounted rates and exclusive deals.

One major advantage is the availability of international shipping services provided by popular US stores. Companies like UPS offer reliable and efficient shipping options that ensure your purchases reach you in Germany safely and on time. Whether you're looking for electronics, fashion, or home goods, these stores have got you covered.

Finding Exclusive Deals or Coupons when Purchasing from US Websites

To maximize savings when shopping from US websites while residing in Germany, here are some tips for finding exclusive deals and coupons:

  1. Sign up for newsletters: Many US retailers offer exclusive discounts to their newsletter subscribers. By signing up, you'll receive regular updates on sales, promotions, and special offers.
  2. Follow social media accounts: Retailers often announce flash sales or limited-time discounts on their social media platforms. By following their accounts, you can stay informed about these deals and make the most of them.
  3. Use coupon websites: Websites like RetailMeNot and aggregate coupons from various retailers. Before making a purchase, check these websites for any available coupons that can help you save money.
  4. Take advantage of holiday sales: US retailers frequently offer significant discounts during holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. Plan your purchases around these sale events to enjoy substantial savings.

Tips for Shipping to Germany from the USA

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Understanding Documentation Requirements

When shipping goods from the USA to Germany, it's crucial to understand the documentation requirements. You'll need to provide certain paperwork to ensure a smooth customs clearance process. This includes:

  1. Commercial Invoice: Prepare a detailed invoice that accurately describes the items being shipped, their value, and any applicable taxes or duties.
  2. Packing List: Create a packing list that outlines each item in the shipment, including quantities and descriptions.
  3. Customs Forms: Fill out the necessary customs forms, such as the CN22 or CN23 form, which provides information about the contents of your package.

Packaging and Labeling Correctly

Proper packaging and labeling are essential when shipping internationally. Follow these tips to ensure your items arrive safely in Germany:

  1. Secure Packaging: Use sturdy boxes and appropriate padding materials like bubble wrap or packing peanuts to protect your items during transit.
  2. Labeling: Clearly label each package with both the sender's and recipient's addresses using waterproof labels.
  3. Product Information: Include product details on each package, such as item names, quantities, and country of origin.

Choosing Reliable Shipping Carriers

Selecting a reliable shipping carrier such as DHL is crucial for a successful delivery to Germany. Consider these factors when choosing a carrier:

  1. Experience with International Shipments: Look for shipping carriers with experience in handling shipments to Germany specifically.
  2. Tracking Services: Opt for carriers that offer tracking services so you can monitor your package's progress throughout its journey.
  3. Affordability: Compare shipping rates from different carriers to find one that offers competitive prices without compromising on service quality.

Some popular shipping carriers for sending packages from the USA to Germany include Deutsche Post (DHL) and USPS (United States Postal Service). These carriers, such as DHL, have established networks and offer various services tailored for international shipments.

Additional Tips and Considerations

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when shipping to Germany from the USA:

  • Shipping Calculator: Utilize online shipping calculators provided by carriers to estimate shipping costs based on package weight, dimensions, and destination.
  • Customs Duties and Taxes: Familiarize yourself with German customs duties and taxes to avoid surprises. Check with the German customs authority or consult a professional for guidance.
  • Restricted Items: Be aware of items that are prohibited or restricted from entering Germany. Ensure your shipment complies with these regulations to prevent any issues during customs clearance.

By following these tips, you can navigate the process of shipping goods from the USA to Germany more effectively. Understanding documentation requirements, packaging and labeling correctly, choosing reliable shipping carriers, and considering additional tips will contribute to a smoother international shipping experience.

Customs rates and regulations in Germany

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Calculation of Customs Duties in Germany

Customs duties are fees imposed by the government when goods are imported into a country. In Germany, customs duties are calculated based on various factors such as the type of goods, their value, and the country they are being shipped from. The calculation is done using the Harmonized System (HS) code, which categorizes products into different tariff classifications.

When shipping goods to Germany with DHL, it is essential to determine the correct HS code for your items. This code helps customs authorities identify the applicable duty rate for your product. You can find the HS codes for different products on the German Customs website or consult with a customs broker for assistance.

Import Taxes and Fees

In addition to customs duties, there are other taxes and fees that may apply when shipping goods into Germany. These include value-added tax (VAT) and excise duties.

  1. Value-Added Tax (VAT): VAT is a consumption tax levied on most goods and services in Germany. The standard VAT rate is 19%, but certain items qualify for reduced rates or exemptions. When importing goods into Germany, you will generally be required to pay VAT based on the value of the goods plus any applicable customs duties.
  2. Excise Duties: Excise duties are specific taxes imposed on certain types of products like alcohol, tobacco, and energy products. If you are shipping these items to Germany, you will need to comply with specific regulations regarding excise duties.

It's important to note that if you're shipping personal belongings or used items to Germany, you may be eligible for exemptions or reduced duty rates under certain conditions. It's advisable to consult with German Customs or seek professional advice to understand your eligibility for such exemptions.

