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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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  #2  
Old 29.06.2012, 10:00
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

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.

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

just post it here instead, unless you try sell something? some do have an adjustment but many require a new headlight as the reflector determines the beam cut off
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Old 29.06.2012, 10:11
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

I'm not selling anything. The problem is that a not every headlight is the same.

Short version is that there are often metal "flaps" that cut off the beam to the left or right. You need to disassemble the headlight, remove and replace those flaps. Sometimes you can turn them around, other times they need modification. Sometimes esp. with Halogen lamps you need to change the reflector...

The cheapest pair of complete Bi-Xenon LHD headlamps for this XJ, that I could find was €1600! In the end I did it myself just took me an afternoon. Cost nothing in the end except my time.

But this thread is "how to import a car" not "how to fix your headlights".....
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Old 29.06.2012, 12:19
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

I did it myself also
bmw 525 d from 2001 so I did have to wait for the inspection etc before getting my plates reissued . But since it was my sisters I continued to drive on NL plates.

And I paid 80 chf for the paperwork at the border...maybe they have different prices everywhere?
And I did get the COC from bmw Switzerland (but they ardered it from Germany..) 150 chf and also 2 weeks

The booklet for emmisions cost me 25 chf from Emil frey.
Somehow mine also passed with flying colors even though I was aware of several (safety) issues which have been taken care of much later. Im not even having the correct tires and he passed me.
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Old 29.06.2012, 12:33
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

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...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.
Can you give details?

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"Jaguar is from England right?" "Yes my dear"
Really, I thought it was Indian...

Tata for now...
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Old 29.06.2012, 12:56
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Zollagenturen in Thayngen Tata yourself!
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Old 29.06.2012, 14:21
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Excellent post. Makes me want to run out and buy a car in the UK. Are mini Mini's a dime a dozen there? Are their fields of mini Mini's from me to choose from?

Ok, so you answered the headlight question. But why, oh, why do you need a RHD in Switzerland? Are you delivering the mail?
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Old 30.07.2012, 10:15
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Thanks for this post. You said that you had to pay CHF1600 for VAT and customs fees. Do you know how this is calculated? I have an old car in UK which I would like to import. It's worth very little, but I'm afraid I might get stung for disproportionate VAT/csutoms charges.
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Old 30.07.2012, 10:31
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Hi Cambo,

If buying a car from the UK and importing it to the Swiss, does the price of the car change anything? I.e. the more you pay the more they tax you here?

Other then the costs mentioned in your post, is there any other charges on importing a car over to the Swiss?

I was thinking of doing the same, buying a car in the UK, maybe a LHD, and bringing it over here to the Swiss.

BR

K..
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Old 30.07.2012, 11:30
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

VAT is 8% + 4% of what you paid for the car, plus some additional fees (you know every stamp costs money here!). If you've just bought a car then whats written on the sellers invoice is the basis for the VAT calculation.

If you don't have an invoice (e.g. it's a car you already own but can't import it tax-free because you've been living here too long already) then you might have some issues about the actual value of the car.

If you declare a value, and it's not a ridiculously low number, then it shouldn't be a problem. Worst case if they don't believe & you can't prove the value yourself the customs might look up the car on autoscout & base the value on what's for sale here.

I paid about half the price in England compared to the market prices in Switzerland, and that's what the invoice said, nobody cared, one guy (at the German Zoll i think) said "hey you got a great deal" but that was about it...if i'd got the seller to write a stupid low price on the invoice it might have raised suspicions, did happen to a mate once...not pretty...
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Old 30.07.2012, 11:38
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Thanks. So the extra 4% is the customs charge?

Looks like this may be the way to go.
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Old 30.07.2012, 12:29
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

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...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...
Funnily enough, I'm rather counting on this so that a very expensive ticket I *may* have collected vanishes into a black hole.... Unlikely, but I'm an optimist!
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Old 30.07.2012, 13:10
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

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Funnily enough, I'm rather counting on this so that a very expensive ticket I *may* have collected vanishes into a black hole.... Unlikely, but I'm an optimist!
a NIP goes to the registered keeper, whoever sold the car has a seperate slip on the V5 that they should send to the DVLA to say the car has been sold. In the case of export no further details are required however plod is likely to send a NIP to the last known owner if the time period is short between registration and export.

