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Old 22.11.2022, 19:17
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Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

Hello,

I just arrived to Switzerland from an EU country, so fresh I do not even have a permit yet (but already registered at Einwohnerkontrolle and started working).

I have a wife, and said wife has a car. She has not followed me yet. So - obviously - the car is not imported or registered at customs, and has an EU plate.

I would like to drive said car in Switzerland, mostly to bring some of our stuff here. Can I do this legally? Do I need to prove somehow that the owner is my wife, and she borrowed it to me?

I heard some horror stories about swiss driving non-swiss cars and being fined and forced to pay VAT and a fine when passing customs on the border. When I passed the border was vacant, so I don't know what happens if next time I cross and they stop me. Or if the police stop me for whatever reason - should I be worried?
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Old 23.11.2022, 01:20
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Re: Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

Hi,

Welcome to the forum.
You could call the info number here : https://www.offices.customs.admin.ch...?id=176&lang=1
and just ask for an english operator or just google: customs and search for their number and call there.
When I imported my car, I just called them and they explained what I needed to do.
Partially, I was in a similar position :
Car is on wife's name, but we did the import together.
By together I mean : only I handled all the papers, but I did have her passport / ID and showed every paper possible --> she was outside walking our dog , yes we also imported our dog. So the idea is that she did not need to sign for anything.

But again, do call them and explain your situation.
Good luck
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Old 23.11.2022, 08:45
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Re: Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

Thanks, in the meantime I read the last 5 years worth of messages on the forum on this topic, and I think I can summarize:
  • If I wanted to import this car I could just register at customs, and then I would have a month to do the procedure. I could drive it during this period.
  • But I do not want to import this car (it's an old beater that we will get rid of in about 6 months). So my options:
  1. Do nothing. This is a grey zone, as I still have not exchanged my driving license, do not have an Aufenhaltsbewilligung etc. so maybe if I get pulled over and present my EU license and passport they won't check further. But legally I could only enter for 3 / 8 (?) days at a time, each time registering at customs.
  2. Have my wife with me in the car (or she drives). This is legal until she moves here too.
  3. Start the import process, then do not proceed. This buys me very little time, one month, unless I'm mistaken. And then the car will no longer be legal in Switzerland.
Considering that this is an old car with very little monetary value, the VAT + fine is negligible (a few hundred francs max). So I will take the risk and drive the car back to the home country, then only drive it afterwards when the wife is with me.
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Old 23.11.2022, 12:33
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Re: Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

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Start the import process, then do not proceed. This buys me very little time, one month, unless I'm mistaken. And then the car will no longer be legal in Switzerland.
I really don't know where you read this.
So you have one year (from the moment your WIFE gets registered --> this is when she goes to the Kreisbeureau or Local Gemainde and declares herself).
You can start the import process (complete a form / pay 20 francs)/ you will then receive a mail to go do the MFK for the car, but it is not mandatory to do it within the next month--> you have one year to do this.
In the meanwhile, let's say after 6 months, you decide to buy a car here, you can just get in your old car and : sell it / go with it in Germany and sell it there / get it back home and do "whatever" with it
PS : the italic words might not be correct
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Old 23.11.2022, 12:56
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Re: Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

Haha, here:
https://www.iamexpat.ch/expat-info/d...xport-vehicles

New vehicles must be registered within one month of arriving in Switzerland, whereas used cars and motorbikes can be used for one year before having to be registered.

This is why I got confused. I just remembered the one month clause.

But all clear now. Cheers
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Old 23.11.2022, 13:36
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Re: Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

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Haha, here:
https://www.iamexpat.ch/expat-info/d...xport-vehicles

New vehicles must be registered within one month of arriving in Switzerland, whereas used cars and motorbikes can be used for one year before having to be registered.

This is why I got confused. I just remembered the one month clause.

But all clear now. Cheers
Registration yes. But that is different from importing it and using it here.
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Old 23.11.2022, 15:59
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Re: Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

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should I be worried?
Yes.
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Old 23.11.2022, 17:36
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Re: Driving an EU-plate car in Switzerland which I do not own

I used to rent regularly from Hertz at Malpensa airport and then drive to Switzerland. I've been stopped at both Chiasso and Geneva being told I cannot drive the car in Switzerland - being Swiss, and risk a big fine, duty and / or confiscation of the car.

It's only when I insist that I'm registered as living in South Africa and they finally go on their computer to check, that they apologise and let me through.

So if you live here, do not "borrow" your wife's car as you do risk fines/confiscation.
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