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Old 08.12.2015, 14:27
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Just arrived with my UK car

Hi everyone, just found this forum today and looks really useful!

Just arrived in Zurich from the UK with my wife (relocated with her job) been here for 1 week. We kept one car between us and drove because we have a dog, still not quite sure if we'll need a car or not so thought we'd bring it and decide later. Quite fancy the freedom of being able to drive around Europe in the summer or hit different slopes for skiiing over the winter.

However we are quite central and I'm not used to driving in the city, it's freaking me out a bit, even though I have been driving for 20 years and now have 12 years NCD. So having a good think about the pros and cons of keeping the car here or not.

Anyway the reason for my post, I do at least I want to ensure that I am legal and safe. Now that we are moved into our apartment the car is staying in our secure parking until I have had the winter tyres fitted (ran out of time to get this done in the UK before we left). I have got all the other usual stuff sorted:
  • Valid Uk driving license in the car (both parts)
  • UK insurance certificate valid until end Jan 2016 in the car
  • Fluorescent jacket, warning triangle, first aid kit in the car
  • Daytime running lights on
  • GB sticker on the boot
  • Headlamp stickers on
  • Motorway sticker on windscreen

My driving license, insurance certificate and V5C are all registered to our old UK address (our home that we own, we are going to rent out). What do I do here to make sure it's legal and the insurance is valid? Change these addresses to a 'care of' address in the UK? (e.g. my parents house which is where I shall stay when returning home for work every few months). Or advise them all of my new Zurich address?

I understand I can drive with my UK license for 1 year, and have been reading on the basic road rules. But what about insuring my car when my UK insurance expires? Does it need to have gone through the Switzerland registration process before I can do this? (e.g. emissions check, Swiss MOT equivalent, headlamp conversion etc). Any ball park costs for getting this done and timescales assuming all is ok with the vehicle? Again, if I am keeping the vehicle in CH then do I need to get all this done within 1 year?

If it's too much hassle and cost then I may consider driving the car back to the UK in Jan when I am going back for work.

Thanks in advance for any tips or advice.

Jillops
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Old 08.12.2015, 14:35
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

This should help.

How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 08.12.2015, 14:40
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

You need to tell your insures that you are now living in CH, expect to be point blank refused by all except Aviva who will charge you 2-3 times what you are currently paying. You can do this for 12 months.

You need to declare the car at the border & pay 20-30 CHF for permission to use the car. They will inform the local authorities who will contact you after about 10 months to arrange inspection & to register in CH.

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Hi everyone, just found this forum today and looks really useful!

Just arrived in Zurich from the UK with my wife (relocated with her job) been here for 1 week. We kept one car between us and drove because we have a dog, still not quite sure if we'll need a car or not so thought we'd bring it and decide later. Quite fancy the freedom of being able to drive around Europe in the summer or hit different slopes for skiiing over the winter.

However we are quite central and I'm not used to driving in the city, it's freaking me out a bit, even though I have been driving for 20 years and now have 12 years NCD. So having a good think about the pros and cons of keeping the car here or not.

Anyway the reason for my post, I do at least I want to ensure that I am legal and safe. Now that we are moved into our apartment the car is staying in our secure parking until I have had the winter tyres fitted (ran out of time to get this done in the UK before we left). I have got all the other usual stuff sorted:
  • Valid Uk driving license in the car (both parts)
  • UK insurance certificate valid until end Jan 2016 in the car
  • Fluorescent jacket, warning triangle, first aid kit in the car
  • Daytime running lights on
  • GB sticker on the boot
  • Headlamp stickers on
  • Motorway sticker on windscreen

My driving license, insurance certificate and V5C are all registered to our old UK address (our home that we own, we are going to rent out). What do I do here to make sure it's legal and the insurance is valid? Change these addresses to a 'care of' address in the UK? (e.g. my parents house which is where I shall stay when returning home for work every few months). Or advise them all of my new Zurich address?

I understand I can drive with my UK license for 1 year, and have been reading on the basic road rules. But what about insuring my car when my UK insurance expires? Does it need to have gone through the Switzerland registration process before I can do this? (e.g. emissions check, Swiss MOT equivalent, headlamp conversion etc). Any ball park costs for getting this done and timescales assuming all is ok with the vehicle? Again, if I am keeping the vehicle in CH then do I need to get all this done within 1 year?

If it's too much hassle and cost then I may consider driving the car back to the UK in Jan when I am going back for work.

Thanks in advance for any tips or advice.

Jillops
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Old 08.12.2015, 14:41
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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We kept one car between us and drove because we have a dog,
I'll leave the nuts and bolts of transferring licenses and insurance to those more knowledgeable than I, but just a comment on this as you decide whether or not to keep your car:

As a dog owner I could not be without a car, even though public transpiration could be sufficient for many of my daily needs. Think veterinary emergencies, especially when every second counts or in the middle of the night.

doG forbid you will need it, but one midnight run to the Tierspital more than justifies the cost of a car in my book.

