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Old 29.06.2012, 09:54
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How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Nice thread from Mahmed How to Import a car but this is if you buy from a dealer, and they do all the legwork / paperwork for you.

What about if you buy a car from a private seller?

I recently bought a car privately in the UK, and imported it to CH myself, thought this might be a helpful story.

I bought a 2005 Jaguar XJR, in London, via eBay. Yes it's a RHD but I have my reasons for needing RHD, i won't go into it now.

Before I left I called my insurer & told them what I was doing, gave them the details of the car (make, model, VIN, UK Reg) and they opened a temporary coverage for me. I got an email from them confirming the coverage for the drive from England to Switzerland, and "a few weeks" in Switzerland while waiting to get it registered here.

So, flew to London, paid the guy, got the car. The only documents I got from him were the V5 registration paper, the last MOT cert, and a type-written invoice with the sellers name/address, my name/address, the VIN and description of the car & the purchase price. There is a section on the V5 which needs to be posted in stating "the car has been permanently exported" but funny enough you don't have to give any details of the new owner. I hope no speeding tickets end up with the previous owner.

I asked the seller to order me the Certificate of Conformance (which includes the Certificate of Origin) directly from Jaguar Land Rover in Coventry before I flew over. BTW it was £100 and in the end took 2 weeks to arrive. The seller posted it over to me when he got it. So I didn't have any cert for the importation, turns out I didn't need it anyhow.

Right drove to dover in the evening, got on the ferry, i'd decided against driving through France because of the tolls and speed limit, it's only 100km more via Germany, so I went Calais, Dunkirk, Brussels, Aachen and then south through to Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, arriving at the Thayngen-Bietingen border at 8am Saturday morning. Don't do this! Make sure you come in during the week, i'll explain why.

Without any export or import documents, you need to find a Neutral Customs Agent to do this for you. At Thayngen-Bietingen there are literally dozens on both sides of the border. You can walk in, give them the invoice and you particulars, and they will prepare the papers for you.

Except on a Saturday morning, a number of these firms were closed, the rest short-staffed with people waiting and waiting. Also it turns out not every company is authorised to do this. I eventually found one, staffed by two lovely young ladies...

They made the UK Export Document, and the Swiss Import Document.
CHF 150 and 20 minutes later I had the papers. They had made the Declaration of Origin too. "Jaguar is from England right?" "Yes my dear"

Take the export papers to the German side, they stamp it "the car has been exported from UK", take the import & export papers to the Swiss "the car has been imported to Switzerland", and they produce the vehicle identification document which has a "Stamm Number on it" this is a very important document. They then send everything via Pneumatic Tube over to the Transit Exit building. Walk over there, pay the VAT and Customs fees (cost me CHF 1600!), get your receipt and all the papers back.

Go back to the car, drive to the exit, show the papers, go home for a nap.

Couple of weeks later, I find the time to modify the headlights to point right instead of left. If you need more info on this send me a mail.

The Certificate of Conformance arrives in the post, so I go down to the Strassenverkehrsampt, give them the V5, the Certificate of Conformance, and the paper with the "Stamm Number", they give me some number plates, I call up the insurer to tell them the plate number, they electronically send the confirmation of insurance to the SVA, and I'm issued a temporary registration certificate, subject to passing the MFK inspection.

The Certificate of Conformance I got from Jaguar has to stay with the registration paper, in the car, it's clearly stated so on the document.

I have to hand back the UK plates to the SVA. Mount the Swiss plates on the car.

So the car is immediately legal to drive. I asked my mechanic about this, he seems to think that because it's an EU vehicle, less than 10 years old, it's registered immediately. If you have an older vehicle or import from outside the EU, it has to go for the MFK inspection before they issue you the plates & rego paper.

A week later I got an letter with the appointment for the MFK. June 27th at exactly 13:24, no kidding. The car needs to have been CH emissions tested and the CH booklet stamped before the test. So I need a booklet. My mechanic gets on to Emil Frey, the Swiss importer for Jaguar, and orders a new booklet for the Emissions. It turns up in the post (still haven't got the bill, no idea what it cost), they make the emissions test in the morning of the 27th, and fill out / stamp the booklet.

But there's another problem, the left rear door has locked itself shut & won't open, a replacement lock is on the way but won't arrive in time to replace it before the inspection...so my mechanic takes the car to the MFK for me, and somehow, it passes with flying colours. They bring it back, replace the lock, and we're done.

A new (permanent) registration paper is on the way in the post.

And that's it, we're done. Not that complicated in the end. Hope this helps someone...

A few things I've learned in the meantime;

- Order the Certificate of Conformance from the manufacturer in the country you're buying the car from. I've heard BMW Switzerland is no longer providing these certs for new car imports? Just what I heard.

- If you import a RHD car from England DO NOT BUY NEW HEADLIGHTS please send me an email first I will help you.

Last edited by Cambo351; 29.06.2012 at 10:00. Reason: Forgot something important
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import car, mfk, number plate, private, registration

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