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  #21  
Old 14.04.2021, 13:22
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

There seems to be no official solution to the problem of the person who lives 1/2 time in EEA/CH country A and 1/2 time in country B, unless s/he comes within the scope of the mutual recognition of EU licences for persons under 70 years of age.


For many years I had valid licences from France, Quebec, Florida (which is the one state that issues "Florida Only" licences to snowbirds from other states and provinces). I had a UK diplomatic licence: they issue the old red books and are valid only for three years, renewable only if you still are on the diplomatic list.



Eventually I realised my French licence (I got it free as a diplomat) was no longer valid because of my age despite having no expiration date, and not transferable to the UK because I never took a test. So I took a UK test and gave the French and Florida licences to my Swiss canton, which sent the (invalid anyway) French one back to Paris (irony: my address on it was 2, Av. Gabriel) and gave me back the FL one with the sticker.


But I can't ever drive my UK car to Switzerland: my UK-resident daughter would have to do all the driving. I rent from the CH side of GVA Airport when I need a car. i thought of getting a folding eBike, may still do so. As I am registered at the Contrôle des Habitants as Swiss domiciled at the flat I own, I can only drive with a Swiss licence and foreign commercial lorries and international buses (I actually had a NYS Class 2 bus driver licence once) aside, so long as they are taxed in CH, a Swiss car with a Swiss licence in Switzerland; and I can only drive a UK car in the UK with the UK licence it is a conundrum for which the old advice that "more people got hanged for volunteering information than for any other reason" holds true.


Point to remember: never to let any EU customs or peace officer get a glance at my UK licence. Or has Brexit changed that already and are we on to bilateral agreements? (Which don't always work: lots of US states don't recognise Puerto Rican licences!)


I turned in my QC licence after 60 years simply because I no longer go to Canada. And it costs C$100 a year. Also closed my PO Box in the border town where I've had it since 1970. I remember taking the QC road test back in the day. First they rejected my parental consent form (age of majority was 21 then, and my mom had signed it, not my dad). When that was fixed the testing guy spent the whole time playing with the air conditioner of my NYS registered car. He'd never seen one before.



PS: Passed the UK test on the third try.
PPS: I have USAA UK insurance which lists my daughter as a driver and is valid for any driver using my car with consent, and for either of us driving anyone else's car in Europe, USA or Canada. Doubt if I will buy a Swiss car anytime soon. Even in the UK the only driving I do is to take my grandson to his French school in the morning. When I do rent a car in GVA I rent online cheaply and use my Chase Sapphire Reserve card which gives free primary collision cover with no deductible. (I used to use Amex but they were secondary, so they'd just pay the USAA deductible; only had one claim when car was dented by a hit-and-run in a museum parking lot.)
PPPS: OP's other gnarly problem is insurance. You have to tell your insurer all the facts, even those never asked, or the policy is voidable. I've seen policy claims denied by the AA's insurer because a car was routinely parked "too far away from the designated home address". Around the corner I think it was.
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  #22  
Old 14.04.2021, 14:21
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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More to the point. I don’t believe you can have two valid driving licenses at the same time. Normally you are required to turn one in to get the new one.
I've got three driving licenses!!!
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Old 14.04.2021, 15:10
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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More to the point. I don’t believe you can have two valid driving licenses at the same time. Normally you are required to turn one in to get the new one.
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I've got three driving licenses!!!
It's perfectly possible to obtain multiple licences, of course, just by failing to declare a previous one and taking the test in multiple countries.

Is it legal though? Not really (within Europe and/or signatories of the Vienna convention, that is). When you take the test you'd need to be resident in that country, or at least have an address there which you have implicitly declared as your main residence. Each issuing authority will require the same, an valid address assumed as your main residence, so by failing to declare this you'd be in breach of the issuing conditions.

All fairly academic, as long as you're very careful which one you use if stopped in any given country, and never get arrested for a serious road offence while in possession of multiple licences, at which point I'd think it likely that you'd find yourself in some serious dooda...
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Old 14.04.2021, 15:24
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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It's perfectly possible to obtain multiple licences, of course, just by failing to declare a previous one and taking the test in multiple countries.

