Tax and Import Duty

Importing a car from abroad? Find out the taxes you may have to pay, and the nature of the import duty...

No import duty will be charged on a vehicle owned for more than six months. A clearance request form (available from customs) must be completed.

A vehicle may be driven with its foreign licence plate for one year.

Cars and motorcycles imported from Europe may be brought in tax-free provided proof of origin can be presented.

The following taxes are due on an imported car owned for less than six months:

  • Customs duties: rate based on the weight and the engine capacity of the vehicle
  • Consumption tax: amounting to 4% of the car's worth
  • VAT (value added tax)
  • Fee: for the report (a document that is required in order to register the vehicle in Switzerland).

The Federal Customs Administration has more on automobile tax

Exemptions from import duty and VAT

  • Importing a car due to marriage
  • Importing a car for succession purposes
  • Importing a car to be used by a foreign diplomat

Cars imported from the United States

Cars imported from the United States must have the correct tyres adapted to the maximum authorised speed, shatter-proof windscreens, the speedometer must display kilometres per hour (Km/h) and headlights need to be adapted to suit European regulations.

Imported cars should have a catalytic converter fitted in order to reduce pollution.

Note: Most modern EU and US approved vehicles already meet this requirement.