Country Guide: Switzerland
Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.
Updated: June 19, 2018
Used Household Goods and Personal Effects
- Copy of passport with clear photo
- Copy of bill of lading (OBL) / CMR (Road) / air waybill (AWB)
- Originally signed Customs form 18.44 (application for duty & tax-free clearance of removal goods)
- Supplemental declaration for alcoholic products
- Detailed inventory list
- Copy of residence permit (except for Swiss citizens and immigrants from the 15 initial EU states and from the EFTA states)
- If not yet available, copy of the work contract or letter of employment from Swiss employer (all confidential data such as salary, bonus, etc may be deleted)
- Registration at local Swiss town hall
- Coy of lease agreement / purchase contract (property title)
- Detailed packing list in German, French, Italian, or English
- Proof of stay more than 1 year outside of Switzerland (military booklet, attestation from Swiss Consulate or earlier de-registration) (returning citizens)
- Original Customs form 14.60 provided by employer, duly signed, and stamped (diplomats)
- Copy of “Carte de Légitimation” (diplomats)
- The importation of used household goods and personal effects into Switzerland is usually duty and tax free.
- All documents must be available at the time when the Customs formalities are affected.
- If documents are missing, Customs formalities can only arrange a temporary clearance.
- In these circumstances, Swiss Customs will levy an appropriate fee or ask for a deposit which is laid down according to the volume of the removal.
- The “Carte de Légitimation” takes approximately 2 months to obtain.
- Used household goods may be imported if it is in the owner of the goods’ possession, has been used abroad for at least 6 months, are for the continued use of the owner of the goods, and correspond to the normal requirements of an intended resident after importation.
- Personal office goods and papers belonging to the owner of the goods are considered household goods.
- Returning Swiss citizens qualify for duty-free entry if the duration of employment abroad exceeded 12 months.
- If possible, all goods should be imported in one consignment.
- If one or more documents are missing, generally the residence permit, import clearance can be arranged on a temporary basis, but a certain amount will need to be granted to Swiss custom’s. This amount will be refunded once all missing documents are provided, but within a maximum delay of 6 months. Swiss mover might ask you to advance the money
- Diplomats must have the Carte de Legitimation, which takes approximately 2 months to obtain. Clients who are not officially changing residence from abroad will have to pay duties and taxes
- People officially changing residence from abroad to Switzerland, can import duty free, all their effects. These have to be in their possession and being used at least 6 months prior to their official date of change of residence Effects can not be sold for a period of 1 year(date that will be shown on their residence permit) All documents must be available at the time when the Customs formalities are done.
- Later consignments should be listed on the inventory of the first shipment.
- If a later shipment is to follow, it should be noted on the owner of the goods’ declaration of personal household goods under the appropriate section.
- If the owner of the goods can prove that he is unable to proceed with the clearance of a second shipment, Customs will extend a delay for clearance up to 24 months from the date of the first clearance.
- Unaccompanied hand baggage may be imported duty free, provided it consists only of used personal effects and/or books.
- The shipment should be accompanied by an inventory and is subject to Customs inspection.
- If a secondary home is bought or rented, import of removal goods is free of duties and taxes.
- However, importation must occur close to the time of the issue of the purchase or lease contract.
- Cars do not fall under this rule and are not duty and tax-free, even if used.
- Official foreign driver’s license
- Original certificate title
- Original bill of sale / purchase invoice
- Vaccination record
- Veterinarian health certificate in German, French, Italian, or English
- Blood analysis may be requested depending on country of origin
- For countries with urban rabies, a blood analysis is required.
- The import of the pet can only be done 4 months after the vaccination.
- The veterinary health certificate must include the following information:
- Name and address of owner of the goods
- Description of animal (breed, sex, age, color)
- An attestation that the animal was clinically examined by a veterinarian prior to vaccination and found to be healthy
- Date of the preventive vaccination against rabies, type of vaccine, name of vaccine producer, and serial number of vaccine
- Stamp and signature of the veterinarian
- The import of pets is allowed with some restrictions; check with the destination agent for details.
- Potential owners of the goods should contact a Swiss Customs authorities or a local agent in Switzerland no less than 6 months prior to import if it has not been determined the pet will be permitted for import.
- The vaccination must have been administered no less than 30 days prior, but no more than 12 months after entering Switzerland.
Antiques, Artifacts, Carpets, Paintings
- Written letter of confirmation
- List of paintings with artist names and values
- For all pictures and paintings, the owner of the goods must submit a letter to Customs attesting that none of the imported items are original artwork.
- Food products
- New articles and consumer goods, which do not correspond to normal household requirements are dutiable. Purchas invoice is required.
- Furnishings, which do not correspond to normal household requirements
- Weapons, including firearms (a permit is required)
- The following items are admitted duty and tax free, provided they are destined for one’s own requirements:
- Used motor cars and/or used motor boats (at least 6 months)
- Maximum 12 liters of hard liquor over 25% volume
- Maximum 200 liters of red / white wine, champagne
- Hunting rifles
- The following conditions apply to the import of alcohol:
- Swiss Customs authorities will personally assess whether the quantity of alcoholic beverages imported corresponds with the size of the shipment.
- The maximum duty-free allowance for:
- Spirits and liquors exceeding 25% alcohol by volume is 12 liters
- Red or white wine is 200 liters
- Champagne or other alcohol less than 25% alcohol by volume, depends on the size of the shipment
- Drugs and narcotics
- Weapons (other than sporting and hunting guns)
- Anti-radar equipment
- Animal products from protected / endangered species (ivory, skins etc.)
- Fake items (e.g. watches, faked brand name & model items)
Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.
Cultural and Other Information
CIA World Factbook Entry for Switzerland
Wikipedia Entry for Switzerland