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Import Car in Switzerland

Car Import to Switzerland Guide

Importing Your Car to Switzerland? Car Shipping from the USA to Switzerland starts at a cost of $1,195 USD with an estimated turnaround time of 4-6 weeks, depending on the make and model of the car, the port of origin, and the method of shipment. Below, we explore everything you need to know about importing your car to Switzerland in our 2024 guide.

Are you ready to get started importing a car from the USA to Switzerland?

Request a free online quote – Quotes are available online with a guaranteed response within 24 hours for car import and moving services to Switzerland.

Please do not hesitate to call or email us anytime with any questions about car shipping to Switzerland. Contact our shipping experts for more information. We are always just a phone call away!

International & Domestic Coast-to-Coast

Want more information on car import services to Switzerland from the USA?

Read on below for our US to Switzerland Vehicle Importing Checklist, Vehicle Import Options, US to Switzerland Car Importing Costs & Time Frame, US to Switzerland Vehicle Importing Options, Ports Served in the US & Switzerland, and other details on our Switzerland vehicle import service.

Importing a Car to Switzerland: Checklist

Here’s a rough breakdown of the whole process you’ll need to go through to ship your car overseas to Switzerland.
  • Gather all necessary supporting documentation for importing your car to Switzerland, including:
    • Sales Contract / Bill of Sale
    • Original Car Title Certificate
    • Vehicle Registration Certificate (even if already canceled)
    • Electronic Customs Declaration (e-dec)
    • Proof Of Origin for any vehicles not imported from the EU
  • Gathering all the paperwork may take some time, so make sure you begin this process in good time before making the necessary arrangements to ship your car to Switzerland.
  • Understand the costs associated with importing a car to Switzerland, including:
    • Freight and insurance charges when importing your car
    • Wharf, transport, storage, and delivery charges after your car arrives
    • Duties, taxes, and fees, including import duties and annual Swiss road tax
    • Potential modification costs if required for your car to comply with Swiss vehicle regulations
    • Cleaning the undercarriage of your car of foreign soil
    • Registration and insurance requirements in the relevant Swiss State or Territory
    • A Swiss motorway vignette is mandatory if you wish to use your car on certain roads
    • The cost of vehicle registration, new license plates, and driver’s license exchange
    • Other importing costs such as import processing, customs brokers, and logistics service provider charges
  • Select an international car shipping company and preferred shipping method to transport your car from the United States to Switzerland and make the entire process as smooth as possible.
  • Determine your vehicle’s departure and destination ports
  • Confirm the vehicle’s undercarriage is clean and free of foreign soil and that all personal belongings have been removed from the car prior to the shipment process

More information on the process of importing a personal vehicle to Switzerland can be found here.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Vehicle Import Options

As you engage in the process of importing your car abroad to Switzerland, some of the most important questions to consider include:

  • Whether you plan to permanently keep the car in Switzerland or if it’s just a temporary move,
  • Whether you plan to permanently keep the car in Switzerland or if it’s just a temporary move,
  • Whether you’re importing a new or used car.

These questions and more will determine whether your car is eligible for import to Switzerland. Your actual tax rate is also based on these details.

When importing cars, you should never assume your international shipping scenario is the same as someone else’s. The eligibility requirements for importing used cars may differ from those for importing new cars into Switzerland.

To obtain an estimate of the cost of importing a car to Switzerland, fill out our free quick quote form.

Vehicle Import Approval

Upon arrival of your car shipment in Switzerland, the vehicle must be declared in Customs.

You’ll need the following documentation:

  • Vehicle Registration Certificate or License Certificate;
  • Invoice or Purchase Contract, if there has been a sale;
  • Certificate of Compliance with Swiss standards
  • Proof of the vehicle’s origin
  • Technical data from your car (such as the car manual)
  • Proof of Identity (such as Passport or Identity Card)

Things to Consider

  • All vehicles shipped to Switzerland must comply with all the legal and technical requirements stipulated by the Swiss government.
  • You must register your car in Switzerland within one year of its import.
  • Auto liability insurance is mandatory for vehicles within Switzerland. Valid insurance must be obtained before receiving car authorization from the driver and vehicle licensing office. Auto liability insurance will cover damage caused to third-party vehicles, people, or property by your car.

Importing a Car to Switzerland: Costs & Time Frame

Using a baseline of a compact car being shipped using the roll-on/roll-off method from the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Basel, our estimate for Car Import from USA to Switzerland starts at a cost of $1,195 USD.

However, the shipping rates for importing a car to Switzerland can vary according to factors such as the model and make of your car, your current location, the nearest departure port in the USA, your shipping method of choice, availability of your chosen services, your destination port, and your final destination. Additionally, you’ll need to consider costs related to importing cars, such as storage, cleaning, other vendor fees, and Swiss taxes & duties.

An estimated timeframe to ship a car to Switzerland measures the duration of a port-to-port service. Typically, the timeframe to ship a car to Switzerland from the USA will take between 4-6 weeks, depending on which port the car shipment is originally sailing from, which port it will be arriving in, and the chosen method of car transport service. Transit times may vary and will depend upon all the required documents being submitted to us in a timely manner, the car being prepared to depart, and whether all other vehicles to fill the container have been secured.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to ship a car to Switzerland, fill out ourfree quick quote form.

Taxes & Duties for Importing a Car to Switzerland

Prior to importing a car to Switzerland from the USA, verify your vehicle’s specifications and compliance with Swiss requirements.

If you are importing a car to Switzerland from the USA, your car will be subject to local customs duties as well as a value-added tax or VAT of 7.7% levied by the Swiss government.

