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Postage to Germany: Everything You Need to Know

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Germany has a rich postal history dates back to the Middle Ages, making it one of the pioneers in international postage. Initially, the postal service was operated privately by the Butchers’ Guild. They used horseback riders to deliver mail across Europe, and these riders would announce their arrival with horns. Interestingly, the horn symbol has remained a significant representation of postal systems today!

The current postal system in Germany is a thrilling network of private companies that have evolved from the former state-run postal service, previously called Deutsche Bundespost. Among these companies is Deutsche Telekom, the incredible multinational telecommunications giant that proudly owns T-Mobile.

The next is Deutsche Postbank AG, a financial services brand and retail arm of Deutsche Bank that deals primarily in wire transfers for individuals and businesses.

The last is Deutsche Post AG, Germany’s chief letter and package courier service, which owns and operates DHL. This widely-known courier service operates in almost every country on Earth.

Deutsche Post AG is not only the largest company in Europe but also the biggest postage company globally. Get ready to uncover all their incredible services as we dive into the world of postage to Germany—everything you need to know!

Which international postage companies operate in Germany?

DHL Express Logo

DHL is the top choice for sending packages to and from Germany. It is the largest and most highly regarded international courier service globally. DHL is famous for its incredibly fast global delivery speeds, often delivering packages just one day after they are shipped. They also can handle hazardous, perishable, and temperature-sensitive items.

Additionally, DHL offers some of the lowest rates for international shipping compared to other major courier services. But the most impressive aspect of DHL is its unmatched package tracking system, which provides detailed updates on delivery progress down to the minute.

Other than DHL, a few major international courier companies service Germany. Other heavy hitters include;

  • UPS – The United Parcel Service, a vast US multinational courier service with almost the same level of coverage as its primary competitor DHL. UPS operates a five-day delivery guarantee but also offers overnight or next-day delivery for an additional cost.
  • FedEx – Despite its name being derived from Federal Express, FedEx is another huge courier service that operates worldwide, not just in the US, offering overnight and two-day delivery services. Unlike UPS, FedEx can ship hazardous, perishable, and temperature-sensitive items internationally.
  • DB Schenker – Another German courier service that doesn’t enjoy the same coverage as DHL but rivals it in terms of transit time and competitive shipping rates. A growing company, DB Schenker is fast becoming one of the favorite courier services for big and small businesses across the globe.

See Related: Best German Christmas Markets

Postboxes and Post Offices in Germany

Snowy Deutsche Post box

Deutsche Post and DHL have an extensive nationwide network of post offices, kiosks, and package drop-off and collection shops. These can be easily found in town centers, malls, airports, and train stations.

Look out for the iconic bright yellow banner with the black post horn, which has represented postal services in Germany for centuries and officially since 1947. Most post offices now also proudly display the yellow and red DHL logo.

The postboxes are also yellow, again marked with the post horn for easy recognition, and are typically well dispersed in any settlement. In typically efficient German fashion, many German postboxes have 2 slots; one for local mail and the other for anything further afield.

Here are the estimated costs for shipping and postage to Germany from various countries:

Origin CountryPostage MethodEstimated CostDelivery TimeTracking Available
United StatesFirst-Class Mail International$1.55 for a 1 oz letter or postcard7-21 business daysYes
United KingdomInternational Standard£1.70 for a letter up to 20g3-5 working daysYes
CanadaInternational Letter-post$3.19 CAD for a 30g letter4-7 business daysYes
AustraliaInternational Standard$3.50 AUD for a letter up to 50g6-10 business daysYes
JapanAirmail¥110 for a 25g letter6-8 daysYes
ChinaInternational Airmail¥6.00 for a 20g letter7-15 business daysYes
IndiaInternational Letter₹56 for a 20g letter7-14 daysYes
BrazilInternational AirmailR$5.05 for a 10g letter7-15 business daysYes

How do you send letters or packages in Germany?

Sending a letter in Germany is incredibly convenient and reliable. With an astounding success rate of 95%, you can rest assured that your mail will arrive the next day. Even if a few cases take an extra day, 99% of the letters reach their destinations within two days!

Deutsche Post and DHL make mailing a breeze with their user-friendly services. They operate in a way that closely resembles the postal systems of leading Western nations like the USPS in the United States or Britain’s Royal Mail.

Not only do Deutsche Post and DHL maintain excellent delivery rates, but they also offer a range of options to suit your specific needs. You can opt for priority mail or express services for urgent deliveries or those requiring tracking. Alternatively, if you have more time and wish to save some euros, standard mail provides a cost-effective solution without compromising efficiency.

