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Old 10.10.2020, 12:22
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importing car six months rule

Hello all,

I want to import my car to switzerland without having to pay import duties if possible. My situation is as follows: We recently bought a used car in Germany where we live and got it registered under my husband’s name (it got delayed due to corona but that’s another story). Turns out, I would need to move to Switzerland for job starting from March next year and I cannot postpone the start date. Also, we have to move together for personal reasons. Thus, by the time we move, it will only be about five months. We really would like to take our car with us but the import duties etc are coming out to be too high.

We thought of doing the following: we both will move to Switzerland late February with our car with German license plates and insurance. While I will register asap with town hall, my husband will register 1 month later to make it six months between car registration and his registration in the city. Thus, technically he will be in Switzerland for the first month on his german blue card as a tourist. This is of course assuming that the visa we get from Swiss embassy does not expire before his city registration date (we don’t have the visa yet). Once he registers in the city, we will deregister the car in German, go back to the Swiss border, and import the car as personal effects.

My questions are as follows:
(1) are we breaking any rules in the above proposed scenario?
(2) is it okay to enter Switzerland and register late at the town hall as long as the visa is still valid?
(3) when we enter the first time with our car from Germany, will our passports be stamped or will we be asked to import the car on the spot?

I will really appreciate any light you can shed on this scenario.
Thank you and have a great day!
R
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Old 10.10.2020, 12:58
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Re: importing car six months rule

If your husband has the legal right to spend 1 month in Switzerland as a tourist - I think your plan makes sense, and it would not break rules - you will move to Switzerland, your husband will be your guest. You will, of course, have to rent the apartment individually, open the bank account individually, etc.

Your husband will not be asked to import the car on the spot if he says "my wife is moving to Switzerland, I'm helping with the move". This also implies though that, in perfect theory, only your personal belongings should be moved (but I guess they won't care if we are speaking about underwear and cooking pans).
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Old 10.10.2020, 14:48
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Re: importing car six months rule

Thank you rezak, this is reassuring! I do hope a valid blue card means that he can stay for one month as a tourist in Switzerland.. thank you
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Old 11.10.2020, 22:26
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Re: importing car six months rule

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Thank you rezak, this is reassuring! I do hope a valid blue card means that he can stay for one month as a tourist in Switzerland.. thank you

This is something that you'd need to check.
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Old 11.10.2020, 22:47
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Re: importing car six months rule

Google tells me a blue card is simply a residence card for non-EU persons in Germany. He can visit Switzerland on that card for up to 90 days so long as it's still valid. However you want him to move here and simply pretend that he didn't.

I suppose you could try this, but be honest with yourself. Do you seriously think the authorities won't have seen someone try this before?
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Old 11.10.2020, 23:58
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Re: importing car six months rule

I don't see what's wrong with what you propose. I don't think a staggered move is unusual or would be a sign of attempting to get around the rules. People do it all the time. However, I don't know what kind of visa you're trying to get from the Swiss and what effect that would have on any permit start date. I assume that visa would be for the two of you. The date used for customs should be the "date of transfer of domicile". If the visa you're applying for is based upon transfer of domicile then you might run into problems. If you have to deregister from Germany at the same time, then this date might be used as the transfer date.



As for the car, it could be that the Swiss would accept the bill of sale date rather than the registration date for calculating the six months, if that would make any difference to you.
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Old 12.10.2020, 10:04
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Re: importing car six months rule

I would be more worried about making his permit application more complicated than it needs to be.

The general rule I follow is to not complicate things with the authorities or give them any reason to ask questions.

If you both apply for the permit based on your job it's all simple; if he applies later and they decide to do some checks, it could get awkward. E.g. what will he put as "date of arrival in Switzerland"?
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Old 12.10.2020, 12:25
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Re: importing car six months rule

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I don't see what's wrong with what you propose. I don't think a staggered move is unusual or would be a sign of attempting to get around the rules.
But they ARE trying to get around the rules.

The intent is clearly criminal.

Tom
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Old 12.10.2020, 12:40
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Re: importing car six months rule

They're trying to play by the rules, and then it depends on exactly what those rules are. Much might depend on how they do things from the German side, but yes I suspect the overall situation will conspire against them.
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Old 12.10.2020, 13:36
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Re: importing car six months rule

Since you have Blue Cards, you are obviously not citizens of a EU/ EFTA country. I suspect that what you are proposing is not feasible.

