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  #21  
Old 02.09.2009, 20:02
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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seems to me you've been trying to fudge this issue for a while,
I have made this post only about the matter, so your time estimate suggests a wider knowledge - if you wish to refer to another then I invite you to do so as there is indeed an old issue I have allowed to rest unless you raise it again here.
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Old 02.09.2009, 20:03
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

I have a UK car on Uk plates with UK insurance and agree that it has to be MOT'd and Taxed for my insurance to be valid here just as it would in the UK
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Old 02.09.2009, 20:03
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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Did I miss anything exciting??
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Old 02.09.2009, 20:05
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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Ooo er! I'll get off your thread then. Good luck.
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Old 02.09.2009, 20:08
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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What made you assume that? I stated quite clearly in my post that I spent more time out of Switzerland than in the country
So you confirm your are not Swiss domiciled and this thread is not relevant to you.

I assumed nothing, I said "IF".

If the same could be said of the responses to my post, we would not be exploring these avenues of discussion.
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Old 02.09.2009, 20:20
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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I was very forcefully told recently by Swiss Customs that I do not have the right ( "vous n'avez pas le droit" ) to drive a foreign registered car in Switzerland once I am resident (their word is "domiciled") in Switzerland. There are transitional customs provisions (meaning time allowances (main one being 18 months) for making the necessary changes).

Once resident I have three days to declare any foreign registered car upon entry to Switzerland, subject to transitional provisions above.

I think it is the transitional provisions that make this subject appear constantly to be a moving (pun intended) target.

If you are moving here and staying here permanently that's one set of rules.

If you are moving here temporarily then the above MAY not apply.

If you are moving here in specific circumstances (e.g. government employee etc) than again different rules MAY apply (also typically people in Geneve working for world organisations).

In my current experience the best thing is to go to see the local customs office (not a border post, especially as these are now mostly unmanned except random times) who I have found to be helpful to a fault.

Of course customs clearance for the car ("douanement") is only the beginning of the process as regards immatriculation (registration) but the exact method of entry as either "household goods form 18.44" or just as "a car import from 13.20A without 18.44" can make the entire difference as regards the control technique (read UK M.o.t. test).

Insurance: I am in the middle of sussing that out,

If you want UK insurance for a UK registered car in Switzerland and you have not requested confirmation of annual "green card" cover (which means they know it is out of the UK for long periods (i.e. longer than 30/45 days per visit) and with foreign driving licence and/or foreign residence, then you are relying on traffic act (third party cover) as they all have to include that regardless.

If you have made those disclosures (get it confirmed in a side letter) to avoid roadside unpleasantness.

There seem to be certain mythical providers who will give this cover for private use.

The one I used was for business use (hire and reward) and is why it is not readily/generally available.

Having a foreign driving licence does not invalidate insurance.

Being foreign resident does not invalidate insurance.

Not having an m.o.t. does not invalidate insurance (unless stated in the policy and I have not seen one that is specific about that).

Having a car that is unsafe for the road, does invalidate insurance (that's where the "you have to have an m.o.t." comes from, but you can have an m.o.t. and still be unsafe as an m.o.t. certifies safety only for the moment of the m.o.t.) - and in any case who would not ensure their car is safe?

Not having a tax disc does not invalidate cover overseas (I doubt it does in the UK either otherwise we could not drive to an m.o.t. testing station for a test appointment without a tax disc).

Telling insurers things that are not true is likely to invalidate cover i.e. give the claims dept an "out".

This is not intended as a definitive detailed guide, but it would have helped me to know all this before I started out on this path, especially with all the conflicting information there is: the above may help illustrate how semantics make such a big difference.

Anthony
The above is a very good précis, largely correct although inaccurate in detail. Don't expect a Customs officer to be a lawyer.

For one thing, think of this: no Swiss domiciliary could be a professional driver (chauffeur or lorry driver) if s/he couldn't drive a foreign-registered vehicle.

Diplomats and quasi-diplomats are (as you suggest) exempt from some of the requirements. They (and me, i was one of them until my retirement) are supposed to get a Swiss diplomatic (Bern or Geneva or Zurich, etc.) licence plate and MAY get a Swiss driving licence through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But some don't: I drove for years in Geneva with UK licence plates. (But I had US military insurance, and that is a bit different from the normal UK kind.)

You are correct that a misrepresentation to an insurance company can invalidate or limit the insurer's responsibility. But the EU Third Insurance Directive (indirectly effective in Switzerland) and the Green Card rules change that somewhat: any vehicle ostensibly licensed in a participating (EU, etc.) country -- even if the plates are stolen or forged -- is effectively 'insured' by the relevant Insurance Bureau of the country of purported registration.

Of course after paying the claim that insurer is free to sue you on a theory of subrogation.

