What you Need to Know About Moving a Vehicle Across Country

When moving from one country to another to take up employment, repatriating after a period overseas, or being re-assigned with ones present company, it is sometimes important to include a motor vehicle in your overseas shipment.

It could be a vehicle has been purchased in the relatively near past and thus it is economical viable to pay the cost of moving the vehicle to the new location.

Another reason is the cost of purchasing a vehicle at the new location where taxes could be exorbitant.

Naturally it is necessary to know firstly that it is economically viable to import a vehicle and this can be dependent on a number of factors.

This article is an attempt to outline some of the regulations, which must be followed when sending a vehicle to various countries. Some are relatively straightforward whilst others can be so complex such that sometimes importing a car is not a viable proposition. In the latter case then the best course of action is to dispose of the vehicle prior to the move, which involves certain official requirements. So it is important the settle these with the authorities and the purchaser of the vehicle before you finally leave the Emirates.

Moving a Car to the United Kingdom

You do not pay VAT or duty on a vehicle imported from outside the EU if you qualify for transfer of residence relief. To qualify you must meet all of these conditions:

  • You are moving your normal home to the UK
  • Your normal home was outside the EU for a continuous period of at least 12 months
  • You have owned and used the vehicle for at least 6 months outside the EU
  • You did not get the vehicle under a duty or tax-free scheme
  • You are going to keep the vehicle for your personal use for at least 12 months

To qualify for relief, complete form C104A and give it to Customs when you enter the country.

Moving a Car to France

Shipping a car to France is also possible.

You are allowed to import one, which will be duty free. Any additional vehicles will be charged at standard VAT and duty rates.

  • The car must be correctly registered and been owned for at least 6 months prior to entry into France.
  • The owner also has to have lived abroad in the 12 months prior to moving to France. This can be proved when producing the Certificate of Change of Residence.
  • You will not be allowed to sell the vehicle on within the first 2 years of living in France.

Your vehicle will need to pass a complete inspection prior to being accepted as road worthy and to ensure it meets the standard required in France.

You must ensure that the vehicle is included in your inventory, with detailed information such as registration number, chassis number and horsepower along with the make and model of the car.
Documentation for the car must be shown, including ownership documents, purchasing invoice and the registration card, all of which must be the original documents.

You will need plate numbers and the insurance certificate from your French insurer proving the car is legally ready to be driven in France.

Moving a Car to Switzerland

If you have owned your vehicle for more than six months, it is considered to be part of your personal effects. You simply have to fill in a clearance request form for moving purposes and it will be exempt from import duty and VAT.
You have the right to drive your car with foreign plates for a maximum of one year. The car is reserved for your personal use and cannot be loaned, rented or sold to a third party in Switzerland for a period of one year from the import date.

If you do not comply with this condition (by selling your car, for example), customs will charge you retroactive import duty. The amount is determined on a sliding scale according to the age of your vehicle. Make sure that you are legally insured to drive in Switzerland during this period.

About a month after you import your car, you will receive a letter from the motor registration office advising you that within a year your car will have to pass the official motor-vehicle inspection. The proper authority for this inspection is your canton (district) of residence. Each canton has an Automobile Service that conducts technical inspections and issues vehicle registration.

If your foreign plates are temporary and non-renewable, your car has to be inspected to obtain Swiss plates. Once the test is done, you will have to pay the Swiss road tax, which is anywhere from 100 to 700 Swiss francs depending on your engine capacity. You will also have to pay for insurance and license plates.

However, you will not have to pay any import duty whatsoever, as long as you do not sell your car within the first 12 months following its import to Switzerland.