Importing and registering your vehicle


Import

You must declare your vehicle at customs at the Swiss border on your own initiative.

If you have owned a vehicle: for more than 6 months before moving to Switzerland for less than 6 months before moving to Switzerland
Customs clearance You may import your car using the same certificate as needed for your personal effects. If your car is considered to be new, it cannot be declared as personal property.
Charges You will not have to pay any import duties or VAT if you do not sell your car during the first 12 months in Switzerland. Import duties and charges
  • Customs duty (cars from the EU are admitted duty free)
  • Vehicle duty (4%)
  • VAT (7.6%)
  • Fees
Required documents
  • Vehicle registration
  • Application for clearance of household effects
  • Legal personal ID
  • Purchase contract or invoice
  • Proof of activity in Switzerland (residence permit, work contract, lease agreement)
  • Proof of activity in Switzerland (residence permit, employment contract, lease agreement)
  • Vehicle registration certificate
  • Purchase contract or invoice
  • Legal personal ID
Registration deadline 12 months 1 month

You can find more information on importing motor vehicles into Switzerland on the website of Swiss Customs.


Registration

Important addresses
Road Traffic Licensing Department of your canton of residence.
You can find the addresses of the cantonal Road Traffic Licensing Departments on the website of the Association of Swiss Road Traffic Licensing Departments (asa) (not available in English).
Registration period
12 months   for vehicles imported as personal property
1 month   for vehicles imported as new cars

Until this period has expired, you are allowed to drive your car with the foreign number plates so long as the registration documents and insurance policies are valid.
If you have any questions or for special cases, please contact the Road Traffic Licensing Department of your canton.
How to proceed
  • Apply for registration with the Road Traffic Licensing Department of your canton of residence.
  • Carry out a premium comparison.
  • Contact an insurance provider to arrange for insurance coverage.
  • You must have a technical inspection performed on your vehicle. The Road Traffic Licensing Department of your canton will carry this out. You will be given an appointment as soon as the department receives your documents.
Documents Where can I obtain them?
Inspection report (form 13.20 A for new cars and form 13.20 B for used cars) This will be issued by customs or is available from your garage
Confirmation of liability insurance Available from a Swiss insurance company
Anti-pollution booklet Available from a garage that services your make of vehicle
Proof of foreign registration Original copies of the foreign documents, e.g. registration certificate V5C (UK)
Inspection report 13.20 B for used cars Available at the Road Traffic Licensing Department of your canton
Confirmation of customs clearance (receipt) Issued by customs
Technical data of the vehicle e.g. maintenance booklet
Residence permit (original)  
Confirmation of compliance with European standards. If not available, you need to present:
  • Confirmation of exhaust gas emissions
  • Confirmation of noise emissions
 
Confirmation that the first invoice from the Road Traffic Licensing Department has been paid (post confirmation receipt) Payment slip from the Road Traffic Licensing Department


Insurance

All vehicles registered in Switzerland must have liability insurance.

The different coverage types for vehicle insurance
There are 4 different degrees of coverage in Switzerland (liability insurance, partial coverage insurance, collision insurance or comprehensive insurance, passenger accident insurance). All types of coverage are optional apart from liability insurance. Liability insurance and comprehensive insurance cover only the vehicle and not its owner. This means that claims are covered no matter who drove the car in the event of damage.

Liability insurance: Liability insurance is mandatory and regulated by law. It covers damage to persons and objects inflicted with the vehicle by a third party with the vehicle. In the area of liability insurance, almost all insurance companies offer the same benefits. So it is well worth comparing premiums.

Partial coverage insurance: This kind of insurance is optional and covers a whole range of risks, which may be combined in various ways, depending on the insurance company: theft, natural hazards, fire, vandalism, marten damage, roadkill and glass breakage

Collision insurance This is optional and covers self-inflicted damage to one's own car. It is a supplement to partial coverage insurance and is usually not possible to buy separately.
Some insurance companies call a combination of partial coverage and collision insurance comprehensive insurance.

Passenger accident insurance: This kind of insurance is optional and covers damage to the driver or passengers (medical expenses, sickness allowance in case of a hospital stay or inability to work). It can be taken out separately for the driver, co-driver or all passengers.
This coverage is superfluous if the passengers are insured against accidents either with a health insurance company or through their employer.

Car insurance premiums
Car insurance premiums vary significantly from one provider to another – comparing pays off. Find the most favourable car insurance best suited to your needs quickly and easily and request a quote: Compare car insurance premiums.


Driving licence

Your foreign driving licence is valid for 12 months following your arrival. During this period, you can exchange your foreign licence for a Swiss licence at the cantonal Road Traffic Licensing Department or the Residents' Registration Office. After this period has expired, you are no longer allowed to drive a vehicle in Switzerland with your foreign licence, but you can still have the document transferred. If you wish to transfer your foreign licence after more than a total of five years, you will need to pass a driving test.

Required documents
  • Form: Application to transfer a foreign driving licence (can be downloaded from the cantonal Road Traffic Licensing Department)
  • Foreign national or Swiss identity card (original)
  • 1 passport photograph (in colour)
  • Certification from an eye doctor (on the application form)
  • Foreign driving licence (original)

If you have any questions, please contact the Road Traffic Licensing Department of your canton.


Driving in Switzerland

Speed limits:
  • Motorways: 120 km/h
  • Out of town: 80 km/h
  • In town: 50 or 60 km/h
  • Residential streets: 30 km/h
A motorway tax sticker is mandatory on Swiss motorways. It costs CHF 40 per calendar year and can be bought at customs, gas stations or post offices.
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