But how does it work? Simple:

For letters, pay for your postage stamp (or marke), attach the affix to the top right corner of the letter, and drop it off in a postbox or a local post office, just like you would here in the US.

You can check how many stamps can be purchased at any post office or post kiosk, ordered online, OR even printed out(!) from Deutsche Post’s website. There is also the #PORTO service, which we’ll talk about later.

For packages, you can pay for postage at the counter of any DHL shop (or Paketshop), or you can pay postage online for a slightly cheaper fee and drop it off at the Paketshop or a DHL packstation. Pack stations are automated lockers, similar to Amazon Lockers, where you can pay for postage and drop off your parcels for shipping 7 days a week. 

DHL Packstation

Also, for a little extra cost to your shipping, you can have DHL come to your address and pick it up for you!

See related: Best Parks in Berlin, Germany

What do postage & shipping fees to/from Germany – USA cost? How long does it take?

It depends on What type of mail you’re sending and how quickly you’d like it to reach its destination.

Letters

Close up young woman holding paper letter with good news, getting banking loan approval.
fizkes / Adobe Stock

So, how much postage should you mail a letter to Germany? Let’s say you’re mailing a postcard or international mail from anywhere in the continental US to anywhere in Germany.

In this case, it’s best to keep it simple and go with USPS because the shipping cost of first-class postage from the US to Germany is CHEAP.

Your best bet for airmail postage to Germany is 3 Domestic Forever Stamps ($0.55 apiece) or 1-2 Global Forever Stamps ($1.20 apiece), each purchasable from any US post office or online.

The postage rate for a postcard to Germany is less than a letter, so only one Global Forever stamp may be necessary! Delivery time is between 7-21 days, average about 10, and will ensure enough postage has been paid.

Ok, now let’s return the favor by mailing a postcard or standard letter from anywhere in Germany to anywhere in the Continental US. Again, let’s not overcomplicate things because the Germans won’t.

It’s made quite simple for you; at the post office, kiosk, or the Deutsche Post website, you’ll want to purchase 1 Postkarte International Marke (stamp) for a postcard (approx $1.10 apiece) or 1 Standardbrief International Marke for a standard letter (approx $2.00 apiece). Alternatively, if you’re rushing to send mail, you can do the whole thing online or on your phone with #PORTO!

With this method, the fee is slightly higher than buying postage stamps (about 5 cents more) but super convenient. Once you’ve paid the desired amount, Deutsche Post will text or email you a code, valid for 14 days. Write that code in the top right corner of your envelope/postcard (where you would affix a stamp) and mail it off!

Again, you can expect that letter or postcard to reach its destination between 7-21 days, with 10 being the average.

How to send a letter with a tracking number in Germany?

If you’re eager to guarantee that your recipient receives your important letter, you can send it with a tracking number, known as Einschreiben in German. This convenient service can be easily availed for an additional fee. For instance, sending crucial documents like your tax return, contracts, or legal papers is an excellent choice.

There are several tracking options available to you! Take basic tracking, for instance, where your letter is conveniently dropped into the recipient’s post box in Germany. But wait, there’s more! You can even request the recipient’s signature by paying a little extra. You can also opt for a return receipt that the recipient will sign.

You’ll be thrilled that you can conveniently access the tracking information online for all shipments. Your letter is fully insured to protect against potential loss or damage. Get even more detailed explanations about numerous tracking options right here!

Can you send a letter to Germany by email?

Did you know that in Germany, you can send your letter through email? It’s a fantastic service called E-POST provided by Deutsche Post. With E-POST, you can effortlessly send your letter without needing paper or stamps. By sending mail online, Deutsche Post will take care of printing, enveloping, stamping, and delivering it within Germany!

One significant aspect of this service is that there’s no need to visit a post box physically. Additionally, you can conveniently send a letter to any location in Germany, regardless of location. To learn more, feel free to explore further information here!

