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Reporting obligation for foreign transfers explained simply

Anyone who wants to make large transfers abroad, actually always deals with the resulting costs and different providers. What most people do not think about, however, is that there is a reporting obligation in Germany!

What exactly does this determine and what you have to consider with his foreign transfers, explains this article.



Attention, cost trap when changing currency!

If your foreign transfer is large enough to be reportable, special caution is advised! Inconspicuous exchange rate surcharges make the costs of your foreign transfer, especially for larger sums, quite expensive. Completely unnoticed, because these costs do not appear on any invoice.

Always make sure that the foreign transfer is carried out at the official mean exchange rate. The rate should never differ significantly from the rate you can find on Google, for example. Banks almost always charge a surcharge!

AWV notification to the Bundesbank

AWV is the abbreviated form of the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance. This specifies a reporting obligation for all foreign transfers of an amount of EUR 12,500 or equivalent. These payments must be reported to the German Bundesbank.

The Bundesbank is the central bank of the German Federal Republic. It is the only institution in Germany that is allowed to print money and is therefore responsible for putting cash into circulation.

It must ensure that there is always sufficient EUR cash in Germany. In addition to printing new banknotes, it also ensures that damaged banknotes and coins, as well as counterfeit money, are withdrawn.

One of its most important tasks is also to collect data and prepare a wide range of statistics in order to maintain an overview of the flow of money in Germany, but also at the international level.

Which foreign remittance is subject to reporting?

First of all, you should know to whom the AWV actually applies. It applies to everyone who is designated as a "resident in Germany". A person is a resident in Germany if he or she has a habitual residence, domicile, or registered office in Germany. The obligation to register applies to private individuals, but also to companies, institutes, and public bodies.

As already mentioned, all foreign transfers of an amount of EUR 12,500 or equivalent are subject to the reporting requirement. An often forgotten point is that not only outgoing transfers are subject to reporting, but also incoming transfers. This also means that the reporting obligation applies even to own transfers to another own account.


For most people, it is interesting to know that the reporting obligation only applies to amounts above 12,500 EUR. This also applies if several payments from the same person of less than 12,500 EUR each are involved. These are also exempt from the reporting requirement.

Since the regulation deals with transfers, cash withdrawals are excluded. In addition, exceptions are made for account transfers, goods import payments, as well as for the disbursement and repayment of loans and deposits with an originally agreed term of up to 12 months.

Report foreign bank transfer

There are several ways to report your foreign transfers. In any case, you have to submit the report directly to Bundesbank. One's own bank or a payment service provider cannot do this for one.

Option 1: Telephone
The first and fastest way to report your foreign transfers to the Bundesbank is simply by phone. A service hotline has been set up for this purpose, where you can call toll-free and report your foreign transfers together with a service employee.

This is probably the most uncomplicated way since you are not on your own and cannot forget any important information. If you submit your report yourself, it is always possible that you forget something and then have to send several emails back and forth. Reporting by telephone is intended for private individuals. For companies, but also for private individuals who have to make regular reports, other options have been set up.

The Bundesbank can be reached at :
+49 800 1234 111.
During the week, service staff is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The hotline is closed on weekends.

Option 2: E-mail

If you regularly make foreign transfers, you can save a lot of time by reporting them by e-mail. You don't have to wait for an employee at the service center and you can quickly write down the data instead of giving it over the phone.

At the Bundesbank, there are sample copies that show how such a report should look. However, these are only sample copies and not real forms.

It is important that a message contains the following items:

  • Your full name
  • The country to which the money was sent or from which the money was received
  • The purpose of the transfer
  • The amount of the transfer
  • A report number, if applicable
  • Your contact information for further questions (e-mail and phone number)

You can send the e-mail to or via the contact page.

Before you make your reports, you should get a report number. First, send an e-mail to and ask for an application for an individual registration number. This will then be sent to you and must then be filled out and returned by e-mail. Afterward, you will get your report number.

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Option 3: General reporting portal statistics
In the meantime, the Bundesbank has developed its own reporting portal to make it easier to report foreign transfers. If you already have your own reporting number, you can register there online and then make your reports easily in the member area.

On the Bundesbank page of the AWS, you will also find more information about the portal, as well as the links to the initial registration and the member login.

Which option is the right one?

Individuals should report their foreign transfers by phone. Reporting by e-mail is mainly for entrepreneurs. Before reporting by mail, you should request a reporting number, which you can then attach to your reports. Private individuals who regularly make foreign transfers that must be reported should also apply for a reporting number.

What are the costs of reporting?

The Bundesbank's service hotline for reporting foreign transfers is free of charge. The Bundesbank does not mention any costs that may arise during the reporting process or when applying for a reporting number. However, we cannot guarantee that the entire process is free of charge.


Why do I have to report a foreign remittance?

Every year, the Federal Republic of Germany publishes a balance of payments. It records all economic transactions between Germany and other countries.

It is important for countries to know how much money is moving in and out of the country.

The Bundesbank and the Foreign Trade Reporting Office are responsible for obtaining information on all major transactions so that the balance sheets can be kept properly. These are then further divided into categories, such as services or trade in goods.

This allows the balance of payments to inform how well the economy is doing at any given time. The government can also use this data to make important economic policy decisions, such as subsidies or adjustments to customs duties.

Thus, the balances of payments are essential for ensuring optimal conditions for international trade.

It is important to note that these reports are not used for tax purposes. The reports go directly to the Bundesbank and are in no way connected to the tax office.

What happens if I do not report my transfer?

The report must be submitted to the Bundesbank by the 7th calendar day of the following month, of the payments made or received. If this is not the case, the report is considered to have been filed late and not submitted.

Failure to submit an AWV report is a criminal offense and is punishable by a fine. This can amount to up to 30,000 EUR.


As the world becomes more and more globalized and international money transfers become more and more common, both for companies and individuals, it is important to deal with the issue.

There are now several providers that make this process easier.

The reporting of large international transfers is extremely important, as it is essential for international trade and economic policy. For this reason, all reports of EUR 12,500 or more must be reported to the Bundesbank!


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