Individual Logistical Support, Germany
Exchange and Commissary shopping in Germany after retirement:
Retired members of the U.S. military services, their accompanying dependents, and certain categories of widows and unaccompanied dependents may be authorized use of PX/BX (Post or Base Exchange) and DeCA (Defense Commissary Agency) sales facilities in Germany under a special arrangement concluded by the U.S. forces with the German government. This arrangement does not apply in other countries and does not apply to retired civilian employees. Additional items of logistical support that are authorized for retired members and their accompanying dependents are:
Personnel that do not possess a valid German Customs Certificate are authorized the following:
• ACES (AR 621-5)
• AFRC facilities on a space-available basis
• Casualty assistance and limited mortuary services (AR 600-8-1 and AR 638-2)
• Credit union (if an account existed before retirement)
• DoDDS services (DoD Dir 1342.13) on a space-available, tuition-payable basis
• Legal assistance (AR 27-3)
• Local Government transportation on a space-available basis
• Local MWR services
• Medical and dental services (AR 40-3 and AR 40-330)
NOTE: 100-percent disabled veterans are not entitled to these services (their medical treatment is provided by the Veterans Administration.
• Military postal services (limited)
• Transient billets on a space-available basis
Personnel that do possess a valid German Customs Certificate are authorized to use, in addition to the facilities listed above:
• AAFES-Eur facilities (excluding the purchase of rationed items)
• Commissary (excluding the purchase of rationed items)
For you and your dependents to shop in U.S. sales outlets, you must first apply at the MP Customs Customer Service offices in Germany for a U.S. Forces Verification of Status of U.S. Forces Retired Personnel/Unaccompanied Dependents/Nachweis über den Status Amerikanischer Militärpersonen im Ruhestand/zurückbleibende Familienangehörige (AE Form 550-175K). For this, you will need your passport and retiree ID card, and you must intend to live in or visit Germany for 30 days or longer. Military widows must be residents of Germany. If AE Form 550-175K is issued to you by the MP Customs Customer Service Office, they will direct you to the German Customs office serving your area of residence (or area which you visit) for issuance of a German Customs Certificate (Pink Card) which has an initial validity of two months.
The Pink Card and your retiree ID card allow you access to post exchanges and commissaries. Pink Card holders are required to return to this German Customs office no later than the 5th day of every month and present all cash register sales receipts for the previous month.
The receipts are totaled and you then pay a fixed import tax (currently 13.5%, but subject to change) on the total. Only then will your Pink Card be extended by German Customs. To ensure your Pink Card remains valid, it is important to report to German Customs even if you do not make any purchases. If you plan to be away from home for some time, tell German Customs and make arrangements with them to pay upon your return. Further, you are advised that any purchases of items with a single item sales price of 250 US dollars or more must be recorded by AAFES on your pink card. German Customs is authorized to withdraw your Pink Card if you fail to meet your obligations.
Due to the complexity of issues regarding unaccompanied dependent authorizations, people seeking information should contact the USAREUR Customs Executive Agency at DSN 381-7610/8707 or CIV 0621-7307610/8707 for assistance.
Retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces (again, not DoD civilian employees) and widows can apply to use the Army Post Office system after retirement.
To obtain APO privileges, you must make arrangements with the local APO to receive your mail through "Box R" (General Delivery Mail Section). Your mail must be addressed to "Box R" of the APO concerned and the address must include the word "retired" (e.g., "U.S. Army Ret").
You must pick up your mail at the APO; however, mail containing merchandise must be presented to German customs officials unopened for assessment of any duty due. The postal officer will tell you which German customs office to go to and advise you of any restrictions on package size. If you fail to present parcels to German Customs within a reasonable time (about one week), you may lose APO privileges for the rest of your stay in Germany.
These procedures and restrictions are based on bilateral agreements and cannot be changed unilaterally by the U.S. Forces. The system works well and deliberate abuse of the present arrangements by you could endanger a privilege enjoyed by many hundreds of retired personnel and their dependents. Should you leave Germany for a long time or permanently, please notify the local MP Customs Office or the USAREUR Customs Executive Agency, this office and German Customs to prevent follow-up actions.
Under the provisions of para 2-10.a., Army in Europe Regulation 190-1/USNAVEUR Instruction 11240.6J/USAFE Instruction 31-202) and AER 550-175, US Forces Customs Controls in Germany, personnel lose their eligibility for USAREUR vehicle registration as of 0001 hours on the day following their retirement from the U.S. Forces in Germany. You must, therefore, report your loss of U.S. Forces status to your local German Customs Office and declare your major belongings (this includes your vehicle) to include rationed items still in your possession.
German Customs authorities will clear your major belongings (to include your vehicles) without charging duties or taxes if you had them in your possession for at least six months before retirement. You will receive an Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung (German customs clearance certificate) for presentation to German vehicle registration authorities. To register your vehicle with German license plates, you must take the vehicle to the Technischer Überwachungsverein (TÜV) for a safety inspection. U.S. manufactured vehicles generally require adjustment or conversion, such as lights, warning devices, and anti-theft devices, in accordance with German safety standards. A new insurance policy must also be acquired and a double white card obtained. Remember that some companies which insure USAREUR-licensed vehicles are not authorized to insure German-licensed vehicles.
Retirees losing their USAREUR registration eligibility may cancel their registration any time during the two weeks before their loss of eligibility. Once the cancellation is complete and your USAREUR license plates and registration (AE Form 190-1A) have been returned to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, you will receive a stamped AE Form 190-1S (Request for POV Registration/Insurance Cancellation) which will show German authorities that your vehicle is no longer in the USAREUR system.
You will also need a valid German driver's license before registering a vehicle and it should be acquired before your USAREUR driver's license expires. Host nation licensing requirements vary by location; however, your expiring USAREUR driver's license should assist you in obtaining a German driver's license without further tests. Contact a USAREUR driver’s testing station office for more information. You must then go to the Kraftfahrzeugzulassungsstelle (German vehicle registration office) with the following documents:
* Valid German driver's license.
* USAREUR registration cancellation.
* Proof of insurance coverage (double white card).
* Safety inspection certificate issued by the TÜV.
German export plates.
- If you stay in Germany as a tourist (not more than 90 days) and plan on exporting vehicles during your stay, you may qualify for German export plates from your local German vehicle registration office. The procedure to obtain such plates is the same as for registering your vehicle except that, if export plates are issued, you do not have to convert your vehicle to meet German specifications. Duties and taxes become due if a vehicle with export plates is not exported from Germany.
- Whenever a vehicle changes from export plates to USAREUR registration due to a change in the registrant's status, an import certificate cannot be issued by the local MP Customs office to the vehicle owner. The owner must report to the local German Vehicle Registration Office and German Customs office to have the vehicle cleared (i.e., payment of taxes and duty). At this time, your Application for USAREUR Vehicle Registration (AE Form 190-1AA) will either be stamped in Block 55 or an Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung will be attached to it. For more information, contact the local MP Customs Office or the Vehicle Registration Office.
Persons residing in a country other than Germany may request individual logistic support from the appropriate overseas commander. Requests for support should be sent to one of the following:
• In Italy: Commander, USAG Italy (ATTN: DHR MPD), Unit 31401, Box 5, APO AE 09630-0005.
• In Belgium: Commander, USAG Benelux, CMR 451, APO AE 09708.
• In the Netherlands: Commander, USAG Schinnen, CMR 460, APO AE 09703.