Also, insurance law varies by country. In the UK (EU law being ignored for this discussion) a misrepresentation, however minor, may invalidate a policy. In France it reduces the payment proportionately to the lesser premium paid. In Germany it invalidates the policy only if relevant to the loss. I have not studied the Swiss rule.

I think you mean "dédouanement" -- customs clearance. For that there may be expensive changes to be made for a car to meet Swiss specifications. That's why, years ago, I kept my UK plates. How expensive depends on where your car came from.

Here is an informal, yet official, statement of the Swiss rules on foreign licence plates and foreign driving licences. http://bit.ly/1yHjf2 Bear in mind there is a weakness here: those with dual residence are more or less stuck since they must, but cannot easily, meet the requirements of both countries since an EU driving licence is withdrawn if exchanged for a Swiss one, and a Swiss one is not valid beyond 12 months in the UK and probably other EU countries. (The answer may be to take tests in both and carry two; it is only unlawful to hold two EU licences simultaneously.) Nothing stops one from registering a vehicle in two countries other than the expense of insurance. And perhaps the specifications required for registering it. Fortunately most of officialdom ignores the rules when they become silly.
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Old 02.09.2009, 20:46
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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I have a UK car on Uk plates with UK insurance and agree that it has to be MOT'd and Taxed for my insurance to be valid here just as it would in the UK
Actually I brought (and lost) a Parliamentary Petition against the UK on this issue.

The UK and EU rules do not apply in Switzerland. But you may not legally drive a UK-registered vehicle an EU country unless it is properly taxed (and, semble, MOT'd) in the UK. Seemingly you would have to ship the car to Calais on the back of a lorry or have a professional driver bring it there with transporter plates and his own insurance. (In real life, people do drive, illegally.)

Once arrived in Dover you ring ahead to an MOT station anywhere in the UK and you can drive legally, so long as you are insured, without a tax disc or MOT directly to that MOT station. I have confirmed this with DVLA. That was the basis of my case on EU-discrimination, but the European Commission was not interested. (I scrapped the car in Switzerland instead; it wasn't worth the cost of shipping.)

Swiss rules are on line. A foreign-registered but untaxed car, so long as it is insured, may be driven on a limited basis. Presumably it may not be kept indefinitely on a public road. This depends on the driver being nonresident and only visiting Switzerland within the time period given in the rules.

There's a FAQ here that may help: http://bit.ly/470IC
Customs description of the law: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en
One interesting exceptional category is "véhicules importés pour être stationnés". My recollection is that a foreign-registered car with expired tax disc can be used, if insured, for limited periods. But I don't have the Web page that I think says so accessible right now. The answer may be here (Ordinance on admission of persons and vehicles from abroad) http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/7/741.51.fr.pdf
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Old 02.09.2009, 21:40
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

thank you very much for taking time to post all that, it is just what I hoped for.

I have possible intentions for both double registration and twin driving licences. I would like to take the Swiss test if it is not cost prohibitive, to acquire an understanding at that level.


At present I am in the process of Swiss insurance considerations and am about to request dedouanement (thanks for that correction, my French is improving but slowly, hence I have to do everything "en face", when I find everyone very helpful and as you say, they are not lawyers.)
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Old 02.09.2009, 21:44
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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Once arrived in Dover you ring ahead to an MOT station anywhere in the UK and you can drive legally, so long as you are insured, without a tax disc or MOT directly to that MOT station. I have confirmed this with DVLA. That was the basis of my case on EU-discrimination, but the European Commission was not interested. (I scrapped the car in Switzerland instead; it wasn't worth the cost of shipping.)
I can also confirm this having done it, calling ahead from outside the UK to make the appointment.

I have also used a trailer for the purpose and have quotes from lorry carriers on my desk just now.
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Old 02.09.2009, 21:55
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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"véhicules importés pour être stationnés"
In the end I decided not to broach that one with customs directly other than in the context of driving a vehicle in, parking it, and driving it out again with an undetermined time between. They asked me if the vehicle would be driven straight to the border and out. When I said "yes" they said "ok as long as that's what you do".

I have wondered if this covers the rationale for cars driven to ski resorts and left there all winter, parked (being the point). Same goes for airports.
The above was in the context of a Swiss domiciled person.

I have not drawn any conclusions and have the matter classified as you have.
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  #31  
Old 03.09.2009, 00:04
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

Interesting - so I am in the process of importing my US car into CH and I intend to drive it for up to one year with my foreign US plates as I believe I am entitled to (properly insured in CH of course, I have 4 quotes from 3 companies already). My registration doc from Illinois (US of A) expires 30.9.09. TO renew it, I have to take (in IL, with a car that is currently in Germany en route to CH) an emissions test and obtain a registration document at the DMV in Chicago (where I do not reside any longer). Are you saying that if I am not able to perform those heroic deeds, the car will not be legal to drive here after 30.9.09 ? or is this learned debate mainly relevant to EU countries ?