Specific Customs Regulations

Germany has specific customs regulations that importers must adhere to when shipping goods into the country:

  1. Value Thresholds: Germany has a de minimis value threshold, which means that goods below a certain value may be exempt from customs duties and VAT. Currently, the threshold is set at €22 for goods imported from outside the European Union (EU). However, this threshold does not apply to excise duties or prohibited/restricted items.
  2. Prohibited and Restricted Items: Certain items are prohibited or restricted from being imported into Germany. These include illegal drugs, weapons, counterfeit goods, and endangered species. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the list of prohibited and restricted items to avoid any issues when shipping to Germany.
  3. Customs Forms: When shipping goods to Germany from outside the EU, you will need to complete a customs form (CN23) or an electronic customs declaration. This form provides information about the contents of your shipment and helps customs authorities assess the applicable taxes and duties.

To ensure a smooth shipping process, it's advisable to work with a reputable shipping provider or customs broker who can guide you through the necessary paperwork and compliance requirements.

Prohibited / Restricted items to ship to Germany

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Common prohibited items in Germany

When shipping to Germany, there are certain items that are strictly prohibited and cannot be imported. It is essential to be aware of these restrictions to avoid any legal issues or delays with your shipment. Here are some common examples of prohibited items:

  • Weapons and ammunition: Firearms, explosives, and other dangerous weapons are strictly forbidden for importation into Germany. This includes firearms parts, ammunition, and replica weapons.
  • Drugs: Illegal drugs, narcotics, and substances classified as controlled substances are not allowed to be shipped into Germany.
  • Counterfeit goods: Any counterfeit products or imitation goods that infringe upon intellectual property rights cannot be imported into the country.
  • Pornographic materials: Pornography in any form is prohibited from being shipped into Germany.
  • Hazardous materials: Items such as flammable liquids, gases, corrosive substances, radioactive materials, and toxic chemicals are not permitted for importation.

Restricted items requiring special permits or documentation

In addition to prohibited items, there are certain goods that require special permits or documentation for importation into Germany. These restricted items may include:

  • Medications: Some medications may require a prescription or specific authorization from the German health authorities before they can be imported.
  • Food products: Certain food products like meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and animal-based products may have strict regulations regarding their importation due to health and safety concerns.
  • Plants and seeds: Plants and seeds may need phytosanitary certificates verifying that they do not carry pests or diseases.

Sensitive products subject to additional restrictions

Germany has additional regulations on various sensitive products. These items might require extra paperwork or face stricter controls upon importation. Some examples include:

  • Artwork and cultural artifacts: Importing valuable artwork or cultural artifacts may require documentation proving their authenticity and compliance with cultural heritage laws.
  • Antiques: Certain antiques may be subject to export restrictions, requiring proof of age and origin before they can be imported into Germany.

It is crucial to check the specific regulations for each item you plan to ship to Germany. The German customs authorities provide detailed information on their official website, which can guide you through the importation process.

Remember, violating these restrictions can lead to legal consequences and delays in your shipment. To ensure a smooth shipping experience, it is always advisable to consult with the appropriate authorities or seek professional advice when shipping items that might be subject to restrictions.

Delivery Options and Timelines for Shipping to Germany

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There are several delivery options available. Understanding these options can help you choose the one that best suits your needs. Let's take a closer look at the different delivery options and estimated timelines for shipping to Germany.

Overview of Delivery Options

  1. Standard Delivery: This is the most common option for shipping packages internationally. It offers a balance between cost and speed, with an estimated delivery time of 5-10 business days.
  2. Expedited Delivery: If you need your package to arrive in Germany sooner, expedited delivery is a good choice. It typically takes 3-5 business days for your package to reach its destination.
  3. Express Delivery: For urgent shipments, express delivery provides the fastest service available. Your package can be delivered within 1-3 business days.

Estimated Delivery Timelines

The estimated delivery times mentioned above are based on general guidelines provided by various carriers. However, it's important to note that actual delivery times may vary depending on factors such as customs clearance, weather conditions, and any unexpected delays.

Comparison of Services Offered by Carriers

Different carriers offer varying services. Let's compare some popular options:

  1. DHL: DHL is a well-known courier service and an official logistics partner in Germany. They offer reliable shipping solutions with different service levels like DHL Express Worldwide (express), DHL Expedited Max (expedited), and DHL eCommerce Packet Plus (standard).
  2. FedEx: FedEx also provides international shipping services with multiple options like FedEx International Priority (express) and FedEx International Economy (standard). These services come with their own set of features and pricing structures.
  3. UPS: UPS is another reputable carrier offering various shipping options such as UPS Worldwide Express (express) and UPS Standard (standard). Their services are known for their reliability and global reach.

Pros and Cons of Different Delivery Options

To help you make an informed decision, let's consider the pros and cons of each delivery option:

Standard Delivery:

  • Pros: Cost-effective, suitable for non-urgent shipments.
  • Cons: Longer delivery time compared to expedited or express options.
    Express Delivery:

Expedited Delivery:

  • Pros: Faster than standard delivery, ideal for time-sensitive packages.
  • Cons: Slightly higher cost compared to standard delivery.

