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Registering a vehicle

A motor vehicle may only be driven on public roads if it has a vehicle registration document and number plates. The vehicle must comply with regulations and meet road safety requirements and be covered by third party insurance.

To obtain a vehicle registration document and number plates you will need:

Insurance certificate (available from your insurance provider)

  • New vehicles: test report form 13.20A (from importer or customs)
  • Used vehicles: vehicle registration document of the previous owner (where appropriate with test report form 13.20B, if the vehicle was subject to a subsequent test)
  • Foreign nationals: residence permit when obtaining plates for the first time
  • Tax valuation or exemption for cars manufactured abroad.

Customs duty must be paid on cars manufactured abroad. You receive your car tax bill once your car has been registered.

Vehicle registration

The canton responsible for registering your vehicle is the one in which the vehicle is based. This is generally where your vehicle is parked overnight and is usually the same as your canton of residence. This is deemed to be the case when the vehicle is kept in the vehicle holder’s canton of residence at least two weekends in every month.

Personalised number plates

You can apply for and buy unregistered personalised number plates at some cantonal road traffic offices. A list of unregistered number plates is available at the road traffic office or in some cantons online.

Removing the ‘change of owner prohibited’ notice from the vehicle registration document

The vehicle registration documents of cars on lease bear the notice ‘change of owner prohibited’ (code 178). If you want to buy such a vehicle, the lease holder must fill in the appropriate form so that you can register it.