New Laws and Regulations March 2017

Image of the new passport                                                               Credits: Michael Kappeler

Kama kawa, new laws this month….

 

New passport

From 1 March 2017 an updated version of the German passport will be issued. The chip-passport which were first issued in 2005 will for the first time be upgraded this month. The new 2017 passport also meets the European and international criteria for electronic travel documents and allow visa-free entry into over 170 countries. The new features include the owner’s hologram, which is mirrored on the front in green while the Bundesadler appears in red and turns into a D when the pass is tipped.

 

New Passport fees

For citizens older than 24 years of age, the cost of a new passport will  for the first time in twelve years change from 59 euros to 60 euros. For the under 24 year olds, the fees will remain unchanged at 37.50 euros.

 

Medicinal Cannabis

From this month, doctors will be allowed to prescribe cannabis if it is likely to promote healing or alleviate pain. The costs will be covered by the statutory health insurance funds. A state cannabis agency is responsible for import, quality control and distribution of cannabis – exclusively for therapeutic purposes. The cultivation of cannabis and its use as a recreation drug remains prohibited.

 

Lower gas prices

Around 354 suppliers have announced or have already implemented the new gas prices. Running a comparison on Check24, the gas prices will drop by an average of 6.5 percent with the highest drop being at 13.8%. About 13 million German households will be affected by this change.

 

Higher fees for Mailboxes

For those with a mailbox at the local post office, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pocket for the new fees. From 1 March, Deutsche Post will collect a fee of €19.90 per year, this will increase from the current €15.

 

New rates for temporary workers (Leiharbeiter)

In November 2016, a tariff agreement was concluded between the collective bargaining agreement of the DGB and various employers’ associations, as a result, temporary workers will get have their salaries increased in four stages. The first stage of the tariff increase will come into force on 1 March 2017. It dictates that the Leiharbeiter in the West earn 2.5 per cent more per hour while those in the east receive between 4.0 and 4.82 per cent more.

 

New Number plates for Two-Wheelers

All mopeds, scooters and mofas need a new insurance mark. Quads and S-pedelecs also fall under this regulation. The number plate changes its color in every insurance year. In the 2017/2018 insurance year, the license plate is black. It can only be green until February 28th.

 

New Number Plate Stickers in Paris and Grenoble

If you’re planning to drive to Paris or Grenoble, you will need to get an Environment sticker for your car. This is required even for cars from foreign countries. Lack of the sticker will earn you a €68 fine.

 

All Forests turned No smoking Zone

In summer or even in spring depending on the weather conditions, smoking within a forest can pose a great risk. As from 1st March, you will no longer be allowed to start a fire in or around a forest. This will hold until 31st October.

Cars, motorcycles and other farm vehicles will no longer be allowed to park close to meadows and forest paths, as they can ignite fires from their fuel.

In addition, waste should not be left behind in the forest: a glass bottle, foil, lighter and cans with chemical waste can quickly turn into a fire.

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