Last edited by Nocando; 12.10.2020 at 13:46.
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Old 12.10.2020, 17:29
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Re: importing car six months rule

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Hello all,
I want to import my car to switzerland............
Why are people groaning at "RamyaP" just for asking a question????
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Old 12.10.2020, 19:47
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Re: importing car six months rule

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Why are people groaning at "RamyaP" just for asking a question????
Because this:

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But they ARE trying to get around the rules.

The intent is clearly criminal.
OP wants to move together with her husband, not separately, yet wants to pretend it's two separate moves in order to save money.

I can't fault her for wanting to save money, but I'm not sure as a first-time non-EU arrival I'd advise trying to play the system. It would look a bit too convenient that he moves here right after hitting 6 months of ownership.

To answer her questions, though:
  1. Yes, technically this is breaking the rules because you're lying when you say he's not moving with you
  2. Maybe? His visa is dependent upon yours. Normally this type of visa is for one entry only. The idea is that afterwards, he registers with the muni and gets a residence permit that serves as a visa for crossing Shengen borders. Couples definitely move separately all the time. The trick is you want to pretend he's coming later than he really is.
  3. When you move, you're supposed to do some paperwork at the border to import your personal stuff. I can't remember the name of the form. Normally the car would be part of your personal items that you declare. In this case I don't know how you'd declare all the stuff with you, but not the car. AFAIK it all gets declared on the same form, regardless of when it moves. However I don't know if spouses fill out separate forms. Maybe someone can answer that bit.

On the upside, you probably wouldn't go to jail, but you might have to pay a fine on top of the import fee if you're caught.

Is there truly no way he can move separately in a legitimate manner? Are you giving up your flat therefore he doesn't have a place to return to?
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Old 14.10.2020, 15:24
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Re: importing car six months rule

Breaking the rules and getting around the rules are 2 different things...

Her husband wants to stay one month as a tourist while she registers as a resident.. What legal rule is being broken?

They want to save money on importing their car and by registering one month later they can, good for them....
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Old 14.10.2020, 16:14
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Re: importing car six months rule

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Breaking the rules and getting around the rules are 2 different things...

Her husband wants to stay one month as a tourist while she registers as a resident.. What legal rule is being broken?

They want to save money on importing their car and by registering one month later they can, good for them....
More than legality, I do not think the OP can "get around the rules". They will need entry visas and the company she is joining will need to organise their permits. The husband cannot enter Switzerland using the entry visa and "be a tourist" for one month before registering.
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Old 14.10.2020, 16:37
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Re: importing car six months rule

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Breaking the rules and getting around the rules are 2 different things...

Her husband wants to stay one month as a tourist while she registers as a resident.. What legal rule is being broken?

They want to save money on importing their car and by registering one month later they can, good for them....

Yes, but pushing the envelope, when your permit is at the discretion of the authorities, might not be the smart thing to do.
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Old 14.10.2020, 18:04
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Re: importing car six months rule

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Breaking the rules and getting around the rules are 2 different things...

Her husband wants to stay one month as a tourist while she registers as a resident.. What legal rule is being broken?

They want to save money on importing their car and by registering one month later they can, good for them....
Thing is, he's not a simple tourist. As Nocando says, they are non-EU citizens with D-entry visas.

That's why OP is asking. She's not sure when the visa will be issued, how long it will be valid, or whether it will be verified at the border on entry. Normally these kinds of visas are single-entry with an expiration date, as mentioned above.

I found the import form, it's the 18.44. In order for her to enter legally and import things duty free, the form says she needs to stop at the border during working hours. She'll show her passport/visa, her work contract, her lease, the 18.44, and probably her de-registration from Germany.

He'd be with her, but he'd have to lie and say he's not moving or importing his stuff now. As he's her dependent, I am not sure how they handle him not being listed as a co-immigrating person and not listing everything to be imported on one form. After all, it's a household.

As one spouse is dependent on the other in Germany as well, are they allowed to de-register separately?

Even if the first part of the plan works, his visa is only valid for so long. What should they do if the visa is about to expire but it's not yet been 6 months since owning the car? Ask for an extension on the visa? From where? He's not "here" yet so he'd need to apply for an extension from Germany. What if he's already had to de-register from there?

We could go on all day with scenarios but you get the idea.

By the way, the 18.44 contains this language:
"Any person who obtains exemption from duties without complying with the conditions is guilty of an offence."

