Berlin emission zone – the environmental badge

Berlin environmental badge - emission zone street sign

street sign marking the border of the Berlin emission zone - Photo: T.Bortels/nuBerlin.com

Since 2008 the inner city area of Berlin is a so called emission zone or environmental zone. This means you have to have a valid environmental badge (the round green stickers almost all Berlin cars have) for your vehicle (Umweltplakette) to enter this environmental zone – otherwise you may face consequences and get a ticket.

How to recognize the environmental zone

The inner city area of Berlin, where the emission zone is in effect, is marked by street signs, as it can be seen in the photo above. The signs feature a red circle with the word “Umwelt” (“environment”) and the word ZONE below the circle as well as a stylized version of the actual green environmental badge. But you don’t have to check all the street signs all the time – the environmental zone is basically defined by the inner city S-Bahn ring. At the entry points to that zone you will find the street signs described above.

What to do to enter the Berlin emission zone

As mentioned above you have to have a valid environmental badge (green) for your vehicle (Umweltplakette) to enter this environmental zone – and it should be clearly visible at all times (e.g. attached to the windscreen) – otherwise you may have to pay a fine. Both locals and tourists may get such an environmental badge for their car in the city’s registration office. You can however get the badge also at one of the vehicle testing centers of TÜV and DEKRA, or from one of Berlin’s 800 authorized car garages. And as you can read on on the website of the City of Berlin you can actually also even get the badge at local petrol stations across Berlin.

The process of getting such a badge will only take you a few minutes since all of the above ‘badge points’ have lists of basically all cars, campers and mini vans – so there is no actual testing involved. You just have to hope that your vehicle in on the list with the green badge.

Ordering the environmental badge online

Update: you may now also order your environmental badge online. As of 2016 ordering the badge online will cost you 6 Euro. As of 2018 ordering the green badge though the ‘partnering website’ umwelt-plakette.de will cost you 9,90 Euro when you order in German – and around 31,90 Euro when you order in any other languae. I have no idea why this is this way.

You will have to enter your registration number – and upload a copy of your registration papers (e.g. COC-Paper) with the technical details of the vehicle. Then it may take some 7 to 14 days and you’ll receive the badge via snail mail. For further information and the online application check this page at berlin.de: Online-application environmental zone sticker

Further information about the Berlin emission zone and the environmental badge can be found from the homepage of the City of Berlin: “Berlin’s Environmental Zone – The green sticker

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