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Switzerland – Buying or Importing a Car

Switzerland has a well-developed transportation system, and owning a car can be very convenient. If you are looking to buy a new or used car in Switzerland, or import a car from another country, there are certain procedures you need to follow. In this article, we will outline the process for buying or importing a car in Switzerland and provide information on selling a car.

Buying a New or Used Car in Switzerland

Finding a Car

You can find new or used cars for sale in Switzerland through car dealerships, private sales, or online marketplaces. The most popular online marketplace for buying cars in Switzerland is AutoScout24.

Inspecting the Car

Before purchasing a car, it is recommended to have it inspected by a mechanic to ensure that it is in good condition. In Switzerland, there are organizations that offer car inspections, such as the TCS (Touring Club Switzerland) and the Swiss Automobile Club (ACS).

Registering the Car


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Once you have purchased a car, you need to register it with the Swiss authorities. The registration process can be completed at your local vehicle registration office (Strassenverkehrsamt). You will need to provide the following documents:

  • Purchase agreement
  • Certificate of conformity (COC)
  • Vehicle inspection certificate (if required)
  • Proof of insurance

If you are a foreign national, you will also need to provide proof of residency in Switzerland, such as a rental contract or utility bill.

Paying Taxes

When you register your car, you will need to pay the Swiss value-added tax (VAT), which is currently 7.7%. If you are importing a car from another country, you will also need to pay customs duty and import tax.

Importing a Vehicle into Switzerland

Importing a vehicle in Switzerland can be a bit more complicated than buying one domestically. However, it is possible to import a vehicle and get it registered in Switzerland.

Requirements for Importing a Vehicle

Before importing a vehicle in Switzerland, there are several requirements that need to be met. First of all, the vehicle needs to meet Swiss standards and have a European Certificate of Conformity (COC). The COC certifies that the vehicle has been tested and meets European safety and environmental standards. If the vehicle does not have a COC, it will need to be tested to ensure it meets Swiss standards.

Another requirement for importing a vehicle in Switzerland is that the owner must be a resident of Switzerland. This means that the person importing the vehicle must have a valid Swiss residence permit or be a Swiss citizen. Additionally, the vehicle must be registered in the name of the person who is importing it.

Steps to Importing a Vehicle

Once the requirements have been met, there are several steps to follow when importing a vehicle in Switzerland:

  1. Obtain a customs clearance form: Before the vehicle can enter Switzerland, a customs clearance form must be obtained. This can be done at the Swiss border or at a Swiss customs office.

  2. Register the vehicle: After obtaining the customs clearance form, the vehicle must be registered with the Swiss road traffic authority (Strassenverkehrsamt). This can be done online or in person at a local Strassenverkehrsamt office.

  3. Pay any applicable taxes: Depending on the value of the vehicle, there may be taxes and fees that need to be paid. These include customs duties, VAT, and an import tax based on the value of the vehicle.

  4. Get the vehicle inspected: Once the vehicle is registered, it will need to be inspected to ensure that it meets Swiss safety and environmental standards. This inspection can be done at a garage authorized by the Strassenverkehrsamt.

  5. Get Swiss license plates: After the inspection, Swiss license plates can be obtained from the Strassenverkehrsamt. These plates must be displayed on the vehicle at all times.

Relevant Government Departments in Switzerland

Selling a Car in Switzerland

If you are selling a car in Switzerland, there are several pieces of paperwork that need to be completed. These include:

  • A transfer form (Umschreibungsauftrag) that needs to be signed by both the buyer and the seller.
  • The original registration certificate (Fahrzeugausweis) needs to be given to the buyer.
  • The seller needs to keep a copy of the transfer form for their records.

It is important to note that the seller is responsible for notifying the Strassenverkehrsamt that the vehicle has been sold. This can be done online or in person at a local Strassenverkehrsamt office.


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