Clearing Swiss customs
Moving your personal belongings to Switzerland
If you move to live in Switzerland, all of the objects, collections, pets or vehicles that you bring with you and have owned for longer than six months are deemed to be personal effects. This means that although you are required to declare these objects, you can import them customs-free.
The following documents must be provided to the Swiss customs office:
- Completed application form for household effects (see below).
- Proof of change of residence (contract of employment, rental agreement, confirmation of departure), EU citizens are not required to provide a residence permit.
- A basic inventory of your household goods.
Should you have any further questions, you can consult the FAQ on removal goods of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA).
Good to know:
It is best to draw up a list of your objects when packing your household goods, furniture and plants. While you only require basic details when entering into Switzerland, a detailed list will definitely pay off later when taking out contents insurance.
Customs opening times
In general, you are able to declare your personal effects directly upon entering Switzerland and are not required to announce your arrival in advance. You must, however, note the opening times of the relevant customs office. Most are only open from Monday to Friday, generally between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Some customs offices are also open on Saturday mornings.
Further information on the exact opening times and contact details for the identified customs office can be found in the customs office directory of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA).
Taking your pets to Switzerland with you
You don't want to leave your cat or dog behind in your home country? You can import your own pets customs-free provided that the following requirements are met:
- The animal must be tagged/identified, for example with a microchip or a tattoo.
- You require proof that the animal has been immunised against rabies.
- You require an EU pet passport or a passport of another European state recognised by the EU.
- Pets may not be sold after crossing the border.
If you are a dog owner, you are not only required to register yourself with your local municipal authority after entering Switzerland, but also your dog. Your vet must also register the dog in the Swiss dog database within 10 days.
Please note: The keeping of fighting dogs is governed on a cantonal basis. There are also certain cantons which completely forbid specific breeds. In such cases, information can be obtained from the responsible veterinary inspection office.
Further details on the importing of animals is provided by the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) and the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (BLV).
Good to know:
It is worthwhile to insure your pets. It can become very expensive should you need to have your dog or cat treated by a vet if it falls ill or suffers an accident. Make use of the pet insurance comparison of comparis.ch in order to find the right insurance cover for your pet.