The capital of Canton of Bern and the second most populous city in Switzerland, Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, it is known as the de facto capital of the country apart from being ranked among one of the top cities to enjoy the highest quality of life. With a well-planned transportation system and safe traffic regulations, as a U.S citizen, you won’t have much trouble getting your personal vehicle to Bern. Irrespective of whether you are here as a diplomat, student or on a work permit, importing your vehicle is easier when you work with a trusted auto shipping service like A1 Auto Transport Company.
There are no custom duties on vehicles belonging to U.S citizens that need to stay here on a long term basis or are here for a shorter duration. However, you can only bring in the car duty-free when you have owned the car for a minimum of 6 months and have proof about its purchase. And after you have got the customs clearance, you will need to register the vehicle in Bern at the FEDRO or Federal Roads Office.
For tourists/temporary stay.
If you are importing your vehicle duty-free for personal use, even as a tourist, you can do it without custom duty but the Swiss authorities will need:
- proof of residence abroad.
- vehicle/car ownership proof.
- identity proof/passport.
You will need to apply for duty free license plates at the custom authorities before you are declared eligible. However, there are some important documents that you will need to carry irrespective of whether you have to pay or not have to pay custom duties. These include:
- Original car title deed.
- Insurance documents and certificate.
- Social security card.
- Permits – travel/work.
- Bill of Lading.
In case you do not qualify for the free entry, the custom duty is about 4% of the total value of the car as calculated by the Swiss authorities. You might need to look up Swiss Customs Administration to get the latest on the regulations or we can help you with the calculation of the levies as per current rules.
There are two basic methods through which the vehicles are transported through ocean bound freight shipping. These are RORO and container shipping. It is cheaper to send by RORO as the car is driven on the deck and driven off at the port of delivery. However, if you ship through container shipping, your vehicle can be secured and the rest of the container can carry your personal goods that you need transported. It will be sealed and delivered at the Swiss port.
Driving in Switzerland.
You will need your International driver’s license for the first year and later if you stay on, you will need to apply for the local Bern driver’s license. For driving personal cars or vans, you need to be at least 18 years old but if you are going to drive a bus or commercial vehicles, you will have to be 21 years old. To get all the current details about importing and driving in Bern, you can contact the Embassy of Switzerland in USA.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.