If you already have secure parking it would be a no-brainer for me: Keep the car.
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Old 08.12.2015, 14:52
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

and of course check on stickies here what you have to do to ensure your dog has been imported properly and what you have to do next.

Last edited by Odile; 09.12.2015 at 13:52.
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Old 08.12.2015, 16:13
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

I believe you still have to exchange your license for a CH one within 3 months.

AND DECLARE the car asap. if you decide to import it it will no longer be part of your household move (no import taxes) if you do not do this upon your 1st entry into CH. (Simply leave CH again and drive back across the border into CH. You need to do this during office hours, (or you will get your first CH yelling welcome....) you can keep your plates for a year bt you are not allowed to sell it during this time (if you want it to part of your household move)
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Old 08.12.2015, 17:04
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

I'm going to assume you've owned the car for more than 6 months. You can (and should) declare/"import" it as a household effect. In theory you should do this when you cross the border.

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

For cars and other household effects you're supposed to list *everything* on the first form but you can use supplemental forms if you decide later to bring other things over. The longer you leave it, the more suspicious they might be about the goods but it shouldn't ever be a problem unless the stuff looks really new.

I tried mine as a household goods but still got the form 15.30 I think it was, which puts your car into the Swiss system. I had to do it with a border with Germany as the French had no idea and just directed me to the commercial import/export companies. You go to the German customs first to get an export stamp, then to the Swiss customs to get the permission. I drove my car around for a good few weeks before doing this and used to cross the border on UK plates once per week and no-one ever ever mentioned anything about the car. There was an article that basically said the police are not active in checking foreign plated cars. (I guess it depends on the colour of the occupants.)

If it were the case (or you could convince someone of it) that you're going back and forth between Switzerland and the UK then there shouldn't currently be a problem with the insurance, especially if you only need third party insurance.

You can have the car on UK plates and use your UK licence for a year from your personal entry into Switzerland. After that you have to register your car with the Swiss and have an "MoT" (MFK) done. No-one ever wrote to me to tell me to do that - I had to initiate it all myself. You will have to do something with the lights and depending on how handy you are and/or how much money you want to spend that can be prohibitive. I never declared my car as exported from the UK and it's still in the DVLA system. If I ever move back I (hope) I can just put the old plates on.

Do you pay separately for your parking garage? I guess in Zurich it's going to be something like 200Fr/month. Other than the parking cost it's not that much different and I've had no problems. One surprise for UK drivers is the "right before left" rule on some roads (mostly in residential areas) and you better had make sure you don't go above the speed limit. I find a satnav unit with the speed warnings on invaluable.

You don't have to have winter tyres, but you do need them if it's very cold or snowing etc. E.g. if it's 8C and dry outside no-one will complain about you not having winter tyres.

Good luck!
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Old 08.12.2015, 20:50
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

Try this website -
https://www.stuartcollins.com/

They will give you extended european insurance cover. Youncan have the car here for 12months with the car registeres and insured to uk addreaa. I use them. Had no problems not that i have had to use them yet and i have been here 8 months.

Not cheap for 12 years no claims but cheaper than insurance here. I agree car is handy to have to travel around but looking to buy a car here and send mine back to uk.
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Old 08.12.2015, 23:11
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

I did the same. Thought I was going to convert it, do MFK. Ended up just taking it back to the UK and buying one out here. Not the cheapest option but it let me buy a far more fun car and was easier.
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Old 09.12.2015, 12:38
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

If you're not sure that you'll keep the car in CH and you still (also) live at the address in the UK then you would easily be able to claim that you have the car temporarily while you move things to your new (and temporary) second home. Most insurers provide some duration of equal insurance outside of the UK and legally all UK policies provide the minimum level of cover in Europe (or most of it). The duration of foreign full/equal coverage is usually 1 to 3 months. The dodgiest part of it is maintaining that you do still in fact live in the UK. When you rent out your house, that part is going to be difficult. Maybe talk to your insurer but it could buy you enough time to decide to keep the car and get it registered in Switzerland.
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Old 09.12.2015, 13:06
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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I did the same. Thought I was going to convert it, do MFK. Ended up just taking it back to the UK and buying one out here. Not the cheapest option but it let me buy a far more fun car and was easier.
Most cars now are a few buttons to convert no? My Mini I just switched the speedo and they flicked a switch for the lights, done
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Old 09.12.2015, 14:18
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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Most cars now are a few buttons to convert no? My Mini I just switched the speedo and they flicked a switch for the lights, done
Possibly, it was an older car and I couldn't find anything mentioned online about it. The fact that my parking was underground and the key was on the LHS of the car was also a big annoyance.
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Old 10.12.2015, 11:17
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

