Purchasing an environmental badge
In areas with poor air quality, there are clean air plans. Environmental zones are a possible measure of such clean air plans. In environmental zones, vehicles with high emissions of pollutants are not allowed to be driven. Environmental zones reduce the fine dust and nitrogen dioxide exposure.
Should you wish to drive a vehicle in such an environmental zone, you must purchase an environmental badge. The badge is available in three different colours which are assigned respectively to a pollutant group. The assignment of your vehicle to one of the pollutant groups is in accordance with the emission key numbers. These can be found in the vehicle papers.
Note: A traffic sign points out the environmental zones. On the additional sign, the colours of the badge are given, with which vehicles are free to travel in the concrete environmental zone.
Tip: The Ministerium für Verkehr und Infrastruktur provides extensive information on its Internet pages concerning the topic "Clean air plans and environmental zones" (Luftreinhaltepläne und Umweltzonen). An overview of all the environmental zones across Germany can be found at the Umweltbundesamt (Übersicht über Städte und Gemeinden, die Umweltzonen einrichten).
For certain journeys you can obtain an exemption permit from the travel ban in environmental zones.
Offices issuing the badges are:
- the registration authorities, they are
- for urban districts (Stadtkreis): the city council (Stadtverwaltung)
- for rural districts (Landkreis): the rural district offices (Landratsämter)
- the places authorized to carry out emission inspections (AU) (e.g. AU workshops, authorized inspection organizations such as Dekra, GTÜ, KÜS, TÜV, GTS or inspection centres)
In order to obtain an environmental badge, your vehicle must fulfil the criteria of pollutant groups 2, 3 or 4.
The vehicles of pollutant group 1 cannot obtain a badge. These are
- petrol motors without a managed catalytic converter and
- old diesel vehicles with exhaust norm Euro 1 or worse.
The environmental badge can be obtained from the distribution centres. These are either
- the city council or rural district office as the vehicle licensing authority or
- the recognised centres for the carrying out of exhaust inspections (for example AU workshops, authorised testing centres such as Dekra, GTÜ, KÜS, TÜV, GTS or technical inspection centres).
Tip: Some urban districts and rural districts (Stuttgart and Freiburg for example) provide online services. You can order an environmental badge in this way. You can pay by debit note, bank transfer or credit card and will receive the badge by post. The precise rules can be obtained from the Internet services.
- Vehicle certificate (in case of old vehicles) and
- Licensing certification Part 1 (in case of new vehicles)
Varies depending on urban and rural district, AU workshop or inspection centre (usually between five and eight euros).
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Ministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Verkehr released it on 12.11.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts. In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.