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Geneva Airport Car Hire, Cross Border EU Legislation Change?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Most years I hire a car from the Swiss side of Geneva airport and drive into France for the week. (I know you can hire from the French side but for a variety of reasons to date have chosen not to). Looking at options for next year I note the Holiday Autos website states:

Quote:
"Due to revised legal regulations in Switzerland, cross-border is not allowed for EU residents as of May 1st 2016."


The little I can find on Google says that was indeed an EU legislation change from May 1st, the gist of which is that EU citizens can no longer drive cars within the EU that are registered outside the EU. There is some talk of hire cars being exempt but as you can see from above not everyone has got that message.

I imagine all will become clear in the next few months but in the meantime can anybody shine any light on this?

Thanks

Ian
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Some discussion and links in this thread on the issue: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2888996
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks. Wasn't aware there was an Après Zone until now Smile . Most of the time I browse without being logged in and that forum isn't visible.
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Seems rather unlikely to me. H.A.s display it but e.g. Hertz don't and I can't believe there wouldn't have been local mention of it (which I haven't seen). Under normal reciprocity that would suggest that EU citizens couldn't drive EU registered cars outside of the EU...f'rinstance.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We hired from the French side once by mistake. Although it was a few years ago and may have changed now, it was a bit of a nightmare of navigation to get it back to the right place. Also we had to cross the airport from the Swiss side where we landed to the French side with our luggage which was also difficult as I remember.
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Quote:

it was a bit of a nightmare of navigation to get it back to the right place.

It's easy when you know how, plenty of advice available here and the car hire firms also give out a useful map. Sometimes renting on the French side can be cheaper (not always, I have hired from the Swiss side for a week in June because it was far cheaper). There is a lot of discussion here on SHs about the pros and cons of each side. Getting through the airport with your luggage can be a bit of a hassle but on the French side the hire cars are right under the terminal. On the Swiss side you have to take a shuttle bus or walk (it's only a short walk, but you wouldn't want to do it with heavy baggage).

Swings and roundabouts.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Well, I know it's illegal to drive a non-Swiss-registered car in CH on a CH licence...
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@pam w, do cars on the French side of GVA come equipped with winter tyres?

@under a new name, Hertz have added a restriction to hiring at GVA regarding driving their hire cars in to Austria for more than 8 days. No reference to driving in to France.
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@eng_ch, is it? Really? Can't believe that with all the frontaliers around this neck of the woods...I'm sure one French resident Swiss national I know has all his cars and bikes FR registered (well sure to the point of never having really paid attention)...

That would imply it's illegal for me, despite being insured, to drive my (French) brother in law's FR reg car round for a loaf of bread.
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@under a new name, do you have a swiss licence? @rob@rar, no, French cars don't have snow tyres but in June the Swiss car I'm renting presumably won't, either.

Depending on where you're going it's worth gambling on a French car in winter sometimes, provided you're comfortable with chains.
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pam w wrote:
provided you're comfortable with chains.

No, I think you're thinking of Scarpa Little Angel .
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After I hit "enter" on that on, @maggi, I did wonder. "My baby's got me locked up in chains" was going through my head. Laughing
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under a new name wrote:
@eng_ch, is it? Really? Can't believe that with all the frontaliers around this neck of the woods...I'm sure one French resident Swiss national I know has all his cars and bikes FR registered (well sure to the point of never having really paid attention)...

That would imply it's illegal for me, despite being insured, to drive my (French) brother in law's FR reg car round for a loaf of bread.


It is certainly the case that it is illegal for a UK resident to drive a non UK car in the UK. A law I inadvertently broke when I borrowed my brother's French reg car a few years ago. It's apparently a tax (well, VED) avoidance issue. I'm pretty sure Ireland has a similar law, so other European countries doing the same seems likely. Getting caught, however, seems unlikely.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@pam w, yes, I do.

So, the CH gov advice page whose address I can't find does say, but caveats every paragraph with "in principle" that CH licenses driving non-CH cars in CH, or EU licences driving CH cars in EU "technically" could be seento have imported/exported/smuggled the car across a border but given the frequency that this practically has no impact.

