Visas are not needed by citizens of the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or the U.K. for visits of less than 3 months. You do need a valid passport, unless you're a citizen of the E.U., EEA or Switzerland (in which case you need only an identity card, though we recommend you always carry a passport anyway).
Passport Offices --
Australia -- Australian Passport Information Service (tel. 131-232, or visit www.passports.gov.au).
Canada -- Passport Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G3 (tel. 800/567-6868; www.ppt.gc.ca).
Ireland -- Passport Office, Setanta Centre, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 (tel. 01/671-1633; www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie).
New Zealand -- Passports Office, Department of Internal Affairs, 47 Boulcott Street, Wellington, 6011 (tel. 0800/225-050 in New Zealand or 04/474-8100; www.passports.govt.nz).
United Kingdom -- Visit your nearest passport office, major post office, or travel agency or contact the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), 89 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1PN (tel. 0300/222-0000; www.ips.gov.uk).
United States -- To find your regional passport office, check the U.S. State Department website (travel.state.gov/passport) or call the National Passport Information Center (tel. 877/487-2778) for automated information.
You can take into Germany most personal effects and the following items duty-free: one video camera or two still cameras with 10 rolls of film each; a portable radio, a tape recorder, and a laptop PC, provided they show signs of use; 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco; 2 liters of wine or 1 liter of liquor per person 18 and over; fishing gear; one bicycle; skis; tennis or squash racquets; and golf clubs.
Returning U.S. citizens who have been away for at least 48 hours can bring back, once every 30 days, US$800 worth of merchandise duty-free. You'll be charged a flat rate of 4% duty on the next US$1,000 worth of purchases. Be sure to have your receipts handy. On mailed gifts, the duty-free limit is US$200. With some exceptions, you cannot bring fresh fruits and vegetables into the United States. For specifics on what you can bring back, download the invaluable free pamphlet Know Before You Go online at www.cbp.gov. Or contact the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/287-8667), and request the pamphlet.
For a clear summary of Canadian rules, you can download the booklet I Declare at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications. It is issued by Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca). Canada allows a C$750 exemption, which can be used only once a year and only after an absence of 7 days. You're allowed to bring back duty-free one carton of cigarettes, one can of tobacco, 40 imperial ounces of liquor, and 50 cigars. In addition, you're allowed to mail gifts to Canada valued at less than C$60 a day, provided they're unsolicited and don't contain alcohol or tobacco (write on the package "Unsolicited gift, under C$60 value"). You should declare all valuables on the Y-38 form before departing Canada, including serial numbers of valuables you already own, such as expensive foreign cameras.
Citizens of the U.K. who are returning from an E.U. country will go through a separate Customs exit (called the "Blue Exit"). In essence, there is no limit on what you can bring back from an E.U. country, as long as the items are for personal use (including gifts) and you have already paid the necessary duty and tax. However, Customs law sets out guidance levels. If you bring in more than these levels, you may be asked to prove that the goods are for your use. Guidance levels on goods bought in the E.U. for your own use are 3,200 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos, 3 kilograms of smoking tobacco, 10 liters of spirits, 90 liters of wine, 20 liters of fortified wine (such as port or sherry), and 110 liters of beer. For information, contact HM Revenue Customs at tel. 0845/0109000 (tel. 02920/501261 from outside the U.K.), or consult their website at www.hmrc.gov.uk.
The duty-free allowance in Australia is A$900 or, for those 17 and under, A$450. Citizens can bring in 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of loose tobacco, and 2.25 liters of alcohol. If you're returning with valuables you already own, such as foreign-made cameras, you should file form B263. A helpful brochure available from Australian consulates or Customs offices is Know Before You Go. For more information, call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363263, or log on to www.customs.gov.au.
The duty-free allowance for New Zealand is NZ$700. Citizens 18 and over can bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco (or a mixture of all three if their combined weight doesn't exceed 250g); plus 4.5 liters of wine and beer, or 1.125 milliliters of liquor. New Zealand currency does not carry import or export restrictions. Fill out a certificate of export, listing the valuables you are taking out of the country, so you can bring them back without paying duty. Most questions are answered in a free pamphlet available at New Zealand consulates and Customs offices: New Zealand Customs Guide for Travellers, Notice no. 4. For more information, contact New Zealand Customs Service, The Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (tel. 0800/428786 or 04/4736099 in New Zealand, or 04/4736099; www.customs.govt.nz).
Unless you're arriving from an area known to be suffering from an epidemic (particularly cholera or yellow fever), inoculations or vaccinations are not required for entry into Germany.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.