Customs formalities

Bringing personal effects into Switzerland and moving home (furniture, car, plants, domestic pets, etc.) when transferring your domicile to Switzerland are exempted from the duties and taxes generally levied when goods are imported (these duties remain in force for regular items bought outside the country, see below).

Transferring your legal domicile to Switzerland constitutes the essential condition for being able to bring into the country all of your household goods as well as any collections you may have, your pets and your car, without having to pay any duties. The only conditions are that the items imported must have been used personally outside Switzerland for at least six months and you must continue to use them personally in Switzerland.

Documents to be presented

To make use of this exemption, you need to present to the customs office the properly completed declaration/request for tax-free entryat the time of import (form 18.44, pdf 72 Kb).

In addition to this form, you will need to present:

  • The list of items to be imported; the items which do not meet the conditions for exemption from duties should be indicated at the end of the list as "marchandises à dédouaner" (goods to be declared) and are subject to customs duties (see below).
  • Swiss residence permit, if required (for foreign nationals immigrating into Switzerland). Since June 1, 2007, nationals of the 15 old EU member states (plus Cyprus and Malta) and the EFTA countries have no been longer required to present a provisional residence permit; such persons are required to demonstrate their transfer of domicile by another means (employment contract, rental agreement, deregistration from the country of origin).
  • The foreign operating licence for cars, motor boats and aircraft.
  • The proof of purchase or rental of a house of apartment, or the possibility of using one.

If you are using a shipping company or broker to pass through customs, they should be handed these documents as well as the form requesting customs clearance to present at the customs office. Furthermore, the move must take place during the opening hours of the customs office for commercial goods.

Information, official regulations and forms

Customs duties and VAT

Apart from the exemptions, goods imported into Switzerland are subject to customs duties. A duty-free allowance of SFr 300 is permitted per person, with any amount above this threshold is subject to tax.

In addition to customs duties, imports are subject to VAT:

  • 2.5% on foodstuffs and cultural items (books),
  • 8.0% on all other goods.

It should be noted that the VAT in the country of purchase may be reimbursed in many cases (duty free shopping). You are advised to retain your receipts, as these may be requested by customs officials.

More information


Federal Customs Administration FCA

Monbijoustr. 40
3003 Bern
Tel : ++41 31 322 65 11
Fax : ++41 31 322 78 72
E-mail : ozd.zentrale(at)


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