How does the car registration in Switzerland work?

A detailed guide on how to register your car in Switzerland, and how Gowago makes this easy for you
7th June 2024

Registration Blog

In Switzerland the registration of a car happens in the cantonal registration office (STVA / Strassenverkehrsamt in German and OCV, OCN / Office cantonal des Vehicules or Office cantonal de la navigation in French). Here, the local authority issues your car with number plates and the relevant registration documents. The process of registration can be a bit of a maze, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

But don’t worry! The Gowago Team is here for you. We want to ensure that the car is registered and ready to go once you receive it - so you can look forward to your new car without a headache.

Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you navigate the process and let you avoid all confusion so that you can just get in and drive - without a worry in sight!

Step 1: Which documents do you need for registration?

To register your car under your name, you will need the following documents:

What is the proof of insurance? (Attestation d’assurance / Versicherungsnachweis)

This is a digital confirmation that is sent by your insurance provider directly to the registration office. Please note that an insurance offer or contract is NOT a proof of insurance.

Make sure you request either a copy of the proof of insurance or a written confirmation from your insurance provider that the proof of insurance has been sent out to the registration office.

Where can you get the original registration document of the car?

The provider of the car already has this document, especially with used cars. At Gowago, we will request the dealership to send the original registration document to the registration office directly. However, if you would like to register the car yourself, we are happy to arrange for the provider to send the registration document to you. Simply ask your delivery specialist about this option.

Are any additional documents required?

For the cantons of Vaud, Valais and Geneva, there is a registration form that has to be filled in before registering. You can find the forms by clicking on the individual canton name here.

There are different types of registration, which depend on both your personal history of car ownership in Switzerland, as well as the car’s past. The registration type determines whether the local registration office will request any additional forms from you, which is mainly the case with used cars once the car is changing owners. The correct type of registration also needs to be reflected in the proof of insurance

What are the different registration types?

57 - New Registration This type applies when new number plates are required. If you have never had any plates in Switzerland, choose this option.
58 - Change of Vehicle Should you already have number plates registered to your name and want to keep them for your new car with Gowago, we recommend carrying out the registration yourself. This is due to the fact that it involves the cancellation of your previous registration document for the car the plates were assigned to so far. In some cantons, you are allowed to drive till the end of the day after you have cancelled the registration document, make sure to ask your registration office if that is an option for you.
52 - Reenactment of plates after deposit You already have number plates to your name and have had them in storage with the registration office. When leasing and registering a car through Gowago, you will not need to go to the registration office yourself - we will arrange them for you.
59 - Change of plate owner/name The number plates in question had previously been registered to somebody else (family/friend or similar). Now, you would like to have them transferred to your name for your own registration. In this case, a particular form will need to be filled out. To access this form, visit your local registration office’s website.
51 - Interchangeable plates This applies if you wish to use one number plate for two cars. This will only be possible if you are using the same insurance provider for your already existing registered car and the new car you are leasing with Gowago. Note: With interchangeable plates, you are only able to drive one car at a time. Both cars cannot be driven simultaneously. E.g. you cannot be driving one car while your partner is driving the other at the same point in time.

Step 2: Submit your Documents to Gowago

So that you can set up your comprehensive coverage insurance, your dedicated delivery specialist will send you the most important information about the car that the insurance provider needs to compile your insurance contract and produce the proof of insurance. These details are, in most cases, serial number, chassis number, and first registration date.

After you have completed the insurance process and signed your insurance contract, please make sure to request a copy of the proof of insurance or a written confirmation that it has been sent out. The proof of insurance is valid for 30 days, your insurance will be active from the moment the car is registered. Please then share this with your delivery specialist so that they can take the next steps to get the registration on its way!

Step 3: What happens during the registration process?

Now it’s time for you to lean back!

As soon as your delivery specialist has all the information they need, they will begin with the registration process for you. This means we arrange for the dealership to send the registration document and additional documentation, such as forms and a copy of the proof of insurance, to the registration office.

Would you like to do the registration yourself? No problem, simply ask your delivery specialist to send the registration document directly to you.

How long does the registration process take?

The registration process can take up to 5 working days. This depends on factors such as the distance between the dealership and the registration office, the time of the year, holidays, the speed of the postal service and of the registration office.

Step 4: Next steps after registration

Once the registration is complete, the delivery specialist is contacted by either the dealership or by yourself (if you chose to personally register the car) to confirm that the registration has been completed successfully.

We will then proceed to organize the handover to you immediately. Depending on your preferences, you will then soon be able to either pick up the car at the dealership or have it delivered to your doorstep.

Tipps for a Successful Registration with Gowago

Tipp 1: We are happy to speak to your insurance provider!

If your insurance company needs additional information , our delivery specialists are more than happy to speak to your insurance provider directly. By speaking with them directly, we can make sure that all relevant information is passed on and make your life even more hassle-free!

Tipp 2: Make sure that you don’t have any open payments with the registration office.

If you have any open bills or debt with the registration office, they will block any actions that involve your name and will contact you directly to make you pay your open invoice(s) before allowing the registration to take place. Obviously, such an occurrence will cause unwanted and unnecessary delays to you getting the car and make the process frustrating for you.

Tipp 3: If you have recently moved residences, make sure your change of address and residence is documented with population control.

The registration office will check their database for your name, which is directly connected with population control. It is vital that the information that the population control has on record about you is up-to-date. Otherwise, the registration office of your new place of residence will not be aware that you are now, in fact, in their constituency. If you are in the process of moving, please inform your delivery specialist. They will advise you on the best course of action.


The process of registering a car in Switzerland can really be a bit confusing, especially if you are doing it for the first time, or you just recently moved here. With this guide, you should now have more insight on the process and all documents that are needed so that the Gowago Team can take care of you getting your number plate and getting you on the road, smoothly, reliably, and without a single worry!

Would you like to profit from an easy, hassle-free, and convenient way to start into your new mobility? Gowago has over 20’000 offers to lease new and used cars of every major manufacturer available in Switzerland!

Check out all Leasing Offers on Gowago

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