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Moving to Switzerland

When the move is just around the corner, the start in the new home is not far away. The anticipation and excitement are rising to immeasurable heights, but before that there is still a lot of work to be done. Those who prepare and plan the move well will, as so often, find it easier.

Before moving

Don't forget to cancel all your old contracts early and keep the cancellation periods. Although some companies are accommodating to an imminent emigration, no one is obliged to do so and this must be clarified beforehand. In my case, for example, it was possible to send the rail subscription back to the railways after the move with the cancellation confirmation from Germany and they transferred the credit back to me for the remaining term, but this was pure goodwill.

When you move out, there will also be a lot of rubbish, superfluous furniture and other items. The best thing to do is to organise a bulky waste collection at the city cleaning service or, in the case of very large quantities, a container. It is advisable to set up a forwarding order at the post office. This will ensure that mail with your old address arrives at your new address for up to one year

It is best to keep a moving list when packing the moving boxes, where you list what you are moving. This list will later be required by customs for the import of the removal goods together with form 18.44. You do not have to go into detail. Rough classification such as tools, DVDs, shoes, books etc. are sufficient. The more carefully the list is kept, the fewer problems there are with the import and if everything is plausible, there are rarely any checks. The total weight and the total value may be estimated. A partial import or a move in instalments is also possible, but must be indicated. Everything you have used for more than 6 months can be imported without hesitation. There are only special regulations for protected animals and exotic plants. Normal pets and ornamental plants can be imported as removal goods. Dogs and cats need an international vaccination card and must be vaccinated and chipped. The vaccination must not be older than 6 months. If you are unsure, you can obtain information from the Federal Office for Agriculture or the Federal Veterinary Office.

Reserve the removal van as early as possible and consider it carefully when planning the space. After all, in most cases everything has to fit into one tour. When planning, please note that in Switzerland there is a night and Sunday driving ban for trucks and a 7.5 tonne truck is already considered a truck. The driving ban is valid for working days from 10 pm to 5 am, for the whole Sunday and on public holidays. For vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, a maximum speed of 80 km/h applies on motorways. It is also important to make sure that the removal van is not overloaded, it is often weighed at the border of the wagons and in case of overloading, it is not possible to continue the journey without reloading. Therefore, pay attention to the payload when choosing the removal van.

Moving with a moving company is more convenient and easier. With just a few clicks you can get a few offers here: Find moving companies.

The day of the relocation to Switzerland

A deregistration of the old foreign residence is not mandatory for customs. However, some municipalities in Switzerland require this when registering. If you want to keep your old residence, you should clarify the procedure with your new community of residence in Switzerland. The following disadvantages can arise if the foreign residence is not deregistered:

  • If a new passport is applied for, you cannot do this at the consulate in Switzerland, but have to go back to the municipality where you are registered.
  • If you are resident abroad, you may be liable to church tax in the country of residence.
  • Judicial and administrative documents can be sent to the address in the home country and the service can be counted as effected. This can cause deadlines to be missed.

Some administrative offices require that the deregistration takes place on the day of departure. However, if you do this a few days in advance and specify the day of deregistration as the day of departure, it is not a problem. Otherwise, it can simply become too stressful on the day of the move, depending on the distance.

When moving to Switzerland. Customs and border between Germany and Switzerland.

Before you drive to the border, it is advisable to buy the vignette at the last petrol station before the border. If you are moving with a Sprinter or a truck up to 3.5 tons, you have to buy a vignette for this one as well. The vignette must be attached to the windscreen in a clearly visible position. For all vehicles over 3.5 tons, a performance-related heavy vehicle charge is payable at the border. This is calculated on the basis of weight, kilometres driven and emission level. The rates are between 2-3 centimes per tonne and kilometre. As an example for a weight of 7.5 tonnes, emission level 5, CHF 40.35 is due for 200 kilometres (status 2018). More details are best obtained directly from customs.

It is essential that entry takes place during the opening hours of the customs office. It is essential that you obtain information from customs beforehand and allow sufficient time. For longer distances, it is advisable to spend the night before the border and drive the last few kilometres to the customs on the following day. As soon as you arrive at the customs, use the lane "Import of trade goods", then report first to the German and then to the Swiss customs. For immigration you need form 18.44 for the removal goods, rental contract, employment contract, identity card or passport and vehicle documents if a vehicle is imported. Your own vehicle can also be imported without customs clearance, provided it has been owned or used for at least 6 months. The vehicle, like all other removal goods, is also exported beforehand at German customs and imported at Swiss customs. The stamped form from customs is later used to declare the vehicle. The declaration must be made at the latest 12 months after the introduction and within one month for new vehicles.

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After the relocation

You must register with the municipality within 8 to 14 days. To register you will need your passport, rental contract, employment contract, foreigner's identity card, health insurance card and in some cases a passport photo of each family member who registers. Registration is subject to a fee and costs between CHF 20 and 40, depending on the municipality.

Switzerland uses other sockets and plugs. However, this problem can be solved quite easily. One possibility is that you buy in the next electronics market and connect your equipment through it. But if you think you can do it, it is best to equip all electronic devices with a Swiss plug bit by bit. These plugs can be bought for about one franc a piece in a hardware store. If you start with the multiple sockets first, you have built your own adapters for the transition very inexpensive.

Power socket in Switzerland

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Frequently asked questions and answers

The removal company and I arrive separately at customs on the same day. What do I have to tick on the form?

You need a complete list of removal goods for each transport. For both lists, tick partial import and note what is being imported on the respective tour. Who arrives later or earlier does not matter and is not unknown to the customs officers.

Braucht man für die Anmeldung in der Schweiz eine Abmeldebestätigung aus dem Heimatland?

This depends very much on the municipality and is handled very differently. Therefore, my recommendation is to ask the Swiss municipality of your place of residence directly beforehand. They will be happy to provide information.

What disadvantages arise if I remain registered abroad?

There are three disadvantages that can arise if you continue to be registered abroad:

  • You may still be liable to pay church tax abroad if you are a member of the church.
  • Your identity card and passport must be applied for at your place of residence in your home country.
  • Official letters are considered to be delivered and deadlines only expire when they are delivered. Therefore, if you live abroad, open your mail regularly or have it opened.
When do I deregister abroad? After the end of the employment contract or tenancy agreement?

Deregistration is directly related to your place of residence. You deregister on the day you move out or shortly before at your local residents' registration office. Whether your employment contract is still running, i.e. whether you are still on holiday or working overtime, is irrelevant for deregistration. 

Can I register in advance in the Swiss community?

No, unfortunately this is not possible. Registration with the Swiss municipality must be done in person and within 14 days of moving in.

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