Is it legal though? Not really (within Europe and/or signatories of the Vienna convention, that is). When you take the test you'd need to be resident in that country, or at least have an address there which you have implicitly declared as your main residence. Each issuing authority will require the same, an valid address assumed as your main residence, so by failing to declare this you'd be in breach of the issuing conditions.

All fairly academic, as long as you're very careful which one you use if stopped in any given country, and never get arrested for a serious road offence while in possession of multiple licences, at which point I'd think it likely that you'd find yourself in some serious dooda...

EU law states that one may not have more than one valid EU member state licence at a time. There is an exception as I recall for those who held a licence in a state before it became a member.


For those under 70 the fact that an licence of any EU state facially valid for which theory and practical tests were taken is valid in all EU states limits the problem. Furthermore current EU law requires states to have an expiration date of ten years (sometimes less) on every licence.


Non-EU EEA states, and Switzerland and the micro-states (Andorra, etc.) have their own bilateral arrangements which discourage or prohibit dual licensing.


Since I was in the profession and attended such meetings I can tell you that countries learn from each other. Back in the 1960s and 70s one could have multiple American state licences. The problem of DUI licence suspension and the offender getting a licence from another state (back when it was hard for the highway patrol to confirm certain or all other states' licences) led to federal law and a federal registry. AFAIK only Florida issues "Florida-only" licences to snowbirds who would otherwise fall afoul of driving unlawfully on account of several months' residence, whatever their domicile.


Both in the USA and Europe it is a nuisance to exchange licences every time one becomes, however temporarily, "ordinarily resident" and has a car registered locally that attracts the attention of the enforcers.


In the USA it seems the danger is real of getting shot by a policeman who becomes suspicious and hostile when the (non-rental) car registration doesn't match the licence and the driver is Black. The story of Aramis Donnell Ayala, stopped by Florida Highway Patrol on a pretext, is well known. https://www.newsweek.com/awkward-mom...ttorney-635710 And she happened to be a State (prosecuting) Attorney.
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Old 14.04.2021, 15:27
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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Back in the 1960s and 70s one could have multiple American state licences.
Yes, I had a CT and VT license for several years back in the late '70s / early '80s. I normally had my vehicles all registered in one or the other, though I was living (as a student) in upstate New York.

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Old 14.04.2021, 22:06
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

Nothing stopping you being resident in multiple countries and having multiple licences. You just must use the licence issued in the jurisdiction you are currently in. Then for any country you are not resident in, you can use any. I only recently became 100% Swiss resident myself so had multiple licences.

The car is a bigger problem and there isn’t an official solution. Though there are workarounds which are acceptable. (Car registered you a company).
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Old 15.04.2021, 09:12
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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Hi all
I have Swiss Driving license and a locally registered car in Neuchâtel. I will acquire German residence permit and live partially there and partially in Neuchatel. I was wondering if i will be able to keep my Swiss Driving license and hence the car while living in Germany with German Residence permit, but CH registered car?
Kindly advise, what i should do. Should i get German driving license + german registered car? Thank you.
Hi from Germany. Regarding the License, there are a lot of discussions here in the Expats Groups about this matter. As in Germany there is a Law but the Clerks tend to interpret it sometimes different, i have not heard about being able to hold 2 Licenses.

The common rule is, as far as I was told by the relevant Authority and that is what i also did - one needs to give the Swiss License and receive a German one instead. Be also aware that the Swiss one will be "new" but u can ask to have a Letter stating that this DE License has been converted from a CH License which is valid from earlier Date. Hope that helps.
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Old 15.04.2021, 09:29
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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Nothing stopping you being resident in multiple countries and having multiple licences. You just must use the licence issued in the jurisdiction you are currently in. Then for any country you are not resident in, you can use any. I only recently became 100% Swiss resident myself so had multiple licences.

