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Old 07.01.2021, 13:06
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Car Import - 12 Month Rule

Looked thru the forum and am getting a mixed feel for the answer to this question. We moved to Switzerland back in late January from the US. As we had heard that public transport was good, we decided to keep the car in the US for the time being and use public transport. After enough long cold walks to the train station, we decided we wanted to bring the car over as a personal good.

Due to COVID and the whole situation, the car ended up getting in Switzerland in October. My question is, do I need to put Swiss plates on the car based on the entry date of the vehicle which is stamped on the 13.20 A and 18.44 form as 10/20 OR do I need to put Swiss plates by my personal entry date which is on my B Permit as late January.
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Old 07.01.2021, 13:24
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

January.

Or take it off the road.

Tom
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Old 07.01.2021, 13:36
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

The rule can be found in the ASA directive No. 1 https://asa.ch/it/biblioteca-online/direttive/

According 243 and the example given you must get Swiss plates 12 months after taking up the Swiss residency. (Or store it on private property and not use it on public roads which is also o.k.)


Note 1: To legally use an US plated car on European roads you will need a valid third party liability insurance in form of a frontier insurance/Green Card insurance. (Available at a Swiss customs offices https://www.ezv.admin.ch/dam/ezv/de/...herung_dfi.pdf or http://www.tourinsure.de/en/internat...nce/car/europe ). This is quite costly and getting Swiss plates an proper insurance is usually cheaper. Your US liability insurance is not good enough and is not accepted!

Note 2: Your driving license is independent from the car. You need a valid driving license to drive the car. Your US license will be void to drive on Swiss road 12 months after taking up residency. It is best to exchange it before the 12 months are up. And yes, you can drive a US plated car with a Swiss driving license.
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Old 07.01.2021, 13:39
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

Have no problem not driving it until we get Swiss plates. The only catch 22 I see is getting the vehicle to the inspection without driving it

On the off chance I am stopped by the police on the way to inspection, do you think they would deem that a violation?
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Old 07.01.2021, 13:49
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

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Have no problem not driving it until we get Swiss plates. The only catch 22 I see is getting the vehicle to the inspection without driving it

On the off chance I am stopped by the police on the way to inspection, do you think they would deem that a violation?

Getting to the inspection (it must be the most direct way) is a special case.
You have the following options:
A) Drive on US plates and valid frontier insurance (It is btw. CHF 250 for one month)
B) Get Swiss day plates.
C) Drive w/o any plates, plus an active insurance quote.
D) Bring it on a trailer.
If option C is possible depends on the canton. In some (AFAIK in ZH) it is, in others you have to use option B. Check with the local SAN/StVA-
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Old 07.01.2021, 13:55
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

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Getting to the inspection (it must be the most direct way) is a special case.
You have the following options:
A) Drive on US plates and valid frontier insurance (It is btw. CHF 250 for one month)
B) Get Swiss day plates.
C) Drive w/o any plates, plus an active insurance quote.
D) Bring it on a trailer.
If option C is possible depends on the canton. In some (AFAIK in ZH) it is, in others you have to use option B. Check with the local SAN/StVA-
E) Have a garage drive it there on their plates.

Tom
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Old 07.01.2021, 14:54
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

Thank you for all the information.

I currently have Swiss insurance with US plates. Using this forum, found a 3rd party that issues Zurich Insurance on my vehicle. Since I have Swiss insurance, does that change my options?
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Old 07.01.2021, 15:30
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

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I currently have Swiss insurance with US plates. Using this forum, found a 3rd party that issues Zurich Insurance on my vehicle. Since I have Swiss insurance, does that change my options?


This "Zurich Insurance" is the mentioned frontier insurance? Because as far as I am aware that would be the only legal and valid option on US plates.
The proof of insurance looks like this one here:
https://www.nbi-ngf.ch/pdf/grenzvers...neues_logo.pdf
https://www.nbi-ngf.ch/pdf/grenzvers...neues_logo.pdf

The usual Swiss third party liability insurance can normally not be issued on foreign plates. If they did anyway, you must have the Green Insurance card (these day it can also be white hence also call International Insurance Card)
It look like this:
https://www.nbi-ngf.ch/pdf/gruene-ka...e_Homepage.pdf
https://www.nbi-ngf.ch/en/nvb/dokume...gskarte/modell

If you have neither you can only drive to the inspection. You can get in big trouble in case of an police check, but specially in case of an accident if have neither of those documents. If you have either of the two documents all is good.
http://www.astra2.admin.ch/media/pdf...-26_2724_d.pdf

Edit: Looks like Swiss insurances can issue 3rd party liability insurances and Green Cards for US plates, but not for cars on plates from other Green Card states https://www.englishforum.ch/insuranc...-vehicles.html
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Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 07.01.2021 at 15:42.
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Old 07.01.2021, 15:46
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

I do have the International Motor Insurance Card which is green. As soon as I get Swiss plates, they told me to call so they can change it.
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Old 07.01.2021, 16:20
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

Your car is not homologated or standardized for Switzerland or EU. So you have no so-called conformity certificate with your car that attests that all blinkers are correct color (insanity) or bumpers correct height from the road (etc.).
If car inspector wants Swiss garage to make 3-4K on you he will note all those things and will send you to the garage to support Swiss working class.