What has come into place 1.5.16 is a new simplified EU customs code which the car hire firms may have mis-interpreted or just decided to be ubr-squeaky.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
pam w wrote:
@rob@rar, no, French cars don't have snow tyres but in June the Swiss car I'm renting presumably won't, either.
I was thinking about next winter. The main reason that I hire on the Swiss side of GVA is that the hire cars always come with winter tyres so I don't bother with paying the winterisation fee. If there are going to be issues with hiring on the Swiss side and driving to France hiring on the French side might be the simplest solution, but I'd rather not pay to winterisation fee to guarantee winter tyres as that usually makes the rental fee more expensive than the Swiss side.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've emailed Holiday Autos about my upcoming rental, but no reply yet. It's ironic that although winter tyres aren't an issue I took a Swiss car for that week because it was a good deal cheaper than France and it's certainly handy to have the vignette (though the French car I rented at Easter had a vignette, which was just luck).

If it's true that cars rented in Switzerland can't be driven into France it's going to have a huge impact on the car hire set up on both sides of the border.
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@pam w, I suspect it will disappear as a problem... Too crazy not too - local borders too convoluted.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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@under a new name, you're no doubt right - just hope they sort it out before June 22!
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I had booked a car with Alamo on the Swiss side of GVA last Friday (5th May). The counter staff refused to rent the car (pre-paid) because I had answered yes to the question 'are you going into France'. Everybody was being made to sign a waiver form advising them that Alamo would not cover any costs if you took the car across, in effect no insurance. They even mention the possibility of arrest at the border. The car hire hall was in some chaos (at a quiet time of year) with people trying to transfer reservations to the French side. I took a taxi to Morzine. I emailed Alamo central the question retrospectively 'am I allowed to take the car across, and they came back saying 'yes'. 24 hours later I got another email saying that the answer is now 'no'.
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I may be wrong, but if I recall if the are a UK citizen then you are not permitted to enter the UK with a French registered hire car or van
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I asked Herz the question, they replied today. "We would like to inform you that Hertz vehicles can be driven into France".
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under a new name wrote:
@eng_ch, is it? Really? Can't believe that with all the frontaliers around this neck of the woods...I'm sure one French resident Swiss national I know has all his cars and bikes FR registered (well sure to the point of never having really paid attention)...

That would imply it's illegal for me, despite being insured, to drive my (French) brother in law's FR reg car round for a loaf of bread.


If you have a Swiss licence, yes it's prohibited in 99.9% of cases:

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_privat/04392/04393/04394/04584/index.html?lang=en

It's basically a customs violation.

Frontaliers, by definition, are not Swiss residents.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Fri 13-05-16 17:19; edited 1 time in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@johnE, "citizen" or "resident"? Anyway, both EU so I can't imagine there's a problem.

Oh, lordy, the EU have screwed up.

Sounds like someone's missed a crucial clause.

Is this your car sir?
No
So it's stolen and you're smuggling it?
No, it's a rental.
Sorry sir, that's not in my book. I repeat, is this your car sir?

Repeat ad inf et naus.
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clarkiedc wrote:
I had booked a car with Alamo on the Swiss side of GVA last Friday (5th May). The counter staff refused to rent the car (pre-paid) because I had answered yes to the question 'are you going into France'. Everybody was being made to sign a waiver form advising them that Alamo would not cover any costs if you took the car across, in effect no insurance. They even mention the possibility of arrest at the border. The car hire hall was in some chaos (at a quiet time of year) with people trying to transfer reservations to the French side. I took a taxi to Morzine. I emailed Alamo central the question retrospectively 'am I allowed to take the car across, and they came back saying 'yes'. 24 hours later I got another email saying that the answer is now 'no'.


Oh Dear! I was relying on the call I made to Alamo that said it would all be ok Sad Have now cancelled Swiss side booking for tomorrow and booked a French side car. A little bit more price wise but at least we won't have a problem picking it up
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@eng_ch, not a Swiss licence, a Swiss resident.

Also I note that there are special regulations for rental cars...

Also that it's really a customs issue, not a question of criminality.

I will also confess to being somewhat surprised. We do it with some frequency. Not changing practice now either.
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under a new name wrote:
@eng_ch, not a Swiss licence, a Swiss resident.....


And if you've been a Swiss resident for more than 12 months, you have (or should have) a Swiss licence.. Indeed a customs issue. But breaching customs regulations can result in prosecution = illegal

It's rather mad though
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@eng_ch, no, I meant the regulations apply on residency not the licence. We've had CH licences for ummm, 10 years?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
It is mad though, so technically under Swiss law, if I wanted to keep a car in France at my house, and take public transport to and fro, but still be able to drive home to GE if required I need to keep a CH registered car permanently in France, which would raise a few gallic customs eyebrows...

All too crap for words.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Just wondering, had anyone found a link to any official sites around this?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Well, I have had a response from Holiday Autos referring back to the small print in the original agreement for my rental next month, noting that cross border travel IS allowed.

Will wait a bit and see what happens - I have over a month to go. I tried a new dummy rental at Geneva CH through Holiday Autos and couldn't see anything suggesting there was a problem.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
if we are all going to be forced to hire from French side, how much more hassle is it? I have only ever arrived in swiss side as I fly easyjet, so hire from the swiss side. I have read on here about slightly hire charges from French side but is there more to it?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

I have read on here about slightly hire charges from French side but is there more to it?

In fact the French prices are often substantially lower - especially in winter I think. Which is why people use the French side, despite the major disadvantage that you don't get snow tyres as a matter of course, and it's pot luck whether the car you are given has a Swiss motorway vignette (the short stretch of motorway to the French border at Bardonnex being by far the most convenient route to many French ski destinations). I rented a French car at Easter because it was almost £200 cheaper than the equivalent vehicle on the Swiss side, for a week.

The French side of the airport can also be tricky to find - though if people take the trouble to look it all up beforehand it's not a problem and it's quicker to get to the cars on the French side as they are below the terminal, not down the road, as they are on the Swiss side (short bus journey or walk, but it all adds to the hassle).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm getting mixed messages about this from Europecar and Holiday Autos

Have hired a car in July through Unirent Swiss side and supposed to be driving to St Gervais. Pickup is from the Europecar desk so phoned them direct over the weekend and they said you can still drive across but they are waiting for updated info. I also Emailed Holiday Autos and they said you cant drive from Swiss side to France but you can hire on French side and drive into Switzerland. the cost of changing booking from Swiss side to French is nearly £200.00 more!
Do you think i should wait a while or just rebook the French side?
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Confusion reigns! rolling eyes

I've just sent a message about this to Simon Calder (the Independent's Travel Writer), along with a link to this snowHeads thread of course. snowHead Perhaps the redoubtable Mr Calder can shed some light on this. Toofy Grin
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Quote:

I also Emailed Holiday Autos and they said you cant drive from Swiss side to France but you can hire on French side and drive into Switzerland. the cost of changing booking from Swiss side to French is nearly £200.00 more!

Very interesting. Holiday Autos told me (two days ago) that cross border to France would be fine "but there might be additional charges". I rang to check what these might be and somebody else is now checking and has promised to get back to me.
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we are hiring a car out of Geneva in two weeks time and Holiday Autos told me that it would not be possible to hire from Swiss side and drive to France, so have had to go French side, costs more and will have to get a vignette. On the upside if you are going through quidco the cash back has today gone up from 5% to 7%, so a tiny offset for the greater costs.

Here's hoping this bonkers situation will resolve before we are all making our winter trips. rolling eyes
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Sounds like Holiday Autos are also confused.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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From Hertz - seems like they're washing their hands of any possible consequences...

"Thank you for your e-mail.

We would like to inform you that "Hertz vehicle" can be driven to France without restrictions.

We are afraid we are unable to advise you for restrictions regarding your nationality.

We remain at your service and thank you for contacting Hertz.

Yours sincerely

Hertz Internet Helpdesk"
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@pam w, They were charging extra in november to cover the possibility of cross border recovery.I might be cynical but all will be fine if they can charge you for another extra!
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The guy I know who'd had problems and had to rebook on the French side on arrival had booked through Avis apparently.

We've got friends visiting in a week's time who've booked through Europcar. We were at the airport last week and spoke to the Europcar manager at GVA in person and he seems to think it's going to be ok... will update the thread if no one else does before then with the results.

I'm sure the problem will be resolved by the winter but our summer season starts very soon, so we need to start advising our guests pretty quickly.
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