Packages/Parcels

Parcels on conveyor belt in a warehouse.
tiero / Adobe Stock

Sending a package gets pricey fast, and there are a few decent options. Let’s look at sending a small package (5lb, 5x5x10in) from either the continental US to Germany or vice-versa and compare how the prices and delivery times between some of the earlier examples we’ve seen stack up:

  • DHL – Don’t look further than DHL’s Express Worldwide service; the fee will be $55-60, and delivery is 1-4 days.
  • UPS – There are a few choices worth comparing; UPS Expedited is the slowest, with a delivery time of 4 days, and the cheapest is around $200. There are also UPS Worldwide Savers, which should see a delivery time of 3 days for around $210, and UPS Worldwide Express Plus, with a delivery time of 2 days for around $260.
  • FedExFedEx International Economy is the cheapest option, costing around $195, but takes 6 days to arrive. FedEx International Priority is the best bet for 2-day delivery costing $215-220. You can try FedEx International First, but rates jump to around $270 for the same 2-day delivery.
  • USPS (the US Only) – The cheapest option is USPS Priority Mail International, which should cost around $65, but it’s slower than Treacle, taking anywhere from 8-15 days to arrive. The other option is USPS Priority Mail Express International, which isn’t much faster for $80-85 and takes anywhere between 6-10 days.

The easiest option for parcel postage from the US to Germany is definitely USPS, but most snails would give the service a run for their money in terms of speed. UPS and FedEx are easy options, not to mention pretty fast, but the cost is considerably steeper than the competition.

DHL is the most economical method of sending international packages. While it is quite well established in the US, the company doesn’t enjoy quite the same storefront exposure as the other 3. You can still pay for DHL to collect your package, so you don’t have to go to them!

German DHL Truck

For Germany to the US, don’t look any further than DHL. It’s everywhere and the cheapest option available, and again, they’ll collect your package for you if you pay them.

Overall, DHL is the most bang for your buck, which is cheaper both to and from Germany, fast, reliable, secure, prepared to ship virtually anything, and easily tracked.

See related: Things to Do in Bavaria, Germany

Shipping Hacks & Tips

  • Post offices in larger cities have longer opening hours (with a couple in Berlin and Bonn being 24-hour post offices), but those in smaller towns and rural areas can have varied opening hours and are closed on some days  – plan!
  • Can’t find a post office? Have something you need to post late in the day? International airports and city railway stations in Germany have post offices on-site, open till late, 7 days a week.
  • Most post offices will offer banking services from Deutsche Postbank AG and telephone services from Deutsche Telekom.
  • Letter postage to Germany from the USA is best done through USPS; a Global Forever Postage stamp to Germany costs very little!
  • Parcel postage from the US to Germany is best done through DHL, even if the storefronts are slightly more scarce.
  • When shipping packages from the US to Germany, you must fill in and attach a customs declaration form describing the contents of your package and its overall value. Depending on the value of the contents, the package may incur customs duties, which will need to be paid by the recipient when the package arrives in Germany – try not to stiff someone with the bill and learn more about it here!
  • When shipping packages into Germany, be cautious of controlled substances and materials not permitted in the country.
  • Take care about which services you choose to ship packages – some (like FedEx and DHL) can safely ship just about anything, while others don’t have the means to ship fragile or perishable parcels. Compare their rates and shipping times too!
  • Are you already in Germany and can’t find the closest post office? You can try tracking it down here!
  • Ensure you address all postage to Germany in the German format (recipient name, street name, building number, postcode, town, [if outside the country] Germany/Deutschland). Take, for example:

Ludwig Beispiel,

Sample Staße, 12

12345, München

Deutschland

Have the German addresses filled out in the bottom right corner of the envelope/package (though not up to the edge), and add any postage in the top right corner?

FAQ

How can I calculate the cost of postage to Germany based on the weight and dimensions of my parcel?

Using this online price calculator, you can easily determine how much it will cost to send your package to Germany. Just enter the weight and dimensions of your parcel, and it will give you an estimate of the shipping cost.

Or, you can check out the rate charts or tables provided by the postal service you’re planning to use. They usually have different rates based on weight and service level, like standard or express.

How can I track my package when I send it to Germany?

Once you’ve sent your package to Germany, you can stay in the loop about its journey through the tracking service offered by your chosen postal service or courier. Upon sending your package, you’ll be given a unique tracking number or code granting you access to monitor its progress online. All you need to do is hop onto the postal service or courier website and input your tracking number in the dedicated tracking section.

How long does it typically take for mail from other countries to be delivered to Germany?

Generally, standard international mail takes 6 to 10 business days to reach Germany. But if you’re in a hurry, don’t worry! Express and expedited options can get your mail there in 2 to 5 business days.

Remember that these timeframes are just estimates, and things like customs processing, distance, and unexpected delays can impact delivery times. To get the most accurate estimate, it’s best to contact the specific postal service or courier you’re using. They’ll be able to give you all the details based on your location and the service you’ve chosen.

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