In the long term a right-hand drive car is a bit of a nuisance here. It's OK when it's just for a couple of weeks holiday every year, but in the long term it's a nuisance having to hop out of the car everytime you enter or leave a car park or try and pay tolls on the French motorway, not to speak of the reduced visibility when driving.
Unless you're really attached to the car, you may be better off selling it off in the UK (it will in any case have pretty much zero resell value here) and getting a left-hand drive car.
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Old 10.12.2015, 11:40
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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In the long term a right-hand drive car is a bit of a nuisance here. It's OK when it's just for a couple of weeks holiday every year, but in the long term it's a nuisance having to hop out of the car everytime you enter or leave a car park or try and pay tolls on the French motorway, not to speak of the reduced visibility when driving.
Unless you're really attached to the car, you may be better off selling it off in the UK (it will in any case have pretty much zero resell value here) and getting a left-hand drive car.
You know what, I bought my RHD while living in France new from the UK and oddly enough had many new LHD while living in the UK. The ticket thing can be a pain if you are alone (I generally have a kid with me) I don't find the visibility thing to be an issue, to be honest.

I do know I saved 10,000 euros vs buying a local car when I was in France, and got a longer warranty and exactly what I wanted. I wouldn't always knock a RHD as a good option.
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Old 10.12.2015, 12:27
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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In the long term a right-hand drive car is a bit of a nuisance here. It's OK when it's just for a couple of weeks holiday every year, but in the long term it's a nuisance having to hop out of the car everytime you enter or leave a car park or try and pay tolls on the French motorway, not to speak of the reduced visibility when driving.
Unless you're really attached to the car, you may be better off selling it off in the UK (it will in any case have pretty much zero resell value here) and getting a left-hand drive car.
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You know what, I bought my RHD while living in France new from the UK and oddly enough had many new LHD while living in the UK. The ticket thing can be a pain if you are alone (I generally have a kid with me) I don't find the visibility thing to be an issue, to be honest.

I do know I saved 10,000 euros vs buying a local car when I was in France, and got a longer warranty and exactly what I wanted. I wouldn't always knock a RHD as a good option.
And French motorways are easily dealt with by getting a Liber-T tag for the windscreen. The parking is the main bugbear really. I had the same in the UK when the OH was in hospital there. Having to get out of our LHD car to put the ticket in the machine come rain or shine is a nuisance. That was the reason I looked at getting the tag. I had to do all the driving when we came home and fumbling around getting my purse out for ticket/money/credit card was also annoying.

The other problem is overtaking of course. You can't always see clearly if anything's coming the other way.
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Old 10.12.2015, 12:31
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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I had the same in the UK when the OH was in hospital there. Having to get out of our LHD car to put the ticket in the machine come rain or shine is a nuisance.
I used to save up to 45% on the cost of a car by buying an LHD and importing it, so it never really bugged me that much

I did find it odd to the do the reverse and save so much though I must admit
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Old 10.12.2015, 12:34
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

For me it was easier to go back to the UK and pick up my car than it would have been to arrange for it to be sold (probably at a poor price) and then find a similar car over here which would have cost twice as much. I also didn't/still don't know how long I'll be staying. My German's not too bad and I know how to do car stuff so switching the fog light and modifying the headlamps wasn't too much of a problem.

I agree if you're on the French toll roads a lot then it can be tiresome but otherwise jumping out of the car to turn the key in the parking isn't so bad when you stop worrying about looking like a tit. If the french machines ever take contactless credit card payments then you just need a stick and some tape :-) Most of the roads I drive on you either can't overtake anyway or they're dual-carriageway style. Very occasionally it's a bit of a nuisance to overtake but you just have to be smart and patient. I think you can even get mirrors that should help but I've never tried one. One thing which is a slight worry is people generally are looking for someone in the left seat. If your passenger is sleeping or playing candy crush it can freak some people out, but often you can't really see inside of a vehicle (from outside) anyway.
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Old 10.12.2015, 13:11
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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I believe you still have to exchange your license for a CH one within 3 months.)
It's 12 months to convert your license.

I am still trying to convert my CH license to a Malta EU one, I filled in the paperwork in August however they wrote to CH to confirm & there has been no response, so I have a letter showing the date I attempted to exchange originally I had a UK license.
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Old 10.12.2015, 13:31
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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It's 12 months to convert your license.

I am still trying to convert my CH license to a Malta EU one, I filled in the paperwork in August however they wrote to CH to confirm & there has been no response, so I have a letter showing the date I attempted to exchange originally I had a UK license.
Actually you have longer than 12 months but the licence becomes invalid after 12 months
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Old 10.12.2015, 14:30
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Re: Just arrived with my UK car

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... everytime you enter or leave a car park or try and pay tolls on the French motorway, not to speak of the reduced visibility when driving.
Am just doing the same... Bringing UK car to Zug, as is 4x4 with winter tyres anyway...
I agree with the car park thing, but that's what the children are for

As for the French Tolls, Sanef, the company who run the system are set up in the UK and I have had a 'T' tag on my car since we drove skiing last year... It is marvellous as you speed through the separate lane... Highly recommend. They bill by dd only when you use it...

Also don't agree with the visibility, unless you mean when trying to overtake lorries on motorways

A
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