Getting around

Driving licence

Every driving licence is valid for a temporary stay in Germany (max. 185 days).

If you become a resident of Germany, your foreign driving licence will remain valid for six months following your move to Germany (exception: most driving licences from EU countries remain valid until their expiry). After this period, you will normally need a licence issued in Germany. Depending on the country of origin, a theoretical and/or practical test is necessary in order to acquire a German driving licence.


Registration of a car

You can bring your car to Germany customs-free if you lived at least one year abroad, if the car has been used for at least six months, and if the car is for your private use and is destined to be taken along at a later stage.

As an employee of European XFEL, you usually intend to stay longer than one year in Germany. This means your car has to be registered in Germany and equipped with a German licence plate within your first 12 months here.

Until the registration,

  • you are obliged to carry along an international green insurance card to prove your purchase of a car liability insurance policy, unless your car is registered in another EU country or Greenland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, or Vatican City. In this case, it is only recommended that you carry with you an international green insurance card because it eases damage-related transactions.
  • German motor vehicle tax will not be demanded.

The registration of a foreign car requires

  • an examination by the German Technical Supervisory Association (Technischer Überwachungsverein, commonly called "TÜV") to determine whether the car meets German specifications (for a fee of roughly 100 €). If your model of car has no general German permission, a much more expensive individual licensing procedure has to be performed.
  • the purchase of a German car liability insurance policy. It is advantageous to provide information about accident-free periods from your previous insurer in order to get a (sometimes significant) reduction of your contributions.
  • an official registration and the payment of German motor vehicle tax.

Public transportation

The public transit system in Hamburg, called the HVV, is very efficient. You are able to get nearly anywhere in the city either by train or by bus.

As with all other major German cities, Hamburg has an U-Bahn (underground/tube/subway) system and an S-Bahn (trains to outlying areas of the city and nearby suburbs) system. Many stations have access to regional trains as well. You can purchase U-Bahn and S-Bahn tickets at all train stations, but regional tickets and season passes need to be purchased at a Service Center (found in major stations). Many HVV employees speak English.

European XFEL is accessible by bus (Metrobuses 186 and 285), with access to several S-Bahn stations (Iserbrook, Elbgaustraße, Halstenbek and the long-distance hub at Bahnhof Altona with the bus line 2). For more information and to plan routes, please visit the HVV web site.

Hamburg is very well connected to all regions in Germany and many worldwide destinations through its four long distance railway stations and its centrally located airport.