Would you like to import a vehicle from Switzerland to Germany? With the help of our "Auto Import Germany" checklist, this is no problem. This guide will take you by the hand during import and will tell you the individual points in a comprehensible way. We address all the steps that need to be taken, from purchase to customs clearance to approval. With this guide you will not only learn the individual processes, but we also have some tips on how to save money.
Now directly to the tax calculator Auto Import to Germany
Buying a vehicle abroad (preparation for Auto Import Germany)
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying the vehicle abroad. If you are flexible here and use the right tricks, you can save money later. At first glance, some offers seem lucrative, but on closer inspection you can import an even better car for less money.
Choice of vehicle / Cost comparison
There are now many platforms on the Internet through which you can find attractive offers for a vehicle. Two platforms for used and new vehicles are e.B. www.mobile.de and www.autoscout24.ch if you want to buy the vehicle in Switzerland. If the desired vehicle is not available in Germany, it can be worthwhile if you are looking abroad. There you may find exactly the vehicle model, which is not or no longer available on the market in Germany.
At first glance, the vehicles in Switzerland are also cheaper than in Germany, as they are not in demand on the local market. Unfortunately, however, the purchase price alone is not yet done. Please keep in mind that in principle about 30% import duties are added to the purchase price. This consists of 19% VAT and 10% customs duties. However, the duties are also taxed again, so that about 30% is good as a guideline. In addition, there are costs for the TÜV inspection, the environmental badge, the (multiple) arrival, the transport and, if necessary, export license plates. If you add all this together, the offer doesn't look quite as rosy as initially thought.
Choice of seller / VAT refund
When you're on online automotive platforms, thousands of deals are waiting for you. But which seller and which offer should you choose here? Does it really matter if the car is sold by a dealer or is it not also done by a trusted private person?
Yes, it can play a role – depending on the individual case – because here you can save money. Relatively young, second-hand vehicles in particular are often sold by dealers subject to VAT. These are e.B. demonstration cars, rental vehicles, leasing returners, company cars, etc. If you see in the vehicle tender that the "VAT is deductible" or the offer is "incl. 7.7% VAT", then you can later get a refund of the Swiss VAT.
So if you bought a car for CHF 10,500 from a private individual, you would not be refunded any tax, as you did not pay Swiss tax either. If you bought the same car from a VAT-required dealer for 10,770 CHF, you would get a refund of 770 CHF. Even if the car is more expensive at first glance, you are generally cheaper. Please note, however, that you will not receive VAT back from merchants who do not show VAT. This is due to the fact that this is a special case (not taxable).
Export of the vehicle (import car from Switzerland)
There are a number of things that need to be taken into account when preparing for the transfer. Here you should take a close look so that you do not have any problems later on in customs clearance and in the case of a police check.
Preparation of the Swiss Export Declaration (e-dec)
Before you can import the vehicle purchased in Switzerland into Germany, you must first export it from Switzerland. For this purpose, a so-called electronic export declaration must be drawn up. We are happy to create these for you. Once the export clearance has been issued by the customs office, the vehicle may be exported from Germany.
Export labels and insurance
In order to transport the vehicle on its own axle, it must be marked with a number plate. However, it is not allowed to use a German control plate. It must therefore be a special Swiss export label. You can get this for payment directly from the cantonal road traffic office in Switzerland at the place of the seller of the vehicle. For this, insurance must also be taken out in advance. Thus, you and other road users are adequately protected in the event of an accident. Depending on the canton and insurance, the cost of the export license plate is approx. 250-350 CHF.
Alternatively, the vehicle can also be transferred with the seller's regular Swiss registration number as long as the driver has insurance cover.
Another alternative is the transfer without license plates and insurance, e.B. on a trailer or on a car transpoter. If you would like an offer, please contact us.
COC / EC Certificate of Conformity
When purchasing the vehicle, you should usually receive the original COC paper from the dealer. COC stands for Certificate of Conformity = EC Certificate of Conformity. You will need this document later in order to be able to enter the vehicle in Germany. If the document is no longer available, you can order it directly from the manufacturer. Alternatively, there is also the possibility to redeem the vehicle without COC. However, this requires other documents and information. You can find out more directly from the registration office in Germany, which is responsible for you.
Import of the vehicle (Auto Import Germany)
When importing the vehicle, you will be charged the cost of import duties and the cost of the customs agent's service. Below we have compiled the formula for you.
Import Duty Calculation – Auto Import Germany Cost Calculator
Depending on the vehicle, customs duties are initially payable. These are now 10% of the purchase price of the vehicle. Customs duties are then taxed at 19% german VAT. The notional freight costs are also taxed with VAT. For example, it is assumed that you (e.B. even if you transport the vehicle yourself) had at least 50-150 EUR transport costs.
In addition to the duties, 19% import sales tax is added to the vehicle value or purchase price. With a vehicle price of 11,000 CHF = equivalent to approx. 10,225 EUR, 1022.50 EUR customs duties would be incurred.
Customs duties and notional freight costs as well as vehicle value will then be charged a total of 19% VAT. For the above value, this would be EUR 1,022.50 in customs duties + EUR 150 fictitious freight costs + EUR 10,225 vehicle value = EUR 11,397.50 x 19% VAT = EUR 2165.53. The total import duties would therefore be EUR 1022.50 in customs duties + EUR 2165.53 VAT = EUR 3188.03
Here is another calculation example: The purchase price of a vehicle is 22,000 CHF. Converted into EUR, this would be around EUR 20,450. Of which 10% customs duties = EUR 2,045 + fictitious freight costs EUR 150, gives a VAT value of = 22,645 EUR. Plus 19% VAT on the VAT value of EUR 22,645 = EUR 4,302.55. The total import duties are therefore EUR 4,302.55 VAT + EUR 2045 customs duties = EUR 6347.55.
Import customs clearance
We are happy to pay the import duty for you. For this purpose, we use a special customs software, which is directly connected to the customs system.
Registration of the vehicle
Before you can enter/redeem the vehicle, you must have paid the import duties. You can then make an appointment with the TÜV and the registration office. There you will then have to present the safety certificate, which we have prepared for you with the import duty.
TÜV after the car import Germany
In order to be able to register the vehicle in Germany, you must always have a complete acceptance test carried out by tüv. After the vehicle is fit for traffic, you will receive the new license plates.
Frequently asked questions about Auto Import Germany
Below we have listed and answered the most frequently asked questions. If you have any questions, you can also contact us at any time. We will be happy to discuss your individual case.
What documents are required for car import to Germany?
In order for us to create customs documents for your vehicle, we need as much information as possible, in advance by e-mail. These are documents relating to the vehicle itself + to the purchase or vehicle value and, on the other hand, information on the transfer. Please send us your request, if already available:
- Scan of the Swiss "vehicle ID"
- Scan of the invoice or the purchase contract
- if available: Payment confirmation / receipt
- if available: value report, e.B. EUROTAX vehicle evaluation
- if available: List of defects of the vehicle
In addition, we need to know when you are likely to want to cross the border, what limit you would like to cross and what number plate the vehicle will have for the overpass, if you already know it. Depending on whether or not you can prove the origin of the vehicle, we also need a manufacturer's declaration of preferential origin or the original importation customs receipt ("assessment order"). More on this under point 5.8: My vehicle was manufactured in the EU, do I still have to pay customs duties?
How much does customs clearance cost for car import to Germany?
In addition to the above-mentioned import duties and the costs of transport, approval, the environmental badge, the TÜV approval and the arrival, there are costs for the payment of customs clearance. If we are allowed to import your vehicle from Switzerland to Germany, we usually charge 140 EUR / 150 CHF. This consists of EUR 80 for Swiss exports and EUR 60 for imports (including the preparation of the safety certificate).
If you import several vehicles at the same time or regularly, we can accommodate you in terms of price.
Can I give my car to Germany?
You can also give your car away to Germany. In such a case, however, electronic customs clearance is still required. Instead of the vehicle purchase price, the time value of the vehicle is taxed and taxed in this case. For this purpose, we encourage you to create a so-called EUROTAX assessment. You can create these online for 11 CHF directly (for creation). The EUROTAX assessment shall be recognised by customs as a value report, provided that the information contained therein is true. In addition, it is advisable to draw up a list of actual defects of the vehicle. In this way, the vehicle value can still be adjusted downwards.
What is the process of drawing up customs documents for car importto Germany?
As a rule, our customers send us the documents available to them in advance by e-mail to us for further examination. As many and as accurate information as possible should already be provided in order to avoid a delay in time-critical transfers. After the documents have been checked and are fully + compliant, we will coordinate the further process and confirm the order. You will then receive the customs documents for printing yourself, depending on your wishes, or you will receive the address of our handling partner at the border of your choice. There you can then receive the documents in printed form. In addition, we always send a step-by-step guide to the process at the border by e-mail.
How long does it take to process on site and what is the process?
Depending on whether you want to print the documents yourself or pick them up at the border, the time will vary by a few minutes. In total, however, you should usually be able to complete the entire customs clearance within about 10-20 minutes (depending on how much is going on at the customs office on that day). The exact procedure as a step-by-step guide will be sent to you by e-mail after the documents have been completed. The procedure in short form is as follows:
- Bring original documents (vehicle ID, etc.)
- Parking at the agreed limit (truck parking)
- pick up documents at our office on foot
- Export of the vehicle (Swiss Customs Office)
- Imports of the vehicle (German customs office)
- Payment of import duties (cash)
- Crossing the border (truck lock)
When do I have to pay the import duties and the service?
Import duties must always be paid directly at the time of crossing the border at the German Customs. You can also pay by card for up to €2,000. Otherwise, payment is only possible (in EUR) with cash.
You can pay the costs for customs clearance by us within one week after the invoicing (i.e. after completion of customs clearance) by bank transfer to our German bank account.
How much lead time is required to create the documents?
Depending on how complex your case is, it can be created within about 1-2 hours. However, it would be better to send us the documents as early as possible. Together, we have plenty of time to request any further documents, for example to save on customs duties. In addition, you can avoid waiting times at the border. Ideally, we would need all documents about 1 week in advance to enable smooth and fast customs clearance at the border.
My vehicle was made in the EU. Do I still have to pay customs duties?
In order for a vehicle manufactured in the EU to be re-exported duty-free to Germany or to another EU country, it needs some proof of preferential origin. We can then draw up a movement certificate EUR.1.
EUR.1 must be certified at a competent Swiss customs office of export within the opening hours when exporting the car.
In order for the movement certificate to be certified, the vehicle must have already been imported from the EU to Switzerland with proof of origin. Therefore, a confirmation from the Swiss general importer must be requested, indicating that the vehicle has already been imported into Switzerland as a preferential product of origin. If it is an Occasions vehicle (a used car), the origin can also be proven with a manufacturer's declaration from the EU manufacturer's plant.
In addition, an export declaration must be drawn up for the export vehicle and a copy of the vehicle's identification office must be presented to the customs office of export.
If you have any questions, we are happy to send you a sample from a previous case to a valid manufacturer's certificate. Please note, however, that the following vehicle manufacturers no longer issuing supplier declarations for used passenger cars:
- Volkswagen (does not produce certificates or only to own PartnerCenter)
- Porsche (no longer produces certificates in principle)
- Audi (no longer produces certificates)
- Mercedes-Benz (creates documents not older than 5 years for passenger cars only)
Other vehicle brands would have to be individually tested.
I inherited a vehicle from Switzerland, what do I have to do?
If you have inherited a vehicle from Switzerland, special documentation is required. Subsequently, the import can be completely duty-free. The only cost of the customs clearance service would therefore be incurred. In some cases, it is also possible to submit the documents if they are not yet available. A security would then have to be deposited with German customs in the amount of any duties that might arise.
In addition to the vehicle documents, we also need the following documents for the exemption from import duties:
- Will, if available (must be signed in the original)
- List of the total estate to be transferred, including the weight and number of packages and the value
- Value assessment of the vehicle (so-called EUROTAX assessment)
- Certificate of inheritance, if it is already available
What if I want to import my own car from Switzerland to Germany?
If you want to transfer your own vehicle from Switzerland to Germany, you must first distinguish why you want to export the vehicle from Switzerland to Germany:
- Do you want to emigrate from Switzerland to Germany or return to Germany?
- Does your residence remain in Switzerland or do you not yet have the vehicle in your possession for 6 months?
If you were in possession of the vehicle for more than 6 months at the time of the move and you are already in your vehicle ID card, importing to Germany may be completely tax-free. In such a case, however, you would also have to officially deregister your Swiss residence and register your residence in Germany. Otherwise, the "normal" import duties would be due: 10% customs duties and 19% VAT.
I would like to introduce a Swiss vehicle to Germany that is already in Germany, how does that work?
Article 79 of the UCC (Union Customs Code) should have had the vehicle duty-paid before it was brought to Germany, provided that the sale was planned. Even if the vehicle owner now spontaneously receives a good offer for the purchase of the vehicle, this does not exempt from the obligation to pay prior customs clearance. In this case, you would have to check individually with the customs office, which is in germany for the place where the vehicle is currently located in Germany, whether customs clearance is possible. In the worst case, it would be necessary to return the vehicle to the limit. The normal process of outing and importing would then have to be carried out there. If we get the consent from the German inland customs office that the import is accepted, we can gladly take over the import duty clearance for you.
What procedure should be used if I want to have a Swiss vehicle repaired in Germany and then bring it back to Switzerland?
In this case, the inward processing procedure must be applied. Please contact us as the costs and the procedure depend on the individual case.
We are a German company and would like to import a vehicle from Switzerland. Are there any special features to consider?
In addition to the above-mentioned procedure, your company must have a so-called EORI number. This is a number that you must apply for once in order to be registered in the German customs and European Union system. We are happy to assist you in applying for the EORI number.
What should i do if I want to import a vehicle from Switzerland to an EU country that does not border Switzerland, e.B. Czech Republic, Spain, etc.?
If you want to import a vehicle into an EU country that does not border Switzerland, there are two options:
- Exports from Switzerland and customs clearance to the EU via Germany, thus 10% customs duties and 19% German VAT are charged. Cost = 140 EUR / 150 CHF+ approx. 30% taxes. Admission is possible in the EU country with the German tax notice.
- Preparation of the Swiss export and a transit document T1 to the country of destination. There, a local customs agency carries out customs clearance of imports, see also point 5.18 of this Article. Costs = 140 EUR / 150 CHF + at least 32% levies + costs for the foreign customs agency approx. 100 EUR + deposit of a cash security with us over 30% of the vehicle value.
Would you like to talk to us about your individual case? Please call us or send us an e-mail: to the contact details
How does Auto Import from Switzerland to Austria work?
The car import from Switzerland to Austria works similarly to the auto import Germany. Instead of 10% customs duties and 19% VAT, however, 10% customs duties and 20% Austrian VAT are charged. We are happy to prepare the Swiss export declaration for you and to carry out the Austrian import customs clearance. The cost of the customs clearance service is the same as the cost of importing into Germany.
How much does the car import from Switzerland to Italy cost and what do I have to do?
Would you like to export a vehicle from Switzerland to Italy? In order for us to be able to carry out customs clearance, we need the personal tax number of the recipient in Italy, the so-called "Codice Fiscale", in addition to the regular information and documents. We also need a written authorisation from the Italian buyer on a form. Finally, customs would like to scan the buyer's identity card. Since we have to prepare additional documents (T1 document) when we import to Italy and the total effort is greater (approval by the Italian customs office), the total handling costs are 250 EUR or 275 CHF. In addition, there are Italian import duties: 10% customs duties and 22% VAT. If you have any questions, please contact us so that we can discuss the further details with you.
Can I declare auto import from Switzerland to France myself?
In some cases, it is possible to import the vehicle to France completely independently. For example, the customs office at the Basel-St. Louis border has installed special terminals so that you can carry out the customs clearance on your own. For further information, please contact the Basel St Louis Customs Office by telephone: +41 58 469 65 00
I am going to export a vehicle from Switzerland to a non-EU country, e.B. to Serbia, Northern Macedonia, etc. – how does this work?
In such a case, a Swiss export declaration and a transit document T1 must be prepared for the vehicle. This allows the vehicle to pass duty-free in transit through the individual countries to the country of destination or to the EU external border. A customs agency at the EU external border may need to create a connection T1. In the country of destination, a local customs agency carries out customs clearance.
In order to be able to produce the export and the T1, we need the following information in addition to the information and documents mentioned above in this article, which we also need for Auto Import Germany:
- Customs office of exit from Switzerland
- Description of the route incl. indication of the means of transport
- Number plate of means of transport or vehicle
- Customs of destination at the EU external border
- Country of destination + address of the recipient in the destination country
The cost of creating the transit document is 140 EUR / 150 CHF. In addition, there are the costs incurred by the foreign customs agency at the local customs office of destination, which you have to commission yourself. Import duties of the country of destination are also levied. Please understand that we can only create T1 Transit documents for private customers if we have a security deposit above 30% of the vehicle value. This is due to the fact that we ourselves have also deposited a guarantee with Swiss customs. If the T1 document is not properly processed at the customs office of destination, regular import duties plus a customs fine will be charged. However, if the customs agent has carried out the work on site, you will be sent back the security.