Switzerland Airport Customs Regulations Explained

27 August, 2020


If you're an e-commerce retailer looking to ship your products into Switzerland by plane, you'll probably want to know about Switzerland airport customs regulations.

In certain scenarios, like taking gifts for friends or family, you may be exempt from taxes; in all other cases, you'll have to declare your goods at customs and have your receipts and travel documents ready to show the officials.


Rules on items

While you can get special permits to take certain items across the border, you should pay close attention to what is forbidden and make sure you have the necessary paperwork prepared.

Items prohibited for import:

  • Narcotics
  • Protected animals and plants
  • Weapons
  • Cash, foreign currencies, securities
  • Pyrotechnic articles
  • Pirated or counterfeit products
  • Medicinal products
  • Radar warning devices
  • Cultural property

Strict regulations and rules apply for the import of these goods in order to protect Switzerland's population, environment and economy.


How to declare

If your intention is to fly in merchandise for trade or business use, it must be presented to the Swiss customs office and declared for customs clearance. There are several documents which will have to accompany your items such as invoices, any certificates of origin, authorisations, and official confirmation and analysis certificates. You may also need to show delivery notes, cargo manifests, weight certificates and assessment instructions.

You may submit your customs declaration form electronically, click here for more information on how this can be done.


Chargers you may incur

Customs duties are normally calculated by taking into account the gross weight (including packaging) – the price often being less than CHF 1 per kilo. Items such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco goods, foodstuffs, textiles, and jewellery will typically incur higher customs duties.

There's also value-added tax to consider (7.7%). Certain items such as foodstuff, books, magazines and medication will have a reduced rate of 2.5%. Foreign VAT will not be included in the calculation, but it must, of course, be shown on the invoice separately.

If you're planning on importing goods into Switzerland for trade purposes, it's highly recommended that you partner up with an experienced third party carrier. Your courier will be able to provide advice on everything from cost-effective packaging, to correct protocol when filling out forms and declaring your goods.

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