“Hello, passport please, would you open your luggage? Do you have anything to declare?” If you travel regularly the questions above might sound familiar. In ever increasing numbers people are crossing borders all over the globe. In this blog we brief you on the Swiss customs regulations and offer a few helpful tips on what you may or may not bring along into the country.
If you are entering Switzerland for the first time, you might wonder how much goods you can bring in and how to declare goods that exceed quantitative amounts. You are entitled to bring in duty free goods that don’t exceed CHF 300. If you exceed the limit of CHF 300 and carry large quantities of alcohol, tobacco and other products, you will be required to pay customs. Goods imported for commercial purposes must be declared online according to the relevant customs tariff, the same applies to products purchased online or carried in your vehicle.
Upon entering Switzerland there are two methods of declaring goods through customs, the first is through a verbal customs declaration and the second is through a written self-declaration. Depending on your circumstances you will be required to consent to one form of declaration or the other. If the border crossing is staffed, you have to declare all goods verbally even if you aren’t requested to do so. If the border crossing has no guards upon entry you can declare your goods in writing using the forms in the declaration boxes. You are only allowed to declare goods that are not intended for commercial use and are not prohibited.
If you are bringing your pets to Switzerland different regulations apply, primarily you must ensure that your pet is properly vaccinated. If you purchased a pet abroad you are subject to pay 8.0% VAT. Docked dogs are not allowed, however a few exceptions may apply if you are on holiday or a short stay. If you are entering from a country outside Europe, it is your obligation to make sure that your pet is vaccinated against rabies.
To bring in weapons, firearms or ammunition into Switzerland you will need a license, which is usually issued by the Weapons Office at the Federal Office police. If you show the receipt of purchase that will speed the customs procedures. Bringing in weapons to Switzerland is free but you still have to pay 8% VAT on them. If the weapon or firearm comes from a Schengen state, a license will be granted only if you have a European Firearm pass. Weapons and firearms used for hunting and sports competitions do not require a license, nevertheless you have to declare in writing that you have been invited to participate in a hunting or sporting event for them to be permitted.
Certain amounts of cash in the form of foreign currency, bonds, shares can be imported into Switzerland they don’t need to be declared. Nevertheless, to combat money laundering and terrorism, financing checks on the borders are routinely carried out. If you are carrying more than CHF 10,000 you will be questioned. In such instances you will have to explain the purpose of the money and provide information on the owner. Cash funds of EUR 10,000 or more must be declared to the respective customs authorities when entering, passing or leaving the EU.
Ordering Products from Abroad
Duty free products and other good purchased abroad are liable to custom duties and VAT, your address must be registered with the customs administration for assessment. If your consignment is arriving by postal services or other couriers’ registration is taken care of by the respective providers itself. The customs fee will usually depend on the origin of the shipment and VAT of the consignment. A basic fee of CHF 11.50 applies to all packages from Germany, France, Austria and Italy, and CHF 16 from all other countries.
FERZ SA is committed to provide results-oriented and cost-effective legal service to all clients with a vast understanding of import and export law and customs declaration procedures.