Apply for a WEEE number – Get approved in 6 easy steps

Man needs help with WEEE number application
The WEEE number (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment) clearly identifies you as a manufacturer or distributor. The number is assigned by the national authority - in Germany the stiftung ear - and consists of eight digits and a country code. The WEEE number is company-specific and therefore applies specifically to one company, similar to your VAT. ID. In this article, you will learn how to apply for the WEEE number and what to look out for.
Table of contents

Who needs the WEEE number?

Every trader or manufacturer who places electrical or electronic equipment on the market for the first time in Germany or distributes it under his own name or brand is required by law to register it. It does not matter whether the equipment is intended for end consumers or for commercial use. The status of distributor can also apply to you if you import equipment from abroad in order to sell it. Even as a foreign e-commerce retailer selling to Germany, you are required to register. Companies without a branch in Germany must look for an authorised representative who assumes liability for the foreign distributor.

How does the registration work? To the WEEE number in 6 simple steps

  1. The application for the WEEE number is done on the portal of the stiftung ear. Here, a user account is first created, specifying the authorized representative, the billing address, and the data of your company.
  2. For the registration application, the trademark or brand indicated on the device must be communicatedinorder to establish a link between product and distributor. A registered trademark is not a mandatory requirement for this, you can also indicate the company name; the most important thing to be aware of, is that the trademark is clearly recognizable and unambiguous. Figurative marks can also be used for this purpose. However, a designation by type or description of the device is not permitted.
  3. In addition, one must indicate what type of equipment it is, for example, monitors, heat transmitters, lamps, small appliances, and others.
  4. If you sell products to private end consumers (definition below), you also need proof of an insolvency-proof warranty for registration. For this, you can join Certify’s collective warranty system.
  5. If, on the other hand, you sell devices that occur exclusively as products intended for being used by professionals, you will have to provide credible evidence of this and create an individually prepared take-back concept – here, too, Certify’s expertise is at your disposal.
  6. Now the registration application is completed and will be processed by the authority.
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How long does the initial registration take?

Depending on how well prepared you are, the actual registration can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so you may need more patience if the volume is correspondingly high. Depending on the workload, processing can take between 4 and 12 weeks. If an error was made in the application, the waiting time is extended by up to 6 weeks until it is processed again by stiftung ear. Therefore, good preparation and error-free application are important in order to be able to start or continue distribution quickly.

What are the deadlines?

There is no deadline in the strict sense to apply for the WEEE number. However, there is a strict ban on distribution if you have not yet received the number. This ban also applies for the time during the processing procedure by stiftung ear.

What sanctions and fines can be imposed?

If you trade in electrical or electronic equipment without properly applying for the WEEE number, you may be subject to a warning under the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act or even charges by competitors and other aggrieved parties. The competent authority for this is the Federal Environment Agency. Related sanctions are fines of up to 100,000 Euros, claims for damages, and a profit skimming will be imposed. Therefore, it is important that you apply for the WEEE number and pay attention to your legal obligations. In any case, you will be subject to a ban on sales, which will apply until you can prove that you have successfully registered.


Once you have your WEEE number, note the following: To avoid reminder fees, Certify recommends that you give stiftung ear the SEPA direct debit mandate so that the annual examination fees are paid automatically and you do not fall into arrears.

Besides that, it is essential to submit quantity reports on a regular basis and to comply with notification deadlines. If you do not comply with this requirement of stiftung ear, you will also face sanctions.

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