The car is a bigger problem and there isn’t an official solution. Though there are workarounds which are acceptable. (Car registered you a company).
As I wrote in my previous message on this thread (sadly very few bothered to read it 😕 ), I'm holding two residencies (CH/DE) for many years and willing to share my personal experience.
I've got the two driving licenses and always show the police the appropriate license for the car's license plates (DE car- show German license and vice versa).
Regarding the car, its number plate's country and the customs- it's a tough problem- as I described in my previous message.
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Old 15.04.2021, 09:53
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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As I wrote in my previous message on this thread (sadly very few bothered to read it �� ), I'm holding two residencies (CH/DE) for many years and willing to share my personal experience.
Err, you didn't say anything about your own residency or driving licences in your previous post.

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Nothing stopping you being resident in multiple countries and having multiple licences. You just must use the licence issued in the jurisdiction you are currently in. Then for any country you are not resident in, you can use any. I only recently became 100% Swiss resident myself so had multiple licences.
As I said earlier, it's clearly possible to obtain multiple driving licences, but that doesn't answer the question about whether it's legal to do so.

I'm still confident that it's prohibited within EU/EEA/EFTA and that, although you may get away with it, maybe even forever, you need to be aware that only one licence is actually valid, that of the place where you are primarily resident.

Similarly with the residency itself - definitions of which country you actually live in may not always be 100% clear, although they were much improved by Switzerland's bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries, but the only way you could get the driving licence in both places is by lying to at least one of them about which is your primary residence.

Edit: Oh, and it's quite likely that any car insurance could be invalidated too, as you would also have lied to the insurer in order to obtain it.
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Old 15.04.2021, 10:25
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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Err, you didn't say anything about your own residency or driving licences in your previous post.

As I said earlier, it's clearly possible to obtain multiple driving licences, but that doesn't answer the question about whether it's legal to do so.

I'm still confident that it's prohibited within EU/EEA/EFTA and that, although you may get away with it, maybe even forever, you need to be aware that only one licence is actually valid, that of the place where you are primarily resident.

Similarly with the residency itself - definitions of which country you actually live in may not always be 100% clear, although they were much improved by Switzerland's bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries, but the only way you could get the driving licence in both places is by lying to at least one of them about which is your primary residence.
Hi,
"I had a similar problem" = I've got similar circumstances as the OP has (two residencies in CH/DE, non-EU), dealing with same issues regarding driving license and car plate's registration country.
Yes, I agree with your point that my description was too subtle.

I've converted my non-EU driving license separately in both countries (DE/CH).
Is this legal? I don't know, but I was able to do just that, and this is what I wanted to share.

None of the immigration authorities asked me whether this will be my main residency- not in forms and not by the clerks asking me.

I pay my taxes in both countries.

To sum it up- I don't recommend being in my situation.

Last edited by oferet; 15.04.2021 at 10:39. Reason: typo
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Old 15.04.2021, 11:12
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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... As I said earlier, it's clearly possible to obtain multiple driving licences, but that doesn't answer the question about whether it's legal to do so.

I'm still confident that it's prohibited within EU/EEA/EFTA and that, although you may get away with it, maybe even forever, you need to be aware that only one licence is actually valid, that of the place where you are primarily resident.

Similarly with the residency itself - definitions of which country you actually live in may not always be 100% clear, although they were much improved by Switzerland's bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries, but the only way you could get the driving licence in both places is by lying to at least one of them about which is your primary residence.

Edit: Oh, and it's quite likely that any car insurance could be invalidated too, as you would also have lied to the insurer in order to obtain it.
Swiss (and other non EEA) restrictions on dual European licences (there are exceptions, as when I was a diplomat, and commercial drivers are excepted from the car registration limits so long as local tax is paid in all relevant countries -- same rule as in U.S. states; as I wrote earlier, the authorities of different countries talk to each other.

Unlike the USA, there is no central registry to catch persons who have two facially valid European licences.