Also remember plod has 6 months to lay information otherwise no conviction can occur, as well as the 14 day NIP rule.

silverburn you can PM me if u want to discuss further
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Old 30.07.2012, 13:15
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Am assuming this is a good idea, i guess i need to do some calculations.

I.e. what it will cost to get the car back here i.e. Petrol etc plus the tax, Customs etc.

All in all its sounds like the cheaper option.

How long did it take you to do the whole trip from the UK back to the Swiss?
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Old 30.07.2012, 13:51
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

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How long did it take you to do the whole trip from the UK back to the Swiss?

sorry i dont know that country, which one is it?
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Old 30.07.2012, 14:13
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Flight to London City with Swiss cost me CHF 220 (booked a return ticket with the return leg 3 months later via Heathrow, was the cheapest option, much cheaper than one way).

Docklands Light Rail + Tube was about £10?

Awful B&B in North London was £35 for the night.

Fuel was ~£100 fill up in the UK (somewhere between London & Dover) plus another tank at the German border ~€150

Ferry should have been £50 but because I had to change the booking, I ended up paying twice

Picked up the car in North London at 10am. Went to a Kwik-Fit somewhere between London & Dover (don't remember where, but they were a great bunch of blokes!) for wheel alignment & balance, give everything a once over and fix a chip in the windscreen.

I got on the boat around 4.45pm UK time, 1-1/2 hours on the water to Calais, then to Dunkirk, across Belgium (with a stop somewhere to fit the stickers over the lights), the bottom end of Holland to Aachen (stopped for fuel), pressed on but I was too tired & stopped somewhere between Köln & Bonn around midnight & slept in the back seat (some strange things happened in that truck stop, but that's another story).

Got back on the road at 4am & was at the Thayngen/Bietingen border at 8am. If I'd had a decent nights sleep beforehand I might have been able to go non-stop...

In the end it was just over 1000kms, about 100km longer than going through France, but no tolls, and much faster through Germany. That last leg was about 550kms & it was done in about 4 hours. Set the cruise control on 160km/h and let it roll. But had to slow down for a lot of roadworks, and it hammered rain so hard around Villingen-Schweningen I pulled off the road & waited about 10mins for it to pass...

Don't forget you need a "Euro Kit" in the car; safety vest, 1st Aid Kit, breathalyzer, warning triangle, headlight-beam-benders, etc...buy that somewhere cheap beforehand.

Yes it was cheaper buying the car in England, however...you won't easily sell a RHD car in Switzerland, so you'd want to keep it and send it home with your furniture (assuming your from a RHD country).
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Old 30.07.2012, 15:08
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Interesting you mentioned you have reasons for buying a RHD car in CH. I am from an RHD country myself (not UK), and was thinking of buying a new car in RHD.

My reasons were obvious.
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Old 03.08.2012, 11:33
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Is it also this simple to bring in a classic? I am looking to buy an 1967 E Type Jag in Italy and bring it across.
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Old 03.08.2012, 12:10
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

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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.
I take it this was a UK based provider?

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Is it also this simple to bring in a classic? I am looking to buy an 1967 E Type Jag in Italy and bring it across.
The process is the same but you will most likely have to get it delivered to the border. I'm not sure Italy like Tagesschilder (they don't allow Swiss trade plates,so) and you certainly won't be able to insure it on Italian plates unless you are an Italian resident.
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Old 03.08.2012, 15:27
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Re: How to PRIVATELY import a car EU to CH

Insurance for the drive from England to Switzerland was by my current Swiss insurer, die Mobiliar. I already had one car insured with them, as well as my home contents.

I literally just phoned up the agent, told him what I was doing, and he organised the temporary cover.

I did need to provide all information about the car; make, model, colour, build date, engine, VIN, etc, they emailed a confirmation that afternoon that the car was insured for the drive.

Mind you, I didn't ask them, I told them, maybe that makes a difference.
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