Car translations Switzerland

Many people choose to import a car from Switzerland because cars in very good condition are found there. This is due not only to the sensational condition of Swiss roads, but also to the Swiss people’s extrastandard care for the vehicles they drive.

Before deciding to go to Switzerland, we recommend looking for a car via classifieds sites.

For this you can use , the Swiss equivalent of our Allegro, or other services such as .

If you are able to spend more time in Switzerland, it is worth visiting the nearby commissaries. Chances are that this is how you will find something interesting, as not all cars for sale can be found online.

What should you know before going to Switzerland?
When crossing the Swiss border, you do not need to worry about your passport. Switzerland, although not a member of the European Union, is in the Schengen area, so having an identity card is sufficient.

When buying a car you need to take care first and foremost:

  • Documentary proof of purchase, e.g. bilingual purchase-sale agreement or invoice
  • Swiss vehicle registration certificate, the so-called Fahrzeugausweis

NOTES: Take care of the sales contract, as there may be problems with registering the car when you return to Poland. It is best to prepare the contract in advance in German, French or Italian – depending on the area where you will be buying the car. If you want to save money on re-translation, you could try asking for a Polish version of the contract to be signed, or preparing a bilingual contract.

What is an MKF?
MKF, or Motorfahrzeugkontrolle, is a Swiss technical inspection. You need to know that Swiss cars are mostly in very good technical condition precisely because of the country’s restrictive technical inspection that every car must pass. For an MFK examination in Switzerland, you pay between CHF 100 and 150. During the inspection, the cars are thoroughly checked from a technical point of view with particular attention paid to cleanliness (especially of the engine and chassis). This gives you the added assurance that your purchase will bring you satisfaction.

Where to arrange the paperwork?
If you decide to return the car to the country, you will need to go to the Service des automobiles (the equivalent of our motor vehicle department) with the purchase-sale contract. There you buy export plates, the so-called Kontrollschilder with a red stripe, and insurance. These plates are accompanied by a new temporary registration certificate (Befristerter Frahrzeugausweis), also with a red stripe, where the details of the vehicle and the new owner are entered.

What is the cost of export plates and insurance?
In Switzerland, the price of insurance and tax depends on the day of the month when you take it out.

Tax is calculated in proportion to the number of days in a month, while insurance has three rates:

  • If you redeem them from the 1st to the 15th of the month, you will pay 170 Swiss francs
  • from 16 to the end of the month 80 francs
  • if you apply 4 days before the end of the month you will pay 190 francs and the insurance will be issued for 35 days.

The maximum tax is approximately 50 francs. The plates cost 45 francs and the temporary proof costs 70. The prices quoted are valid in the Canton of Bern, so if you decide to buy in other cantons, prices may vary minimally.

Form EUR-1
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, so you will need to download and complete a EUR-1 (movement certificate) and SAD form at your local customs office.

The SAD (Single Administrative Document) is the document in which the relevant customs declaration is made for the transport of goods from countries outside the European Union.

A car purchased in Switzerland must pass customs clearance. The duty rate is zero if the car was manufactured in the EU and we have a EUR1 document. If we do not own a non-European car or lack the relevant document, then such a car then has to pay 10 % duty. In both cases, we must also pay VAT.
It is worth considering customs clearance in Germany.

This gives you the chance to avoid overestimating the value of the car, which is one of the frequent practices of Polish customs officials, and thus increasing the amount of excise duty.

You can have your car cleared by crossing the Swiss-German border in Basel, at the Customs building at the border crossing using the Customs Agency. You will pay €40 to have the papers signed out.

How to save by taking your car away?
If you want to avoid paying the 10% duty, we recommend looking for cars manufactured within the EU.

Check that the car has a EUR-1 certificate of origin. For customs officials, this is proof that the vehicle was manufactured in the EU , which exempts you from a 10% duty when bringing it into the Union.
This kind of ruling should be arranged for you by a Swiss seller. If you are buying a car from a private individual, the matter of arranging the certificate remains in your hands.

You can also request a duplicate or confirmation from the car manufacturer (e.g. the Audi representative in Switzerland), quoting the body number.

