For many people, having a car is important and represents flexibility. Depending on your living and work environment, you can decide to live with or without a car, as well as other possibilities. There are a wide range of options in Bavaria.

Here are some things to think about and some tips on what you need in Germany to drive a car, and on where you can find further information.

Number plate, approval & co.

Every vehicle must have official approval (website in German). You receive an official plate when you submit the proof of approval (logbook and registration certificate) to the approval office (Zulassungsstelle) to prove that you are authorised to use the vehicle. For approval, you'll also require:

  • Your passport,
  • A valid registration confirmation and
  • Proof of vehicle liability insurance.

For used vehicles, you must show proof of a valid general inspection.

General inspection

In periodic intervals, you must have your vehicle checked. Recognised monitoring organisations and technical inspection authorities - such as the Technical Inspection Authority (Technische Überwachungsverein, TÜV), and the German Motor Vehicle Inspection Authority (Deutsche Kraftzeug-Überwachungsverein, DEKRA) perform general and exhaust inspections every two years.

Vehicle liability insurance

If you would like to register your vehicle in Germany, you'll need automotive liability insurance (website in German), which insurance covers potential damage compensation claims in the event of an accident.

If you would also like coverage for damage to your own car, you can also enter a policy for partial or full coverage.

Car sharing

One car - multiple users. There are new mobility concepts, especially in larger cities. One of them is the car sharing model. There are various car sharing companies that organise this service: Users can select a car and retrieve it at a certain point in time at a specific station. Costs depend upon the respective provider and the duration of hire.

Contact addresses and information about the various providers' concepts can be found with the National Association for Car Sharing (Bundesverband CarSharing e.V. - website in German) as well as on city websites, like those of Munich and Nuremberg (websites in German).

Ride sharing

Ride shares offer an economical and communicative alternative to owning a car. On the Internet pages of online ride sharing centres www.mitfahrzentrale.de or www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de (website in German), you can enter date, starting point and destination and the system searches for drivers who would like to take someone along for that trajectory.

Contact is established via telephone, e-mail or SMS. In order to ensure a certain level of safety, the large ride sharing portals provide rating systems and even the option of searching for rides "with women for women".