Country Guide: Switzerland

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Updated: September 13, 2016

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)
  • 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)
  • Copy of the work contract or letter of employment confirming the relocation (residents of European Union (EU) countries)
  • Original Customs form 14.60 provided by employer, duly signed, and stamped (diplomats)
  • Copy of "Carte de Légitimation" (diplomats)


Specific Regulations

  • 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.
  • 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. 

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Official foreign driver’s license
  • Original certificate title
  • Original bill of sale / purchase invoice
  • Condition report


Specific Regulations

  • Items may be imported into Switzerland duty free if:
    • They are in the owner of the goods’ possession
    • Used abroad for at least 6 months before the legal date of entry date shown on the work permit
    • Will be used in Switzerland for a minimum period of 1 year
  • It is necessary for the owner of the goods to provide an official foreign license showing the date of issue.
  • Company cars may be imported duty free.
    • In order to do so, the company will need to provide a written confirmation that the automobile has been for exclusive use of the owner of the goods since a given date and state that the owner of the goods is relocating to Switzerland.
    • This letter should be written and sent to Swiss Customs authorities 6 months prior to shipment.
  • Used motor cars and/or used motor boats may only be admitted duty and tax-free provided they are destined for one’s own requirements.
    • Used vehicles must be in the owner of the goods’ possession for at least 6 months.
  • First registration date abroad needs to be proved to the Motorvehicle Authorities (MFK)


Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinarian health certificate in German, French, Italian, or English
  • Blood analysis


Specific Regulations

  • 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

Documents Required

  • Written letter of confirmation
  • List of paintings with artist names and values


Specific Regulations

  • 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.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Food products
  • Tobacco
  • New articles and consumer goods, which do not correspond to normal household requirements
  • 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

Prohibited Items

  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Weapons (other than sporting and hunting guns)
  • Ammunition
  • Anti-radar equipment
  • Animal products from protected / endangered species (ivory, skins etc.)
  • Fake items (e.g. watches, faked brand name & model items)

Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.


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IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.