I live in Switzerland and am travelling abroad


Do Swiss citizens need valid ID to travel back to Switzerland?

Swiss citizens have the right of entry. It is sufficient to show a passport or identity card. In this case, an expired passport can serve as proof of Swiss citizenship; an expired identity card or driving licence can also be used.

What COVID-19 measures apply for the return journey to Switzerland?

The quickest way to find out which rules apply to your return journey from your holiday destination to Switzerland is to take the online Travel-Check entry test. For further questions concerning COVID-19, please contact the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH.

What COVID-19 measures apply for travel from Switzerland to other countries?

Swiss Customs knows a lot, but not everything. This means that we cannot give you any information on the entry regulations of other countries. It is best to check the entry requirements with the relevant authorities in your destination country before you travel. A list of embassies and consulates that you can contact can be found here.

How do I get the VAT back on goods I have bought abroad?

Swiss customs cannot refund foreign VAT to you, nor can they provide any further information. It is best to enquire with the customs authorities of the respective country of origin or at the point of sale. You can find a list of foreign customs authorities on the website of the World Customs Organization.

What do I have to clear through Swiss customs when returning from abroad and which goods are subject to authorisation?  

When you return to Switzerland, you may import goods for private use or as gifts up to a total value of CHF 300 VAT free. This is the so-called tax-free limit.

The tax-free limit applies only once per person, per day. If the total value of the imported goods exceeds CHF 300 after deduction of the foreign VAT, you must pay VAT on all the goods. You can find a detailed overview, including practical examples of the tax-free limit, here.

For certain goods, there are additional provisions regarding the quantity of imports; these include foodstuffs, alcohol and tobacco. These "sensitive goods" are subject to duty-free allowances, which are listed in this table. As long as the sensitive goods do not exceed the duty-free allowances, they are deemed to be duty-free and no charges apply. Anyone who exceeds the allowances on return must clear the goods through customs.

The QuickZoll app allows you as a private individual to declare your goods for import independently and to pay any tax and duties directly – without having to register. You may then import your goods via all Swiss border crossings.

Grenzkontrolle Strasse

Please note, however, that there are goods that require authorisation, are subject to restrictions or are prohibited. These include, for example, weapons, cultural goods, narcotics and fireworks. There are also import bans on animals and plants, and souvenirs made from animal or plant parts. Find out about the relevant rules here.

There are also regulations for travelling with pets. Check our website well in advance.

What happens to counterfeit goods at Customs?

A pair of Gucci shoes for EUR 20 may sound like an irresistible offer, but it is too good to be true: you have probably bought a counterfeit product. It is prohibited to bring counterfeit brands or designs into Switzerland, or to export them from Switzerland. This also applies to goods that you import or export for private use. If you bring counterfeit goods with you – regardless of whether they are new or used – Customs can confiscate and destroy them when you cross the border.

Further information on counterfeit goods can also be found here: Stop Piracy press release.

What risks do animal and plant species that I bring into Switzerland pose?

There are animals and plants that do not exist naturally in Switzerland but have been introduced by humans. Some of these species are "invasive" and therefore problematic for humans and the environment, can cause crop losses and threaten biodiversity. For this reason, plants and animals do not belong in your luggage. The new Don't pack any risks! Protect yourself and the environment website offers practical information and guidance on this topic.

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