Thanks and regards
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Old 03.09.2009, 00:46
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

This is an EU debate, it is more exactly a "UK - Swiss debate " all the non Swiss terms are British Motoring law, not EU.

So with this in mind I suggest the following:

Caveat: it's always dangerous to extrapolate one country's laws to another so this is just my best shot, please understand.

Here goes:

Tomorrow go see customs (proper offices NOT a border post) armed with your permit

ask what deadline for customs clearance of the car - 18 months from permit date

check situation as regards Registration Doc
check your own situation (diplomatic, student, UN, average human being etc)
check against your expected time in Switzerland

check car will be ok on form 18.44 "Household goods" as part of declaration on form 13.20A . (They will know exactly what these are)

go see Service Control Navigation SCN armed with a blank 18.44 and ask for a check list appropriate to your circumstances and car to obtain a controle technique appointment.

Sort out papers for the above. The 18.44 MAY be crucial, depends on your car. When you have the cart grise sorted out go back and check your papers look ok.

Sort insurance - ruling out any deal breakers. You need an "attestation" of intention to provide you with cover, to include in the papers when applying for CT appointment (otherwise that's a Catch 22 and "attrappez vingt deux seems to lose the meaning)

Then on Friday (!!) get customs clearance and you have 12 months to do the control technique - minor changes such as headlights for driving on the wrong side of the road etc

Your Canton of course may be different and your circumstances may differ from mine (CD for example?)

In all this the three keys are:

1 form 18.44
2 attestation of insurance prior to CT
3 check list of docs required filled in by CT department personnel based on your expected customs docs (this way you check you will comply before clearance)

What can go wrong? I'll let you know!

What Canton are you in? If German speaking the department names may be unintelligible, requiring input from others here.

A registration document that can expire is outside my concepts of car laws so keep that in mind reading the above. What is going on in my head is that if you do not have a valid reg doc then you cannot comply with that document requirement (maybe there are different rules for non eu cars, but then one of mine is a non eu car so.... ) to get to my point: if your registration doc is about to expire it SEEMS sensible to complete the declarations process as fast as possible while it is still valid - then you have 12 months for CT as I understand it, but expiring doc may limit that. That would be a very important question to ask when getting the SCN docs checklist, because if you find that 30/09 is a deadline, act quick. However, now stretching my memories; I think you can import a car without any reg docs, but that's another route I did not pay attention to. And finally, the Swiss may be accustomed to expiring US docs, so ask them directly these questions, sooner rather than later.
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Old 03.09.2009, 02:35
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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Interesting - so I am in the process of importing my US car into CH and I intend to drive it for up to one year with my foreign US plates as I believe I am entitled to (properly insured in CH of course, I have 4 quotes from 3 companies already). My registration doc from Illinois (US of A) expires 30.9.09. TO renew it, I have to take (in IL, with a car that is currently in Germany en route to CH) an emissions test and obtain a registration document at the DMV in Chicago (where I do not reside any longer). Are you saying that if I am not able to perform those heroic deeds, the car will not be legal to drive here after 30.9.09 ? or is this learned debate mainly relevant to EU countries ?

Thanks and regards
It's not just an EU thing.
http://ec.europa.eu/world/agreements...e&treatyId=472

http://ec.europa.eu/world/agreements...tyTransId=1311

I ship my highly modified UK registered Jeep to the USA regularly, it comes back home for it's MoT within 12 months of leaving the UK. It has an MoT test (annual safety inspection) two to three days before getting loaded on the ship in England. I usually renew the Road Tax for 12 months at the same time. My UK insurer is informed that it is temporarily leaving the country and they make a note on my file for my No Claims Bonus. I have to schedule cancellation of my Fully Comprehensive (All Risks) UK insurance policy to coincide with the start of my marine freight insurance and have my US motor insurance start on the expected date of arrival in the USA when my freight insurance ends. Insurers do not like multiple policies simultaneously on one vehicle.

Technically, my British registered Jeep is not legal to drive in the UK when covered by a US insurance policy but as far as the 1949 international treaty is concerned it is still insurance and having insurance cover that is valid in the territory that the vehicle is driven in is the main concern. This is the only way my three insurance companies have done it since 2006. The UK MoT and Tax Disc are particularly annoying as I often have two MoT's done within six months just to maximize the time the Jeep has in the USA.

In my opinion, and that's all it is, I reckon you would have to pass whatever State inspection or emissions and perhaps renew tags immediately before the vehicle was shipped out of the US to comply.

As some States don't have safety inspections and some counties in some States don't have emissions tests, it is a very difficult task for any European official to question with certainty the validity or invalidity of your vehicle's legality back home. If your European insurer is happy to give you insurance cover and you are officially in the process of permanently importing your vehicle, you would be extremely unlucky to get a visit from the Swiss Police.