Since you've already brought a car to CH , my advice to buy a local car would be useless.

P.S. Could this be true that CH law on car license plates is SO DUMB as to suggest you have 12m to register your car not from the moment the car arrives to CH but from the time you personally arrive to CH. That would be Belgian Dumb
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Old 07.01.2021, 16:44
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

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E) Have a garage drive it there on their plates.

Tom
F) borrow garage plates

what car is it that you considered it worth the hassle of bringing it over vs just buying a car here?
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Old 07.01.2021, 17:23
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

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F) borrow garage plates
Illegal. And has never really been possible and as the actual rules are more enforced no longer possible in real life. If a garage lends you their plates they risk to lose them for many years. Cars with dealer plates can only driven by 3rd parties for test drives in relation with sales.

Art. 25 VVV
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a25
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Old 07.01.2021, 17:26
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

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P.S. Could this be true that CH law on car license plates is SO DUMB as to suggest you have 12m to register your car not from the moment the car arrives to CH but from the time you personally arrive to CH. That would be Belgian Dumb
After you have been here 11 months you have 1 month. Which is much more than for example the Germans allow in a similar situation where you have to do it "immediately" (unverzüglich).
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Old 07.01.2021, 18:05
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

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Illegal. And has never really been possible and as the actual rules are more enforced no longer possible in real life. If a garage lends you their plates they risk to lose them for many years. Cars with dealer plates can only driven by 3rd parties for test drives in relation with sales.

Art. 25 VVV
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a25
not if you are employed by the garage including on an independent basis. only requires one invoice from you to the garage. that's exactly how I used to move car around before I got a C permit and could get police plates. I still do often as its easier and quicker. Only problem is the garage only has one set of plates.
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Old 07.01.2021, 18:33
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

Car is a 335. One of the main reasons I brought it over is my company would pay for that as a "moving" expense. Same car here with more KM was worth way more than I could sell my car in the states and since shipping was free, why not. In terms of the "hassle", call me crazy but I quite like getting into the details of things and figuring out how to "jump thru the hops" so to say. Definitely not the easiest process and I hope to not regret the decision.

On a side note, with the CHF being so strong against the USD, seems like the car is worth more here NOW than what I bought it for in the US 3 years ago(with less mileage). I understand since its an import, I will have to accept less.

In terms of modification, I really am hoping they let the blinker color slide. Others on here have mention that has been the case, so fingers crossed.
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Old 07.01.2021, 18:59
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

Expect it to cost a bit.

CHF 1500 or so for a motorcycle, more for a car.

Tom
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Old 07.01.2021, 19:27
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

will your company also pay the conversion costs?

its not worth what a swiss 335 is here. imported cars (especially from the US) normally fetch much less.

you'll need to change quite a lot. some is programmable and some not. the head lights should really be changed for euro spec ones - they may force you to do that. you may need to fit headlight washers if not already. it will still look different: square rear license plate recess, side markers, mph speedo, etc.

you may also struggle to get data needed (US BMWs have different type approval than euro models so in effect your car was never sold here). in particular the month of first registration.

expect to clean it like its never been cleaned before.

might even need to do some mechanical servicing. the standards here are way higher than in the US so if it has more than 30'000km you may well need to replace several worn suspension parts.

i hope you know what you've taken on.....

I have imported several cars from various places, the most relevant being an E60 M5 I bought new in the US and just like so didn't want to part with. that was a real ball ache, took a long time and cost a lot.

personally, I think you'll end up out of pocket by some margin and out of a lot of time and effort.
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Old 07.01.2021, 19:32
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

BTW, you can drive the car on US plates up to your own 1 year time as long as it is insured and you have the 13.20. There is a german company called tour insure that sells European and Swiss green card insurance by the month for a reasonable price.
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Old 07.01.2021, 19:38
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

For my Guzzi (which I imported in '86 and still have), I borrowed the parts I needed from a friend's bike (which I bought five years later and still own), otherwise it would have been 1k or more in parts.

Tom
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Old 07.01.2021, 19:45
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Re: Car Import - 12 Month Rule

and now its over 30 years old I guess you don't need those parts on it any more

I also had to change the exhaust on that car as the dealer fitted option from the US wasn't homologated. BMW wanted 15k EACH for the CATs new! luckily i got a used exhaust from the UK for 50 GBP!
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