Moving to Switzerland with your motorcycle

Moving to Switzerland with your motorcycle


Want to explore your new home country on your motorcycle? Switzerland offers plenty of great routes to take your bike for a spin. Check out below what rules apply with regard to importation, registration and vehicle inspection.

Importing a motorcycle into Switzerland



You must declare your bike for customs clearance at the Swiss border on your own initiative. If you have owned it for more than 6 months, it is considered personal property (i.e. part of your household effects) and therefore free of import duty. You need to have the following things with you in order to cross the border:

  • Legal personal ID
  • Vehicle registration certificate
  • Declaration/Application for clearance of household effects, form 18.44 (see below)
  • Proof of transfer of domicile (preferably tenancy agreement). Assurance of residence permit is not required for citizens of EU and EFTA states (however, this does not apply to Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia).

 

If you wish to import a new motorcycle, you can find more tips and information on the procedure in the information sheet of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA):

Registering your motorcycle



You must register your bike within one year of your arrival (NOTE: if it is a new vehicle, you only have one month). This means, you are allowed to drive it with your foreign number plates for one year. Before the deadline expires, you should proceed as follows:

  • Apply for registration with the Road Traffic Office of your canton of residence.
  • Carry out a premium comparison and choose the motorcycle insurance that meets your needs.
  • Get in touch with the insurance company to arrange for insurance coverage.
  • You must have a technical inspection performed on your motorcycle. The Road Traffic Office of your canton will carry this out. You will be given an appointment as soon as the department receives your documents.

 

For a vehicle to be registered and given a Swiss number plate, it needs to comply with the provisions on construction and equipment. To verify this, you must present it for motor vehicle inspection (MFK in German). Details on the registration provisions and the documents you need to present can be obtained from the Road Traffic Office of your canton (website not available in English).

 

Usually, the following documents are required:

  • Inspection report (form 13.20 A for new vehicles and form 13.20 B for used vehicles; this will be issued by customs or is available from your garage)
  • Confirmation of liability insurance
  • Anti-pollution booklet (available from a garage that services your make of vehicle)
  • Proof of foreign registration (e.g. registration certificate V5C in the UK)
  • Confirmation of customs clearance
  • 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 and noise emissions
  • Confirmation that the first invoice from the Road Traffic Office has been paid (post confirmation receipt, payment slip)

 

Good to know:

It may take several months to get an appointment for motor vehicle inspection (MFK). We therefore strongly advise you to not put off tackling this task until shortly before the deadline.

 

Once you have your Swiss registration plate, you will not have to hand it back in any time soon because, in Switzerland, number plates are associated with an individual, not with a specific vehicle. This means that you may keep your number if you sell your motorcycle.

Motorcycle inspection



To register your motorcycle in Switzerland and get a Swiss number plate, you first need to present it to the Road Traffic Office of your canton for technical inspection.

 

A vehicle that has been regularly serviced usually requires little repair work in preparation for this inspection. You can have this done at your garage. TCS (Swiss Touring Club) recommends to ensure the proper operation of all inspected components, i.e.:

  • Clean motorcycle
  • Check lights and headlight settings
  • Check whether the brakes work evenly
  • Check steering, axle, wheels, tyres and suspension

 

If you have an older bike, you might want to compare its value to the cost of preparing it for inspection. If the servicing work costs more than the residual value of your motorcycle, it is not worth the trouble.

 

Good to know:

In Switzerland, vehicles must be presented for follow-up inspection (MFK in German) on a regular basis to ensure that it still complies with the legal requirements regarding operational safety. Check out the TCS website for further information (not available in English).

Motorway tax sticker


 
When you drive on first and second-class motorways in Switzerland, a motorway tax sticker is mandatory. Without it, you risk a hefty fine.

Please note:

  • All motorised vehicles including cars, motorcycles, delivery vans and trailers such as caravans and floats must be fitted with a sticker.

  • You must affix the sticker by 1 February of the current year at the latest. (It is valid from 1 December of the previous year until 31 January of the following year).
  • A new year's sticker can be bought at gas stations, post offices, service areas and customs starting from December.
  • Price: 40 francs
  • On motorcycles, the sticker must be affixed in an easily accessible place.
  • If the police catch you driving on a motorway without a valid sticker or with a wrongly affixed sticker, you will be fined with 200 francs.

All vehicles must be correctly fitted with one sticker each. It is prohibited to affix it with adhesive tape or foil. This can result in a fine of several hundred francs. 

 

Good to know: 

You can also buy motorway tax stickers abroad (for example from ADAC in Germany). More points of sale abroad can be found on the website of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA).