Use of foreign private vehicles in Switzerland

The temporary use of foreign private vehicles by persons resident in Switzerland is prohibited in principle.

The temporary use of foreign private vehicles by persons resident in Switzerland is prohibited in principle. Concerning customs and road traffic legal notification obligations with regard to the use of foreign vehicles in Switzerland, experience shows that there is often uncertainty and confusion. There is even some false information being circulated in internet forums, for example. It is for this reason that we would like to provide information on the main principles.

People resident in Switzerland

In principle, people who are resident in Switzerland are not allowed to use a foreign vehicle registered abroad in Switzerland. This also applies to vehicles which relatives or acquaintances from abroad allow you to use occasionally, for example.  

There are special regulations for instance for vehicles which are occasionally privately hired abroad and for foreign company cars.  

Vehicles of immigrants, foreign workers, students and interns

When crossing the border, vehicles on which duty has not been paid must be declared for customs clearance spontaneously and without delay (principle of self-assessment).  

Immigrants may import and use their vehicles in Switzerland exempt from duty under certain conditions. Foreign workers, students and interns may use their foreign vehicles on which duty has not been paid in Switzerland. However, a customs permit is needed for this.


People who have not yet declared their vehicle to customs are requested to report to a customs office to declare their vehicle. Those who do not declare their vehicle for customs clearance will be liable to prosecution. In addition, a claim for payment of the import duties must be anticipated.  

Our opening hours and addresses

Please note the customs office opening hours for the declaration (customs clearance) of merchandise. Declarations can be made from Monday to Friday during clearance hours; some customs offices are also open on Saturday mornings.

The detailed opening hours are available in the list of customs offices.

Foreign customs administrations

We are not able to provide you with any information on foreign regulations. Please direct your query to the foreign customs authority.

Further information

Additional information can be obtained from the customs offices and District Directorates of Customs. For questions to do with vehicle registration and driving licences, the vehicle licensing offices should be contacted: