11. Settling into your country of residence
The following chapter contains information relating to general removal expenses and customs procedures that will help you anticipate certain difficulties that might arise along the way. For further information, please consult the web pages of the Installation Service
11.1. Removal costs
The Organization will pay or refund you the cost of a single removal of furniture and personal effects within the limits laid down in Articles R V 1.19 to 1.21 of the Staff Rules and Regulations.
Using a special CERN form, you must submit quotations from three removal companies to the Installation Service 6 weeks before the scheduled removal date at the latest. CERN will write to the company it selects, confirming that your move will be entrusted to it under the conditions stipulated in its bid, including insurance. You will be informed of this choice at the same time to allow you to make all the necessary practical arrangements. Except in exceptional circumstances, the invoice will be paid by CERN directly.
Under certain conditions, the Organization will pay you an installation indemnity calculated according to the amounts set out in Annex R A 9 of the Staff Rules and Regulations.
CERN will pay you half of this indemnity when you take up your appointment and the other half on presentation of a rental contract or an act of property ownership. If your family members arrive later than you, you will receive the full indemnity on their arrival, provided that this is no more than one year from the date on which you take up your appointment. The indemnity is paid by the Department of Human Resources (Building 33, room 1-011) and must be returned if you resign during your first year of service.
11.2. What are the formalities for importing personal effects and furniture?
11.2.1. Customs duties and formalities in Switzerland
Under certain conditions, your furniture and personal effects may be imported into Switzerland free of customs duty. You may claim this entitlement only once and must do so within five years of taking up your appointment. You must complete the following customs formalities:
- prepare a list of all the items you wish to import in one of the official languages of Switzerland (French, German or Italian); state the brand and serial number of any electrical appliances and give details of any valuables;
- at least 10 days before your shipment arrives, you must give this list, together with your precise addresses both abroad and in Switzerland, to the Installation Service, which will prepare your importation file.
11.2.2. Customs duties and formalities in France (for people arriving from countries outside the European Union)
Your furniture and personal effects may be imported free of
customs duty. The Installation Service will guide you through the preparation
of the necessary papers for the French customs.
You must complete the following customs formalities:
- prepare a list, in French, of all your personal effects and furniture
- give details of any valuables
- a reasonable number of brand new items may be included in the list, provided that they are already in your possession and were purchased in your country of residence prior to taking up appointment.
11.3. What are the formalities for importing and registering a car?
You are allowed to import your own private vehicle into Switzerland or France, but the Swiss and French authorities will require you to complete various formalities and, in certain cases, pay duty.
- Customs formalities
You are allowed to import, free of customs duty, any passenger vehicle, motor-boat or aircraft that you have owned for more than 6 months prior to taking up your appointment at CERN and intend to use for your own private purposes. The import formalities must be completed as soon as you are in possession of your residence permit (Swiss carte de légitimation). You may then continue to drive your vehicle with the licence plates of your home country for up to one year after taking up your appointment at CERN. After one year, you must register your vehicle on normal Swiss licence plates. You will be required to take out Swiss insurance (third party liability).
- Buying or importing a vehicle free of duty
In the 5 years following your arrival at CERN you may, under certain conditions, import or purchase one new passenger vehicle and one motor-boat free of customs duty. You must register this vehicle on normal Swiss licence plates.
As soon as you are in possession of your carte de légitimation you will no longer be entitled to drive a vehicle with foreign licence plates in Switzerland (with the exception of vehicles officially imported as part of your removal, as described in the 1st paragraph above), even a vehicle belonging to a person who is visiting you, as that would be a violation of Swiss fiscal rules and make you liable to a fine.
Once you are in possession of your residence permit (“titre de séjour spécial”) you must take the necessary steps to register your vehicle on French licence plates.
If you wish to drive your vehicle on normal French licence plates you are strongly advised to enquire into the relevant French automobile specifications before you leave. If you have any questions regarding registration you should go to your local “Mairie” (http://www.ain.pref.gouv.fr/sections/droitsetdemarches/fichesinformation/).
- Buying or importing a vehicle free of duty
As an international civil servant, you are entitled to buy a
car tax-free in any country provided that you are not of French
nationality and did not reside in France (and were therefore not subject
to normal French law) during the twelve months immediately prior to
taking up your appointment at CERN.
Only holders of a special residence permit (“titre de séjour spécial”) of the CD, FI or AT type are authorised to drive a car registered on diplomatic or consular licence plates (green plates). This privilege cannot be exercised more than once every two years and the necessary formalities concerning your old car must be completed at the French customs before purchasing the new one. If you purchase a new vehicle in Switzerland you will not be entitled to temporary licence plates and will have to wait until you receive your green plates to drive it.
You will not be entitled to purchase a vehicle tax-free until you are in possession of your special residence permit (“titre de séjour spécial”). The Installation Service cannot handle an application for registering a vehicle on green plates until you are in possession of all the required documents.
Once you are in possession of your special residence permit (“titre de séjour spécial”) you will no longer be entitled to drive a vehicle registered on foreign licence plates in France, even a vehicle belonging to a person who is visiting you, as that would be a violation of French fiscal rules and make you liable to a fine. (There are some exceptions for rental cars: contact the French customs office on extension 75618/19 for information).
11.4. Will I need to change my driving licence?
A current, national, non-Swiss driving licence is valid in Switzerland if the member of personnel is in possession of a legitimation card, type B, C, D, E and P issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Holders of a driving licence written in a language other than one of the Swiss official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansch) or English, are required to obtain an international driving licence. This licence can be issued by the cantonal, road traffic authority of the place of residence. As far as people who do not reside in Switzerland are concerned but who drive there from time to time, a current national license together with an international driving licence is valid in Switzerland.
Current national driving licences, issued by a state belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) are, in principle, valid in France. Other kinds of driving licence are only valid in France, if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued the holder with a residence permit ‘titre de séjour spéciale’. Permanent resident holders of permits issued by a non – EEA member states are obliged to apply for a French licence within one year of taking up residence in France. (Switzerland is not a member of the EEA).
As far as those not residing in France are concerned but who
drive there from time to time, the current national driving licence is,
in principle, valid. For further details contact the
Relations with the Host States Service .