Car Hire EU Residents Switzerland

The rules regarding car hire in Switzerland and the EU changed 1-May-2016.

From 1-May-2016 any resident of the EU hiring a car in Switzerland is not allowed to drive the car outside of Switzerland into the EU apart from a few special cases. These special cases do not include SOTA bagging and visiting Europe’s largest amateur radio rally. Don’t ask me why the rules have changed. Car hire at Swiss airports was always a bargain compared to EU airports and this route is no longer available.

Guess who was flying to Switzerland and driving from Switzerland to Friedrichshafen? Guess who isn’t traveling that way now? :confounded: It’s bumped my travel costs by 23% which is annoying. Better to find out now than when you have arrived at the airport. What’s mad in that having rearranged everything, the EU car I will hire can be used to visit Switzerland. :confused:

I have no idea if non-EU residents can hire cars in Switzerland and take them into the EU or not.

Apparently its all to do with the illegal importation and use of foreign registered cars in the EU. If you are a UK resident i.e. you live here you can’t legally drive any foreign registered car, EU or not. So you can’t hire a car in France and drive it in the UK.

If you drive your Polish mates car over here you could get nicked unless he was with you in the car then he is considered to be the driver - now how crazy is that, and that’s alright. [quote=“MM0FMF, post:1, topic:13194, full:true”]

I have no idea if non-EU residents can hire cars in Switzerland and take them into the EU or not.

Well would seem that they can.

There are lots of posts about this around the internet. Happy reading


Yes, but your linked article specifically excludes hire cars!

The reason is related though, failure to pay duty.

If you look at hire cars only, then the rule is Swiss registered cars cannot be driven by EU residents outside of Switzerland. They become liable to import duty and taxes if you get stopped even though you may only be visiting for a few days! EU registered hire cars can be driven in any EU country by an EU resident (subject to cross border hire being available).

My own belief is that broad law simplifies things… Is the car registered in a country outside the EU and is the driver an EU resident? If the answer to both is yes then tax is due. Much easier than having regulations for that deal with hire cars, lease cars and other cars. Blanket ban catches everyone trying to bring a non-EU car into the EU without paying the duties.

From what I have been able to gather it seems I will be OK to hire a car on the Swiss side at Geneva Airport and drive it to Chamonix for three days then back to Switz for a week since I am a US citizen and US resident. I will contact the rental companies to make sure. I suppose I could rent the car on the French side if needed. Thanks for starting this thread it sure is good to know! 73 Hal

So as a dual VK/UK citizen but resident in VK (born and bred VK, but UK born father hence also having the UK passport), the way I read this is that I am legit to drive into the EU from Switzerland as I reside in VK? Question being if I enter EU on my UK passport, am I deemed to be residing in EU or is it just that I get the best of both worlds? At what point would I be deemed to be an EU resident if I were staying for a while?

Mildly confusing!


That does not seem to be so complicated - most a matter of insurance.
This may help a bit:

It does refer to EU residents in the docs I saw and not Eu citizens. Just make sure you show a VK passport and VK driving licence and you’ll be fine. However, IANAL (I am not a lawyer).

The UK tax authorities limit non-residents to 90 days in the UK. Outside that you are considered a resident and need to pay UK Tax.

Cool - thanks for that, unlikely that I will get to spend more than 90 days over there, so I should be safe!


I just talked with a Hertz rep at Geneva Airport, the Swiss side. She said it is fine for me as a US citizen and resident to rent there and take the car into France and back. She also said that it is OK for an EU resident to do the same thing, if they are renting from Hertz. It looks like the car rental companies have got some clarification or waiver to this new regulation. Sounds like if you are EU, the best bet is to call the car rental location, but things look like they are OK now. 73 Hal N6JZT