Import - France to CH (my experience - more recent than 'stickied' post) - 2023

Over a month ago, I asked the forum about keeping a French plate while living in Switzerland. Answer: not a good idea.

So I went ahead and bought a rust wagon, a Toyota Hilux, in France.

Interesting to note: I forced the seller to get a "control technique" in France, which it obviously failed - this is NOT necessary.

You can buy a piece of junk that is not road worthy and still import it, you just need the "carte grise" - which is basically the car's identity paper and it proves ownership of the seller.

So with my crap car, and carte grise - I paid a website for one day of insurance to be allowed to drive it (no one checks that, but I also don't want to be uninsured in a car crash, so for my own peace of mind - you don't need this for the import)

I drove it across the border in Switzerland. There I went to the SWISS side - NO NEED to go to the French side. There is some "export/import office" in the same building as the SWISS border guards, which is a private company that helps you do all the paper work - make sure to show up before 17:30 even if the border office closes at 18:00...

Go there, paid all the taxes etc... For about EUR 4.5k of car value I paid about EUR 1k in taxes and fees all in.

Private company needed: sales contract (a piece of paper I wrote myself with a signature from the gipsy who sold it to me), carte grise, my Swiss driver's license, my permis B, and my money (bring cash just in case, their terminal was a bit slow, I ended up doing a bank transfer and the two young kids who were running the office were super nice and accommodating, I'll definitely use them again in the future).

Then with the paperwork, I take it down to the Swiss border guards, they complained that it's unbelievable I show up 5 minutes to the close, and that for an import they need a lot of time etc... They won't have the time blah blah, but they ended up doing it anyways. They check all the paperwork - look at the sale contract - tell me I am nuts to be buying such a crap car like this. We have a laugh and they give me my form 13.20A which is proof of custom clearance.

Then I wait in the mail from the licensing office and 3 days later I get a letter telling I need to have the car pass the control technique within a month. So technically, even though the car is not road worthy, I can actually drive it with insurance with the French plates for a month. I didn't get my shit together on time - fear note they said: on the last day of the month you need to:

1. give them the French plates

2. the carte grise

3. and promise that I will leave it parked on a private road or property and not drive it

I call on the day I am due to do all of that, and ask them which office I need to go to, they tell me not to sweat, they automatically extended the deadline to the end of the month. I immediately go ahead and book the control technique (THIS IS THE ISSUE, THEY ARE SUPER BOOKED - SO BOOK THAT AS SOON AS YOU GET YOUR CAR IMPORTED).

I have my control technique at the end of the month, so now I just need to pass... I also need to bring a "certificat to conformite Europeen" - it's basically a piece of paper by the car manufacturer that tells you what your car is. Remember above, I bought it from a gipsy, no way he had that certificate with the car. I call a Toyota dealership in France, they tell me to get lost, they won't do it. I call a Toyota dealership in Geneva, she tells me it will cost me an arm and a leg if they do it for me - and that she HIGHLY suggests I figure out how to do it independently. Plenty of online companies offer to do this for you - DO NOT PAY THOSE COMPANIES. I ended up calling Toyota's headquarters in France, there the lady told me an awful story about someone who paid 500 euros online and obviously scammed. Here I just had to post a cheque in the mail for 150 euros (I know, a cheque, really, in 2023?) I had a friend essentially write the cheque as I don't have a checkbook. A week later got the certificate in the post.

Now at the end of the month I'll take it to the driving license office, and pray that I pass the control technique.

What I will need:

1. My permis B + driving license

2. Carte grise

3. Certificat de conformite

4. Call my insurer so he puts in the online system that it will be insured

5. Control technique

6. 13.20A form

7. Some paper I need to fill out

And I should normally be on my way to driving. I am now going to post a second post asking the forum HOW to pass the control technique...

Thanx for the description ! I have a car in Spain (on spanish plates, in my name) that I want to import to CH before summer - and your post was both descriptive and entertaining.