Express Delivery:

  • Pros: Fastest option available, perfect for urgent shipments.
  • Cons: Higher cost than both standard and expedited delivery.

Cheapest Ways to Ship from the USA to Germany

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Finding cost-effective options is always a top priority. If you're looking for the cheapest ways to ship from the USA to Germany, there are a few strategies you can consider.

Consolidate Multiple Packages into One Shipment

Consolidating multiple packages into one shipment is an excellent way to save on international shipping fees. Instead of sending each package individually, you can combine them into a single shipment. This not only reduces the overall shipping cost but also minimizes customs and handling fees. By bundling your items together, you can take advantage of bulk shipping rates and potentially secure additional discounts.


  • Cost-effective solution for shipping multiple items.
  • Reduces individual package handling and customs fees.


  • Requires coordination and planning to ensure all packages arrive at the consolidation facility at the same time.

Explore Alternative Methods like Sea Freight or Economy Air Freight

If budget-consciousness is your primary concern, exploring alternative shipping methods such as sea freight or economy air freight may be worth considering. While these options may have longer transit times compared to express services, they often come with significantly lower costs.

Sea freight:

  • Ideal for large or heavy shipments that are less time-sensitive.
  • Can be more affordable than air freight for bulky items.

Economy air freight:

  • Faster than sea freight but slower than express services.
  • Offers a balance between cost savings and delivery speed.

Take Advantage of Potential Discounts or Promotions

Certain carriers may offer discounts or promotions specifically for shipping from the USA to Germany. It's worth researching different carriers and checking if they have any ongoing offers that could help reduce your shipping costs. These discounts could range from percentage-based savings on total shipping costs to waived fees for specific services or destinations.

Examples of potential discounts/promotions:

  • New customer discounts
  • Seasonal sales
  • Loyalty programs

Remember to compare different carriers and their rates, as well as any additional fees or surcharges they may have. It's essential to factor in the overall cost, including shipping fees, customs duties, and any other charges that may apply.

Shipping internationally with Forwardme

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Forwardme is a top-notch international shipping service that can help you ship your packages from the USA to Germany. They are known for their reliability and efficiency in handling shipments across borders. With Forwardme, you can rest assured that your package will reach its destination safely and on time.

Highlighting the benefits of using Forwardme for shipping from the USA to Germany

There are several advantages to using Forwardme for your shipping needs from the USA to Germany:

  • Convenient Shipping Options: Forwardme offers various shipping options, including Priority Mail International and First-Class Package International Service. These services ensure that your packages are delivered promptly and efficiently.
  • Competitive Pricing: Forwardme provides competitive pricing for international shipments, making it an affordable choice for sending items from the USA to Germany. They offer different rates based on the weight and size of your package, allowing you to choose the most cost-effective option.
  • Reliable Tracking System: With Forwardme, you can easily track your shipment throughout its journey. They provide a tracking number that allows you to monitor the progress of your package online. This feature gives you peace of mind knowing where your item is at all times.

Explaining how Forwardme's consolidation and forwarding services work

Forwardme offers consolidation services, which means they can combine multiple packages into one shipment. This service is beneficial if you have multiple items coming from different sellers or locations within the USA. By consolidating these packages into one shipment, you can save on shipping costs.

Once your packages are consolidated, Forwardme will forward them directly to Germany using their trusted network of carriers. They handle all aspects of the forwarding process, ensuring that your items are shipped securely and efficiently.

Forwardme handles all paperwork needed

One significant advantage of using Forwardme is that they take care of all the necessary paperwork involved in international shipping. This includes customs forms and documentation required for the shipment to Germany. Forwardme's team is well-versed in international shipping regulations, ensuring that all paperwork is completed accurately and efficiently.

By handling the paperwork on your behalf, Forwardme saves you time and eliminates any potential stress or confusion associated with filling out these documents yourself. You can rely on their expertise to navigate the complexities of international shipping requirements.

In conclusion, shipping to Germany from the USA can be a smooth process if you follow these guidelines and tips. Shopping with discounts from US retailers is a great way to save money on your purchases. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the customs rates and regulations in Germany to avoid any unexpected fees or delays. Be aware of prohibited or restricted items that cannot be shipped to Germany. Consider different delivery options and timelines based on your needs. If you're looking for the cheapest ways to ship from the USA to Germany, explore various shipping providers and compare prices. Lastly, consider using Forwardme, a reliable international shipping service, for hassle-free shipping.

Your qeustions about shipping to Germany

Article written by

Volkan Haslak

Volkan Haslak
Volkan is always eager to dive into new and intriguing subjects. This curiosity led him to his current passions: yoga, working out, playing piano, diving deep into marketing, and fostering community connections. At Forwardme, he primarily concentrates on marketing and growth engagement.More links