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Residency requirements in Germany

Travel Forums Europe Residency requirements in Germany

1. Posted by martinlar (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

martinlar has indicated that this thread is about Germany

Hi everyone.
I am a new member here, still trying to learn the ropes.
I am trying to find information from those who travel europe by motorhome as to the best way to buy, register, and store one in Germany.
I am an american citizen (from Portland, Oregon) but have done extensive travel thoughout Europe, both in the conventional way and by motorhome. Until the fall of 2008 I had my own, (registered in the US) but with full insurance and documentation. So, I know my way around Europe and the rules of motorhoming well.
What I want to do now is to buy a motorhome in Germany (or France), register and insure it there, and of course, find a safe storage for it.
I am also looking at the prospect of living in the south of France part time, perhaps no more than 90 days in each 180. ( I am retired with plenty of free time and my main dream is to continue to travel Europe for as long as my health is good).
I have read in forums of this type that getting a residency in Germany is not overly difficult (so as to be able to register the motorhome) but although I really enjoy travel in Germany I am not sure at this time that I would want to live there for any length of time. (my main interest lays in travel, not in static living in Europe)
I have checked out the German consulate in reference to residency visas, but they just explain the formal procedures to apply for one, they naturally do not go into the nitty gritty of the ramifications of being a legal resident.
My main residency would always be here in the US, but as a dual resident, would I be subjected to all the taxation of a German citizen?
I have also read in forums that there are in Germany motorhome dealers that will register the vehicle for a foreign owner; does any one know of any such dealers?.
I would like to stablish e-contact with someone with experience on this matters, or a reference to someone who might help. I know from experience that Germany is very big on motorhome travel, and there must be many people who could answer my questions and I hope one (or many) of you will take the time to answer my thread.
I am going to Europe this summer, but only for three weeks (I usually spend 2-3 months) because I don't have a motorhome there now, I plan to inquire about, but without any definitive direction the process of information mining is time consuming and difficult, Germany is a big country!!, so I am tryig to find out as much as possible before I go.
Any help in the form of pertinent information or any leads to likely places that might provide it will be greately appreciated.
I speak some German but not enough to do this thing without any help.
Thanking you in advance.
martinlar.

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

Hi, I don't have any time right now so I'll answer in detail later.

For the mean time, check out www.toytowngermany.com - from looking there you'll find answers to a lot of your questions.

3. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

I have read in forums of this type that getting a residency in Germany is not overly difficult (so as to be able to register the motorhome)

To register a car in Germany you do not necessarily have to be a resident in the sense that you have to hold a residency permit. What you need is a "residential address", an official address where you live when you are in Germany. The paper work for making an adress a residencial address is very easy, it means filling out a simple form with your personal data. It usually is a 5 minute affair - if you do not have to wait in line at the town hall.

FYI, every German has to do fill this form when they move. There are local registers of all residents in every city and village, your official address will be part of it. For Germans this register of residential addresses is used in elections and for sending out tax documents. So the process is similar to registering to vote. Only in your case they will also register that you are a foreigner and all your communication with the foreigner's office needs to be send from that address and you will recieve all mail to that address. This address will also determine which foreigner's office will process your application for a residency permit.

The big problem is usually finding a place that you can use as your official residential address. Your best bet are normally shared flats. You live there and pay rent for a month or two, make friends with the other people and later come around to collect your mail every few months and kip on the couch for a few days. It is also possible to buy residential addresses, for a certain sum of money people will allow you to register your residency at a certain address and notify you of any official mail or visits to that address. The latter is a bit shady, but as long as you do not use this for anything illegal I don't see any harm.

although I really enjoy travel in Germany I am not sure at this time that I would want to live there for any length of time. (my main interest lays in travel, not in static living in Europe)

...

I am also looking at the prospect of living in the south of France part time, perhaps no more than 90 days in each 180. ( I am retired with plenty of free time and my main dream is to continue to travel Europe for as long as my health is good).

If you want to travel around Europe for longer it really makes sense to get a residency permit, it doesn't matter whether it is German or French or whatever. First because of the problem of registering the vehicle and second because it allows you to stay longer than 90 days at a stretch. While technically a residency permit only allows you to spend 90 days in a 180 day period in the other Schengen Area countries in practise it restricts you in no way. As long as your papers are in order nobody really cares where you spend your days. The majority of your time inside the Schengen Area should be spend inside the country where you have a residency permit for (for tax reasons), but in most cases nobody checks how long you have been driving your motorhome all over Europe.

Potential problems I see with a German residency permit:
- your age: in order to get a residency permit you need to have German health insurance. At an age above 50 this will be expensive and eat a large chunk of your budget.
- your intention of keeping the USA as your main residence. It goes completely against the whole idea of a residency permit.
- the fact that staying away from Germany for more than 180 days will make your residency permit invalid. You'd have to go through the whole rigmarole of applying again.

My main residency would always be here in the US, but as a dual resident, would I be subjected to all the taxation of a German citizen?

Short answer: yes. Long answer: it is really complicated. EU taxation laws base taxation upon residency. USA tax laws base tax upon citizenship. As a US citizen lving abroad in Germany you have to pay taxes to both the US government and the German governemnt. There is an agreement between the two governments that is supposed to reduce the tax load in these cases. Unfortunately tax law is hell, throw in tax laws from two countries and an a super-complex agreement between the two and you got a real mess. It is best if you ask the experts at www.toytowngermany.com.