Importing a car into Switzerland: 4 steps to registration

Car import Switzerland

Importing a car into Switzerland: 4 steps to registration

Sonja lives in Baden-Wurttemberg and works in Marthalen. She drives to work every day. 45 minutes there, 45 minutes back, without traffic jams. That's 7.5 hours a week. Too many. That's why Sonja wants to move in with her partner Peter, who lives in Switzerland - just five minutes from where she works. She wants to take her VW Golf 7 and bring it to Switzerland if she can afford to import the vehicle.

Step 1: Register the car for import

Anyone moving to Switzerland and definitely wanting to import their vehicle must, without being asked, register it to Swiss customs for import. You will need these documents to import a car:

  • electronic customs declaration e-dec web
  •  Invoice or purchase contract
  • Vehicle registration document or license certificate (even if it's no longer valid)
  • Passport or identity card
  • Proof of origin for vehicles not imported from the EU

More information: On the website of the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security, FOCBS, you will find an overview of all formalities for the permanent import of vehicles into Switzerland.

Step 2: Declare car for import

With the form EUR.1 you can import your car duty free from the EU. For the duty-free import from a country with free trade agreement, you will need the proof of origin, which confirms the origin of the vehicle. If you import the vehicle from another country, for a passenger car you will pay CHF 12 to CHF 15 per 100 kilograms of empty weight. This must be paid regardless of whether the passenger car is a used or new vehicle. In addition to this, there are levies, fees and taxes:

  • car tax, which is 4% of the current vehicle value,
  • the import tax, i.e. the value added tax, which is 8.1% of the purchase price (invoice or purchase contract),
  • CO2 tax for passenger cars, if your car emits too much carbon dioxide, and
    CHF 20 for the inspection report customs clearance certificate, which confirms the customs clearance for traffic licensing.

Tip: You usually have to pay the import duties directly at the customs office. Take enough cash with you to ensure you can pay. Not all customs offices accept credit cards.

Step 3: Present the vehicle

With the inspection report from the customs office (form 13.20 A), you can present the car to your cantonal driver and vehicle licensing office for registration. However, before the motor vehicle inspection (MVI), you still have to take the car to an authorized garage for the emission test. The test costs about CHF 100, the motor vehicle inspection about CHF 60, depending on the canton of residence. If your car passes all the inspection checks and is properly insured, you will receive the vehicle registration card and license plates.

Step 4: Insure the car

Auto liability insurance is mandatory in Switzerland. Without a vehicle certificate from an insurance company, you will not receive authorization for your vehicle from the driver and vehicle licensing office. Auto liability insurance covers damage to other vehicles, people or property caused by your car. You can calculate the premium easily online. With optional partial casco or fully comprehensive insurance, you can protect yourself even more comprehensively.

In this blog article, you can read how to register your vehicle correctly.

How much it costs to import a car

Sonja wants to know approximately how much the import from Germany will cost before she decides whether to permanently import her Golf to Switzerland. She bought the car new for CHF 16,975, currently it is worth CHF 7,000. Germany is in the EU, so she can import her car duty free. This is Sonja's invoice:

Car tax
4% of CHF 7,000
CHF 280
Inspection report
  CHF 20
Value added tax
8.1% of CHF 16,975
CHF 1,380
Emission test
  CHF 100
Motor vehicle inspection
  CHF 60
    CHF 1,840

Example calculation. The effective amounts may differ from the figures in the example.

Conclusion: Is it worth importing a car?

As a rule, importing is cheaper than selling abroad and buying a car in Switzerland. From the proceeds of the sale and the import costs, you will not get a comparable vehicle here. Even if you have to declare the car. A Golf 7, for example, weighs 1,205 kilograms empty. This would cost an additional CHF 195 at most (CHF 13 × 15). And if, like Sonja, you really like your car, you should import it to your new home in Switzerland.

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