However, four months after getting my B permit I drove my highly modified British registered Jeep into Switzerland the customs officer politely told me that it had to leave before the first anniversary of my permit start date otherwise they will arrest me and confiscate it. Needless to say that the Jeep was back in the US for another expedition within a few months.
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Old 03.09.2009, 04:48
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

i think I can add to this theme, while the EU discussion remains EU (which is a veiled reference to "EU4"), Swiss Controle technique the SCN dept have no interest in annual emmissions tests or safety check tests (UK = Mot) simply because they are not Swiss and as such not relevant. I have no idea what (US?) tags are, but they are not Swiss unless it is a different word for something else.

As a Swiss resident arriving with a foreign registered car, you have three days to declare it at a customs post/office, THEN you have 12 months to carry out the SCN Control technique matters (assumption: the same 12 months here applies as when being an immigrant) . When you make the declaration, customs provide a temporary Swiss registration number which is used for Swiss insurance purposes untill issue of the "real thing" at a later time. This is as was explained to me by customs a couple of weeks ago during a meetings lasting over an hour. All this is in my personal circumstances, so expect variations.

As an (first time) immigrant the three days is increased to 18 months where the vehicles are classified as household goods.

As I understand it from the SCN dept, The SCN 12 months starts from the date of customs clearance, duly made during the 18 month period. I have this 18 months in writing from customs, so there is a mismatch between this information and the usually quoted 12 months from start of permit, perhaps a recent change or an old misunderstanding, I know not which). A misunderstanding could (possibly) be between the 12 months allowed to complete the SCN process and the 18 months allowed for making the importation. I will make some enquiries in this regard next time I am with customs and SCN, perhaps I will learn something more.

I imagine Border guards tend to skip the detail if a declaration is not being made ("nothing to declare" driving a foreign car?)- since the three days is to allow us to find a customs post presumably.

Now my interpretation of this is that they will confiscate the car and arrest the driver when it amounts to smuggling - i.e. bringing goods as contraband not being declared for customs clearance.
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Old 03.09.2009, 09:09
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

I sorry this useful thread has gone off on a tangent rather and thank people for giving up their time and advice so far.
If anyone can tell me anything about either getting an old UK car insured in Switzerland (I just got here but my UK insurance company don't want to insure me for more than a month here as I'm not "on holiday") OR scrapping a UK registered car in Switzerland without throwing good money after bad on formalities then please let me know.

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Old 03.09.2009, 10:43
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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I sorry this useful thread has gone off on a tangent rather and thank people for giving up their time and advice so far.
If anyone can tell me anything about either getting an old UK car insured in Switzerland (I just got here but my UK insurance company don't want to insure me for more than a month here as I'm not "on holiday") OR scrapping a UK registered car in Switzerland without throwing good money after bad on formalities then please let me know.

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Old 03.09.2009, 11:19
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

abs hebbard

It's "my" thread and it seems to be doing well after an unsteady start, no need to apologise and welcome.
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Old 03.09.2009, 14:35
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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Indeed subject to UK law, which means what you write is true but not complete.
I can agree with that. I guess it would be interesting to see what (or if) countries have by law when it comes to foreign vehicles driving on their roads. Is there a law in the UK for example that all foreign vehicles have to be valid in their respective countries when driving on their roads. Of course that is how it is supposed to be, but is it by law like it is for UK vehicles... it would be interesting in court... enforcing is difficult. How would a UK copper check Polish papers for example.

Anyway, whatever. That's one thing, but if you have UK insurance on a car that has no MOT/tax (or even marked as exported) then they may refuse outright to pay up if one is involved in an accident. Whatever the outcome, it doesn't sound like it's worth anyone's while and it's also not fair on the third-party if it was your fault.

If the car is valid in the UK then that's another story however as a resident you're supposed to have it registered locally within 12 months. Maybe the answer is to have the car in someone else's name--I know a few Germans here in Zurich who do that.
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Old 03.09.2009, 15:11
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

I have a question that is related to this.

Customs told me Swiss domiciled foreigners cannot drive rental cars from abroad into Switzerland. Is this correct? From the rules you have talked about, I am not quite certain whether this is correct, as the car would be insured by the rental company in the EU country and be legal there, etc.

This was a car from France, customs said we could not enter Switzerland with it! Any clarification would be useful, as it could avoid some of us breaking yet another rule!
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Old 03.09.2009, 16:09
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Re: Driving foreign registered cars in Switzerland - for Swiss domiciled persons

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It's "my" thread
And you are filling it with over-complicated nonsense and looking for loopholes to drive though, only a bean-counter could be so anal about this. It does not need reams of type or verbal diarrhea for something that is quite clear from the websites given, and is essentially a very simple task.... unless you chose to make it otherwise.
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