Upon return from Switzerland, the assistance of a sworn translator will be required.

As an applicant, in order to register a car imported from Switzerland, you must submit a set of the necessary documents and the vehicle registration documents together with a certified translation to the transport department.

Remember to photocopy all document translations.

Before visiting Customs, it is essential that you arrange for a technical inspection, of your car. To do this, go to the nearest vehicle inspection station.

The technical inspection will enable you to obtain two very important documents: the technical inspection certificate and the Vehicle Identification Document.

Once you have the documents from the technical inspection behind you, you also take the purchase contract, the temporary registration certificate and the customs documents from the German border, as well as the certified translations into Polish, and go to the Customs Office. There you will submit the required AKC-U declaration. You have five days from the date of purchase of the vehicle to do so. To do this, you visit the customs office responsible for your place of residence.

You can find the correct Customs Office for your place of residence on the website of the Ministry of Finance. You must also make a payment of the calculated excise duty to the bank account of the relevant Customs Chamber, and pay a fee for the excise duty payment certificate.

How much is the excise duty?
The excise duty is affected by the engine capacity of your vehicle.

If the vehicle has an engine with a capacity of :

  • up to 2000 cc , the excise duty will be 3.1% of the vehicle price
  • over 2000 cc , the excise duty will be as much as 18.6% of the vehicle price

The waiting time for a certificate is not always the same. Sometimes you’ll get them straight away, other times you’ll have to wait a few days.

What documents should be provided?

  • the completed AKC-U declaration
  • a completed application to the Head of the Customs Office for the issue of a document confirming payment of excise duty
  • proof of payment of stamp duty. – a document confirming payment of excise duty is also an expense of PLN 17.
  • car purchase document (sales contract, invoice)
  • vehicle identification document issued in an EU Member State (registration certificate, vehicle card or other)
  • technical inspection certificate
  • translations of all documents, including copies.

Once you have managed to obtain confirmation of payment of the excise duty, the next place you need to go to is the tax office responsible for your place of residence. Deal with VAT formalities here. You need to know that you are not obliged to pay VAT when you purchase a car abroad. A visit to the office is necessary because you must obtain a VAT exemption document. To this end, you complete and submit a VAT – 24 application to the office, and pay the amount of PLN 160 to the office’s account.

You have 14 days from the purchase of the vehicle to complete the paperwork at the Tax Office.

What do I need to attach to the VAT -24 application ?

  • Originals and photocopies of previously translated car documents
  • Proof of payment

If you want to register your car, you must pay the mandatory recycling fee. To obtain the required certificate, you pay a recycling fee of PLN 500 to the National Environmental Protection Fund.

When ordering the transfer, you must be sure to include the model and make of the vehicle in the title of the transfer, and include the description: “recycling fee”, as well as the VIN or body, chassis or frame number of the vehicle.

In order to register a car at the Motor Vehicles Department, you bring all the documents you have collected so far, also enclosing translations and copies. Don’t forget to bring your completed car registration application with you. You will have to surrender the documents you have on site, receiving your registration certificate, plates and window sticker in return.

The cost of registering an imported car is an expense of PLN 256.

How much in total can I pay to import a car from Switzerland?
Here is an example breakdown of the charges incurred directly in Switzerland, Germany and Poland.

Fees in Switzerland:

  • CHF 80 – insurance fee from the 16th of the month
  • CHF 13 – tax from the 22nd of the month
  • 45 CHF – plates
  • CHF 70 – temporary ID

Fees in Germany:

  • 19% – VAT
  • 10% – duty

Charges incurred in Poland:

  • 190 PLN – cost of technical examination
  • 3.1% or 18.6% – excise duty
  • 17 PLN – fee for issuing a certificate of payment of excise duty
  • 30 PLN – customs agency for filling in the excise duty form
  • 500 PLN – recycling fee
  • PLN 250 – car registration fee

Once you have registered your car, don’t forget to visit your insurer and take out third party insurance.

Once all the formalities mentioned in the article have been taken care of, you can fully enjoy your imported car!


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