If you want to try it, I guess proceed with caution and know/accept the consequences if caught.
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Old 14.10.2020, 19:13
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Re: importing car six months rule

While there are some great suggestion around why this might backfire and make their life harder, I don't get why all this groaning at the OP for considering this move?

Especially things like
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The intent is clearly criminal.
Say OP decides that, to save import duties, the husband will stay home and actually follow OP only after 1 month, will that be criminal? I guess no. Now say husband wants to visit OP 1 day during this month. Criminal? What about 15 days? and 29 days? where is the line?

There is nothing criminal in it - it is perfectly by the rules and OP tries to maximise their advantage, which is totally normal. They will have to decide whether all the potential hassle that others described in this thread is worth saving the import duties, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Following the same logic - you have criminal intent if, when shopping abroad you buy 295 chf worth of stuff and you decide not to buy anything else, to avoid paying Swiss VAT.
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Old 14.10.2020, 20:16
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Re: importing car six months rule

@rezak I think you're misunderstanding the point and equating it to something that doesn't apply.

OP knows the rule is 6 months in order to import for free, but that's expensive and she's trying to find a way around it. Again, I can't blame her but think she needs to consider carefully. She's only received two groans, which for EF is pretty good. She's also received some useful info to help make a choice.

In your scenario, the husband is genuinely moving a month later but popping over for visits. That's not what is actually planned. Your shopping scenario also doesn't make any sense to me.

This isn't a risk-free adventure and that's why OP is here. Instead of criticizing others' words of caution, what are your suggestions to help the OP make this work? How should they phrase the lies?

What should they do/say at the border if asked why they're not moving together and not declaring the car? What should he do if his visa is going to expire and they haven't had the car 6 months yet? What should they do if the Swiss decide they have committed an offence and deliberately broke the rules? I don't have any answers to those questions, I'm afraid.
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Old 14.10.2020, 20:43
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Re: importing car six months rule

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@rezak I think you're misunderstanding the point and equating it to something that doesn't apply.

OP knows the rule is 6 months in order to import for free, but that's expensive and she's trying to find a way around it. Again, I can't blame her but think she needs to consider carefully. She's only received two groans, which for EF is pretty good. She's also received some useful info to help make a choice.

In your scenario, the husband is genuinely moving a month later but popping over for visits. That's not what is actually planned. Your shopping scenario also doesn't make any sense to me.

This isn't a risk-free adventure and that's why OP is here. Instead of criticizing others' words of caution, what are your suggestions to help the OP make this work? How should they phrase the lies?

What should they do/say at the border if asked why they're not moving together and not declaring the car? What should he do if his visa is going to expire and they haven't had the car 6 months yet? What should they do if the Swiss decide they have committed an offence and deliberately broke the rules? I don't have any answers to those questions, I'm afraid.
Most importantly I want to highlight that I did not criticised others' words of caution - I praised them as the very first line of my post. I think that there are great points and risks highlighted here that OP should take seriously into account.

I criticised only the parts where OP was being framed as planning to do something wrong, immoral, illegal even.
I don't agree that OP needs to lie. What is the actual difference between "husband staying here for 1 month as a tourist" and "husbands genuinely moving"? I see your point that it is indeed husband's intention to stay here after that month, but intentions are subjective. For example, the customs officer asks "why are you not moving with her?" and the husband replies "I am not convinced yet. I will stay with her for a while, and if I see that I want to move to Switzerland - I will do it". I don't see anything wrong with that

My shopping example was to highlight that OP is simply trying to walk on the edge of the rules to get advantage, which is what we all do. If I am grocery shopping in Germany, notice that I am at 301 chf worth of stuff, put a loaf of bread back on the shelf to make it 299 and not pay any VAT - I did the same thing, exploited the edge case of a rule.

This criticism is coming from the sale people that, in other threads, explain how to minimise your taxes of every rappen possible, by every law loophole possible. I just find it hypocritical.

To recap, in my opinion: OP should take seriously all the arguments against doing this and ignore all the moral/personal opinions.
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Old 14.10.2020, 20:57
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Re: importing car six months rule

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What should they do/say at the border if asked why they're not moving together and not declaring the car?
They say none of your god damn business pig! Or maybe not those exact words.



While I agree that they probably will become unstuck by the visa dates, that they probably won't retain an address in Germany and he might not be allowed in just as a tourist, I don't think that contriving a situation in order to avoid extra tax charges is in itself a criminal act. The plan will either work or it won't. The customs or permit people can figure out for themselves when the "transfer of domicile" took place. I do hope they tell us how it goes!
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