Applying for a permit for the temporary export of national treasures

If you wish to export national treasures from Germany temporarily or permanently, you must apply for an export licence.

For the export of national cultural property from Germany you need a permit (§§ 22, 25 and 26 Kulturgutschutzgesetz). Cultural assets are, for example, works of art, archaeological objects, archival material, manuscripts or antiques such as furniture, musical instruments or jewelry.

A national treasure is a cultural asset that

  • is registered in a register of nationally valuable cultural property,
  • is publicly owned and in the holdings of an institution under public law that preserves cultural property (for example: museum, archive, library),
  • is owned and in the holdings of an institution preserving cultural property (e.g. museum, archive, library), which is mainly financed by grants from the public sector, or
  • is part of an art collection of the federal or state governments.

You can apply for the permit from the competent authority. A distinction is made between permanent and temporary exports. The export is temporary if it is carried out for a period of not more than 5 years, limited from the outset.

You apply in writing to the competent authority of the federal state for the authorisation of the temporary export of national cultural property,

  • in whose register of nationally valuable cultural property the cultural property is registered, or
    • if it is not a registered cultural property, in the federal state in which the cultural property is located at the time of application.

If you are a legal entity, your head office in Germany is decisive for local jurisdiction.

You can apply in writing to the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media for authorisation to permanently export national cultural property (§ 23 of the Cultural Property Protection Act).

Note: You can also use a new online procedure in pilot operation to apply for export permits for cultural goods. The online procedure includes an optional advance check in order to be able to determine whether an export permit is required in the specific case on the basis of a few questions. In general, you no longer have to select the right application yourself, it is automatically determined on the basis of the information. The pilot operation serves to further test and optimize the process. At the same time, the procedure is to be expanded by the end of 2022 in such a way that the digital granting of the permit is also possible.

  • Forms available: Yes
  • Written form required: Yes
  • Informal application possible: No
  • Personal appearance necessary: No

Related Links

  • The application forms are available via the official finder on the Internet portal of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media for the Protection of Cultural Property

Preconditions

A permit for the one-time temporary export of national cultural property (§ 22 cultural property protection act) will be granted to you if

  • you are entitled to apply,
    • as owner or as authorized third party
  • you have submitted the required documents, and
  • As the applicant, you offer the guarantee that the cultural object intended for export will be re-imported into the Federal territory in an undamaged condition and in due time.

A permit for the temporary export of a specific cultural object several times (specific open permit, § 26 of the Cultural Property Protection Act) can be granted to you if

  • You are entitled to apply
    • as the owner or as the rightful direct owner of the cultural property,
  • you have submitted the necessary documents,
  • As the applicant, you offer the guarantee that the cultural object intended for export will be re-imported into the Federal territory in an undamaged condition and in due time.

A permit for the repeated temporary export of national cultural property (general open permit, § 25 cultural property protection act) can be granted to you if

  • You are entitled to apply
    • as an institution that preserves cultural property and regularly carries out parts of its holdings temporarily for public exhibitions, restorations or research purposes,
  • you have submitted the necessary documents,
  • As the applicant, you offer the guarantee that the cultural object intended for export will be re-imported into the Federal territory in an undamaged condition and in due time.

Hints

A permit obtained by threat, bribery or collusion or obtained by incorrect or incomplete information pursuant to § 22 paragraph 1 of the Cultural Property Protection Act is void in accordance with § 22 paragraph 5 of the Cultural Property Protection Act. This applies accordingly to permits pursuant to § 24 paragraph 1 number 1 and 2 of the Cultural Property Protection Act (§ 24 paragraph 9 of the Cultural Property Protection Act).

Related Links

  • § 22 and §§ 25-27 Act for the Protection of Cultural Property (Cultural Property Protection Act KGSG)

To apply for a permit for the export of national treasures online, you can use a new online service in pilot operation. The online procedure includes an optional pre-check to determine whether an export permit is required on the basis of a few questions. You no longer have to choose the right application yourself; it is determined automatically on the basis of the information. The pilot operation serves to further test and optimize the process. At the same time, the procedure is to be expanded by the end of 2022 in such a way that the digital granting of the permit is also possible.

In order to apply in writing for a permit for the export of national treasures, the following steps are required:

  • Use the authority finder to find out the competent authority and the form for your federal state: http://www.kulturgutschutz-deutschland.de/DE/Service/Formulare/Behoerdenfinder/behoerdenfinder_node.html
  • Download the correct PDF form: Export permit according to § 22, § 25 or § 26 cultural property protection law for export to third countries or for export to member states of the European Union.
  • Fill out the PDF form on your PC.
  • Print the documents:
    • Export licence in accordance with § 22 of the Cultural Property Protection Act: in triplicate (export to third countries) or in duplicate (export to Member States of the European Union),
    • Export licences in accordance with § 25 and § 26 of the Cultural Property Protection Act in duplicate (attention: the forms for export to third countries already contain all copies).
  • Sign each copy in the fields provided, stamp them if necessary and attach the necessary evidence to each copy.
  • Send the documents to the competent authority.
  • The authority will review your application and send you back the documents completed, signed and sealed, if necessary with a fee notice.
    • In the case of § 22 of the Cultural Property Protection Act (export to third countries), you will receive two copies and
    • in the cases of § 22 of the Cultural Property Protection Act (export to Member States of the European Union), § 25 and § 26 of the Cultural Property Protection Act, you will each receive a copy.
  • Copy 1 is the application and remains with the authority. Copy 2 will be returned to you (in the case of third-country exports according to § 22 of the Cultural Property Protection Act: copies 2 and 3 will be made). When exporting to a third country in accordance with § 22 of the Cultural Property Protection Act, you must present copies 2 and 3 to the responsible German customs office of export with the export declaration. The customs office of export shall complete box 26 and hand over copy 2 to you. After the actual outcome, the German customs office of export shall confirm this in box 27 and return copy 3 to the authority which issued the authorisation.

If the application for an export licence is rejected, you will receive a written decision stating the reasons and instructions on how to appeal.

Responsible for the content
The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media

Last update or date of publication
21.12.2021