From what I know of insurance law (which is a lot; I took law school courses in both New York and Belgium) there are curious but important differences in the voidability and voiding of policies and parts of policies. In the UK (the law may have changed in recent years) any misstatement or misrepresentation or any failure to disclose relevant information even if not germane to the loss voids the policy. In Germany it only voids the policy if germane to the loss. In France the insurer must pay the percentage of the loss that the premium paid relates to what the premium would have been if the truth had been told.

My guess (from experience) is that no insurer would argue that the licence that is presented and which corresponds to the country of the car and of the accident is void because the insured also held a second European licence.

The impossibility situation: needing two licences because you have two cars and two "ordinary residences" and maybe two "domiciles" -- especially now that the UK has "deemed domicile" but even before -- domicile in the UK doesn't involve registration with the Office de l'Habitat or city hall. Officialdom tries not to know about such instances. Think about the "Florida Only" licence: why would Florida want to encourage a New Yorker to change licences every six months? (As for Canadians, just as I did for over 50 years, anyone who can get both a Canadian and a US licence can legally keep both. But these days (not in the 1960s) you need proof of nationality or legal residence to get a licence in either country.

You might do your own research on the the rule applicable to a Swiss taxi driver who is a frontalier and lives in France. Or whether a commercial license in one country conflicts with a passenger car license in another under the dual-license rules.

Last edited by Caryl; 15.04.2021 at 13:00. Reason: spelling correction
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  #32  
Old 16.04.2021, 20:06
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

I greatly appreciate every one for the time to reply.
I am non-EU, and will have to obtain DE residence permit becuase i will be establishing business there.
Ideally :
1- It would be great if i can have both residence permits, can I? Any light on it please.
2- If not, I will cancel my Swiss permit.

As advise by oferet, I believe keeping both licenses would not be a problem.

I would like to buy a new car now, and not sure should i buy in DE or CH. In both cases, i will be travelling between DE & CH frequently, and might be living for months long at each place due to work/family reasons.

once again thanks for the support.
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Old 16.04.2021, 20:34
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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1- It would be great if i can have both residence permits, can I?
Not legally, in my opinion, even if it may be physically possible to do so. I stand to be corrected, if anyone can find anything showing how it could be legally achieved.

You will, of course, need to be registered in the country where you'll be working, so unless they have some sort of short-term permit, like the Swiss G permit, you'll also have to exchange driving licence and everything else. Your Swiss licence may be accepted in Germany for up to a year, similarly you may get that time to import and re-register your Swiss car, but ultimately you'll have to give up the Swiss one.
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Old 16.04.2021, 21:27
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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Not legally, in my opinion, even if it may be physically possible to do so. I stand to be corrected, if anyone can find anything showing how it could be legally achieved.
Perhaps there's some lack of clarity regarding the driving license issue.

But who said there's a legal problem with two residencies?
I've entered German customs and Swiss customs many times and told them I've got permanent residency in both countries CH/DE.
They didn't have any problem with this fact.

Once I've bought an expensive product in CH, stopped at German customs, explained I'm importing it to Germany and I've got residency both in CH and DE. They got confused and brought the station manager to sort things out.

She phoned some official line to consult. Finally she said: "well, you seem to be home at both sides of the border, so no custom fees apply. Goodbye- have a nice evening".

I requested a written confirmation that I submitted this product for import, in case they stop me next time but they refused.
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Old 17.04.2021, 11:36
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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Perhaps there's some lack of clarity regarding the driving license issue.
It seems perfectly clear to me.

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But who said there's a legal problem with two residencies?
The problem is not the two residencies themselves, but the lis=cencing and ownership questions that the OP is asking about. Outside of the EU/EEA countries that have agreed otherwise, your driving licence is tied to the country of residence, in this case either DE or CH, so the legal problem with car registration and driving licence is quite clear:

If you have (or retain) Swiss residence you must also have a Swiss licence. If you do not you are not allowed to drive here.
A Swiss resident is not allowed to drive a foreign-registered car in Switzerland - they must officially import and register it here.
A Swiss resident is not allowed to drive with a foreign driving licence beyond the first year here.

