Hiring a car Swiss side at Geneva then driving into France.Back to Forum
Anonymous26 May 2016
EU nationals have a new source of stress, as if navigating around Geneva airport and refilling the tank before drop-off wasn’t already stressful enough. Now the EU has decided that Swiss-registered cars driven by EU nationals will be subject to tax after 8 days outside Switzerland. This is, apparently, some kind of anti-smuggling scheme but as with all these things it has had unintended consequences. The answer is to come out on the French side, hire a French car and either drive right around the Swiss area, or drive through it avoiding the autoroute or shell out the money for a vignette for those few kms on Swiss motorways.
Has anybody got experience of this mess or any updates on the situation?26 May 2016
Had similar nonsense when I picked up an expedia booked car at GVA last year…arriving in GVA from LCY I went to the car hire (Avis) desk only to be told my car was hired in the French sector…(apparently the Swiss price was much higher). Argued the point – why book a car in a country you were not visiting? Failure meant I walked round the corner & upstairs to collect the car.
Thought nothing more until driving back through the checkpoint I was told I had to pay the Swiss motorway charge some 40 CHF totally unnecessarily.
It looks as if there are scams being worked by car hire people in Geneva Airport
It is time that Swiss airports like Geneva & Basel stop ripping off people by pretending that the cars they have ordered are in different countries….IF I fly to Basel how can they pretend it is Mulhouse or Freibourg….
Maybe visitors to Switzerland are being hit as their banks can no longer make such huge profits from third world dictators26 May 2016
This has nothing to do with the Swiss autoroute vignette, which is a different money-making scam.
I read somewhere else that after 8 days outside Switzerland a Swiss car becomes subject to purchase tax or VAT. This is the best résumé I can find of the current uncertain position: https://www.carjet.com/blog/renting-a-car-at-geneva-airport-swiss-or-french-car-hire
I’m hiring in July and would like to know if anybody has an update. So far, phone calls to Avis have proved fruitless.26 May 2016
Even though GVA is my local airport I have only hired a car there once, and for just a couple of days. The problem that others have described to me is hiring a car in the French sector, for use in France south of Geneva – Annecy, for example – and then trying to find the way to Annecy without hitting a Swiss autoroute and needing the vignette.
French side hire companies should provide a map showing how to do it. It can be done, but complicated.
As well as the car hire facilities being less on the French side of the airport, there are usually no French taxis. So to take a short journey into France you need a Swiss taxi, sometimes with grumbles from the driver (in Swiss-French) that “I don’t know and don’t understand France”26 May 2016
Some clarifications might be needed here…
The French sector at GVA is tiny. So it is here to accommodate French residents but the bulk of the trafic goes though the Swiss sector. So the services there are limited. But because of the ski stations in France, and the fact that renting there is actually less expensive than in Switzerland, many are going there. But they do not take into consideration:
– The difficulty of the access
– The Swiss vignette (that is not a rip-off for a long use, if you compare it to the price French highways cost, but that is only annual)
– The winter equipment (on the French side, don’t expect winter tyres for instance)
So the deal is often not as good as it looks initially.
Regarding the EU tax the OP is mentioning, I find no official text about it although it is mentioned on several forums. So not sure to what extent it is applied…26 May 2016
Swiss diver: My car was booked for Switzerland (Verbier to be exact and visiting friends in Bern) no question about wanting to visit France and no indication that the price was a French one so why was I dumped into the French sector and then had to purchase a vignette….
At least I didn’t pay the Swiss speeding fine that I’d been intending to clear from a previous visit so I’m actually in pocket. (Echoes of Traffic Violations in Pisa)26 May 2016
If anyone ripped you off, it is the broker you used. You were sold a French car while you ordered a Swiss one. Beyond the fact you had to pay the Swiss vignette, you could have been in trouble if your plans included a stay in Geneva without that car at the end of your trip (to go from the French to the Swiss sector requires a boarding pass, or a ticket, for a flight the very same day).27 May 2016
Swissdiver: did not realise the complications re GVA transfer -will need to keep awake after french ski next winter as will also be staying Switz – thanks for the info27 May 2016
We’ve just been advised (by a rental company) that from now on, driver willing to take a swiss registered car outiside of the country will NEED to have a (swiss) resident permit.
in short, Foreign Citizen driving a swiss registered rental car into EU will need to have a swiss residence address…27 May 2016
I find this 8 day thing nonsense and misleading. I’m renting in Switzerland all the time, and I use my British passport and license. I’ve never been told by the rental companies (Hertz/Avis) thatI can’t stay longer than 8 days in the EU and i always ask if I can drive the car into Italy/France etc.
Further, how can they check how long you’ll be in the EU? You can say I’ll be there for 5 days then coming back then going again.
I think where this is coming from is the amended EU regulation (note, EU – not Swiss) coming into force where if you live in France, work for say Nestle in Vevey, and have a Swiss registered company car, you may only use it to and from your home and not for personal use.
If it’s a rental car and you have their permission to use it for travel outside Switzerland, you are free to do so.
As for the sticker, this is not a scam and no more a scam than the charge for driving on French, Italian or Austrian motorways. It is unfortunate if you rent a (non Swiss registered) car for only a few days and only use a short strip of the motorway as it’s then not much value, but at least subsequent renters will be able to benefit! Often cars rented in Basel/Geneva on the non Swiss side will have the sticker so worth asking.
However, short stretches where there is no alternative are usually exempt, and if not, there is always a non-motorway road you can use.27 May 2016
Latest news I have is that EU drivers hiring on the Swiss side of the airport are now being given German-registered cars to drive into France.27 May 2016
This amendment refers to company cars but as so often with the EU there is confusion. It’s a shame people are blaming the Swiss when it’s nothing to do with them.27 May 2016