Bringing a car from the UK to Switzerland
If you are thinking about bringing your UK-registered car when you move to Switzerland, there are a few things to consider. The process is not always a straightforward one.
UK drivers who want to import their car will need to adjust to driving a Right Hand Drive (RHD) vehicle on the other side of the road here in Switzerland. This transition can be more difficult than you might expect.
Most people end up deciding to sell their British car and switch to a Left Hand Drive (LHD) car within six months of arriving. There is almost zero demand for RHD cars in Switzerland so they are difficult to resell. Often these cars end up being exported back to the UK for reselling, which creates extra cost and hassle for the car owner.
Bringing a car from continental Europe to Switzerland
As road standards are mostly the same in continental EU and Switzerland, it is reasonable to consider importing your car from this region. See the below sections for more information on what requirements you can expect to meet in the process.
Swiss VAT on car imports is currently 7,7% and customs duties are 4% of the current value of the car. There are quite a few other bureaucratic hurdles to deal with in addition to these taxes.
Have a look at the the official Swiss customs page for more info on taxes.
How can you import a car to Switzerland tax-free?
If you buy your car more than six months prior to your move to Switzerland it qualifies as part of your 'moving goods', the goods you bring with you as part of your relocation to Switzerland. In this case, you would not have to pay the Swiss VAT or customs taxes mentioned above on your vehicle.
CO2 emissions tax
In 2012 Switzerland implemented new law requiring taxation on car emissions. A recent update from 2021 states that the emissions threshold for taxation has been changed. This tax ensures that cars with high CO2 emissions values (cars that pollute more) are charged at a higher rate than cars with low emissions.
Pro tip: The CO2 exchange in Switzerland is an Autociel partner that can answer questions about the Swiss CO2 car emissions tax and also help reduce the cost of your tax.
Importing your car from the UK or Continental Europe - what do you need to do?
Autociel can walk you through all steps of the import process.Get expert support
Buying and importing a car in continental Europe or the UK
In some cases, it might be worth buying the car you want in Europe, even if it means paying the 7.7% VAT and 4% customs taxes as well as the CO2 fee.
Autociel will help you assess whether it is better for you to buy your car inside or outside of Switzerland. If you buy your car abroad, Autociel can help you transport it, make sure it clears customs, pay the CO2 fee, and register it in Switzerland.
Good to know if you are moving from the UK
There are brands such as Audi, BMW and Volvo which sell Left Hand Drive (LHD) and tax-free cars in the UK. Autociel has strong relationships with most of these dealers and in many cases benefits from great prices.
Compulsory car testing and vehicle registration
Depending on your car and whether it meets Swiss road standards, you may have to undergo testing by the Swiss car registration authorities.
Each Canton has its own road vehicle authority, but they follow a common standard. Following testing, you may need to make mandatory modifications to your car in order to continue with the import. Cars with a European Certificate of Conformity can be imported without tests or modifications.
Cars that qualify as tax-free imports must be registered with Swiss license plates within 12 months of arriving in the country. Be sure to check with your insurance company to find out whether or not they will continue to cover you once you have arrived in Switzerland, and for how long.
Get professional support from Autociel
Autociel has been providing expats with cars since 2002. They will assess for you, in advance, the cost of importing and registering your car in Switzerland and compare that to the cost of locating and purchasing an equivalent car in Switzerland.
The Autociel team are flexible in their approach to finding the right car for you, so they can help in case you want to find an easier way to import your car from the UK or continental Europe. Thanks to Autociel, you have the option to buy a car with cash or lease it so you can give it back when you leave Switzerland.
Ready to find out how Autociel can help you save time and money on your car import from UK or continental Europe?Get expert support
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