If you also obtain a German licence and come through the border in a German-registered car you risk being caught out, even if you have a German residence; if they do a passport check they will find your Swiss residence, and whether you also have a Swiss licence, so you risk prosecution for failing to declare and properly import the car and/or driving without a valid (i.e. Swiss) licence.

The only thing that's not clear, and you haven't clarified, is whether the Germans are happy for you to continue to drive a Swiss car, with Swiss insurance, despite having German residency. Is this what you did?

I do know that the French system officially does not allow this, although there's no communication between customs, who can insist that you import and pay relevant tax on the car, and police who could theoretically insist that it's French registered and insured.

I spent some years (pre bilateral agreements) carrying the piece of paper showing that I'd properly declared the car and being able to say to the customs officers who told me it should be on French plates "Maybe, but it's not your job - there's nothing you can do about it". I somehow doubt that the German bureaucracies would be so disconnected...
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Old 17.04.2021, 12:14
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

We have a house in Trieste, I keep a motorcycle there, Swiss registered of course to avoid any problems.

Now, I could also register it there, BUT a) then I could not ride it here (though I brought it there as I don't use it here and use it there for going to the beach or into the city) and b) because riding with Italian plates and a Swiss license risks problems, not legal ones but bureaucratic ones that I really don't want to deal with.

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Old 17.04.2021, 16:14
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

"En Suisse, l'utilisation temporaire de véhicules privés immatriculés à l'étranger par des personnes domiciliées en Suisse est aussi en principe interdite, écrit l'Administration fédérale des douanes sur son site internet. Comme les citoyens européens, les Suisses sont tenus de les annoncer aux autorités suisses chargées du dédouanement et de l'immatriculation. Comme prévu dans la loi européenne, il existe aussi en Suisse des réglementations spéciales pour les véhicules loués à l'étranger et les véhicules d'entreprise immatriculés à l'étranger (voir encadré)."
https://www.20min.ch/fr/story/il-pas...e-863214274794

Swiss professional lorry drivers obviously transport foreign-registered vehicles (tractors and trailers) through Switzerland, and EU lorry drivers Swiss lorries.

There is a warning online about renting automobiles and driving an EU-registered vehicle in or through Switzerland. The only advice I've seen is to advise the car hire firm: at GVA Airport one can hire either Swiss or French-registered vehicles, but the French ones won't have a Swiss motorway vignette. But see the linked article. More info here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizen...d/index_en.htm

It would make sense if one could announce oneself at the border and post bond, leaving the vehicle in the country in which it is registered and walking to the foreign customs. But I've found nothing online about this. No advice even on whether my Swiss/British daughter with only a UK licence, domiciled in England, could drive my UK-registered car (for which she is co-insured) into Switzerland where I am legally domiciled but don't spend much time.

Having had experience in the 1960s driving vehicles with Carnets de passage en douane, their cost and nuisance at least protected one from horrendous fines. If a foreign customs officer stamped you in (and collected the entry coupon) you were legal. If you failed to export the car Customs was guaranteed the applicable duty and tax by the AAA or other issuer.

There seems no legal reason why a car cannot be licensed and insured in more than one country (as lorries frequently are). But I've seen no provision for that. It's not uncommon in the USA: I once had an estate car with NYS commercial plates and NJ passenger car plates: the latter allowed me to drive on parkways forbidden to commercial vehicles.
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Old 17.04.2021, 23:48
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Re: Taking Swiss Car to Germany or vice versa

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The only thing that's not clear, and you haven't clarified, is whether the Germans are happy for you to continue to drive a Swiss car, with Swiss insurance, despite having German residency. Is this what you did?
I was driving a German company car until an employee who has double residency Netherlands/Germany, was caught by customs and they demanded that the German company car be imported to the Netherlands and the license plates changed.
As a result, the company has confiscated the company cars of many employees. Most cases were of people living in France and daily commuting to the offices in Germany with their German company cars.

Sometimes I miss that new Audi
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