However, in certain circumstances, you might be able to gain exemption from paying customs duties and taxes when importing a car to Switzerland:

  • Suppose you are bringing your car or motorcycle into Switzerland on a temporary basis. In that case, you will need to apply to the local Swiss Customs Authorities for duty-free customs plates, after which you will be able to import your car duty-free.
  • US citizens who are moving to Switzerland from the USA and importing a car when they relocate may import the car as part of their personal effects so long as they have been the owners for over 6 months.
  • If you do import a car to Switzerland duty-free, you will be liable to pay duty if you sell the car within one year of moving to Switzerland.

The amount of taxes and import duties payable when importing a car to Switzerland from the US will vary and depend on your car shipment details.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Importing a Car to Switzerland: Options

Car Import from USA to Switzerland can be performed using a shared container, a sole container, or a roll-on/roll-off service. You must find the best solution to meet your individual car transport needs.


Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) – Vehicles are loaded onto a ship that contains a cargo area built like a very big parking garage. This international car shipping option tends to be cheaper as, other than the shipping charge, you are required to pay only port charges and customs clearance charges.

Transit times tend to be quicker than with the shared container service as the vessels sail weekly.


Shared container service – This method for car import to Switzerland requires multiple vehicles to be loaded into one shipping container. While there are more fees involved in importing a car from the USA to Switzerland with shared container service than with the roll-on/roll-off shipping method, due to the fact that the container must be processed, these charges are shared between the various clients who are using the container. Such fees include a trucking charge, terminal handling charge, customs clearance, and a charge for unloading the vehicles at a bonded warehouse.

One disadvantage is that you might face a longer wait before your vehicle departs, as the container must have a full load of car shipments before import to Switzerland.


Full container load – You have the added benefit of a fully enclosed container, just like our shared container service, but the 20 ft container is dedicated solely to your vehicle. Since there’s no wait for other cars to be loaded, you’ll enjoy a shorter wait before departure. However, additional terminal handling fees and other charges won’t be shared with other vehicle owners.

Our most selective customers prefer the high level of safety and expediency offered when importing cars with dedicated container shipping. When your vehicle is received, we’ll photograph and document the vehicle’s condition as well as the loading process. Your vehicle will be loaded using our modern steel loading system, which is not only environmentally friendly but doesn’t rely on outdated wood ramps and nails that other shipping companies use, which can damage your vehicle.

After your car is loaded onto your own private container, it is locked and secured. This will ensure no one gains access to your car before reaching its final destination. Since the vehicle is fully enclosed in a secure container, we invite our clients to pack and transport other items inside the vehicle. However, everything must be loaded securely, as we won’t be responsible for loss or damage of any kind.

Once your vehicle reaches its destination in Switzerland, our agent will unlock the container, document the vehicle’s condition, and photograph the entire unloading process. Every step of the import process is not only handled carefully but documented for your peace of mind.

Compared to our roll-on/roll-off shipping option, enclosed container shipping is not only more secure when importing to Switzerland, but much faster due to frequent departures each week.

Additional Services


Sourcing vehicles – Overseas clients who wish to buy a vehicle can turn to our long list of car buyers developed in our nearly thirty years in the auto industry, who can find and purchase vehicles for an additional fee or commission.


Other services – Some of the auto transport services we offer in overseas territories include domestic pickup, vehicle import assistance, tracking of your shipment, customs clearance in the USA and a full vehicle inspection report.

Ports Served in the Switzerland

Departure Ports – United States

The location your vehicle will depart from depends on the method of car shipping to Switzerland, where your vehicle is located, your budget, and which services the nearest port offers. We have multiple departure locations from which we can ship cars from the USA, including Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami, Savannah, and more.

Destination Terminals – Switzerland

Here are the entry terminals in Switzerland that we can ship a car to.

  • Zurich
  • Geneva
  • Basel
  • Bern
  • Lausanne
  • Lucerne
  • Bremerhaven, Germany
    (Many clients bring in here with final destination within Switzerland)
  • Rotterdam, Germany
    (Many clients bring in here with final destination within Switzerland)

Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Undercarriage

Before import to Switzerland, the undercarriage of your car must be cleaned and free of foreign soil to prevent the introduction of invasive plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms. This can be accomplished through steam cleaning or other thorough cleaning methods.

CFR Classic can assist with finding an appropriate cleaner to help ensure you comply with this requirement before car import to Switzerland. We do not recommend washing the interior of the vehicle as it can cause mold during transport. Vacuuming the interior is usually more than sufficient prior to car transport.

Plating Your Vehicle in Switzerland

Upon the successful transport of your vehicle to Switzerland, you must obtain a vehicle registration certificate, Swiss number plates, and third-party liability insurance.

You must register your imported car with the appropriate Road Traffic Office for your canton.

Whether registering a new or used car in Switzerland, you must present the following documentation to fulfil custom regulations

  • Proof of Identity (such as Passport or Identity Card)
  • Vehicle Registration Certificate (for used cars only)
  • Proof of activity in Switzerland (such as a work contract, confirmation of place of residence)
  • Business owners must present a copy of entry into the commercial register or confirmation of self-employed activity from the social insurance institute
  • Proof of third-party liability insurance
  • Inspection report form 13.20A (for brand new vehicles only)
  • VAT Certificate from the customs office
  • EU Certificate of Conformity

If your imported car is over 10 years old, it must undergo a technical test prior to registration in Switzerland. The completed inspection report will remain valid for one year.

US citizens are able to use their national driver’s license for the first 12 months of their stay in Switzerland. After this time, they must apply for a Swiss driving license. You will require an eye test from a certified Swiss optician in order to exchange your driver’s license. Foreign license plates may also be used for a maximum of one year upon import into Switzerland.

Other Switzerland/US Shipping Options

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

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