On 1 June 2023, the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS) will put the first version of the new goods traffic system Passar into operation. Passar is gradually replacing the current freight applications NCTS and e-dec. Find out what improvements and innovations Passar brings, and which companies can benefit from it.
Passar in brief
Passar is the name of the FOCBS's new goods traffic system for the digital processing of customs procedures. Passar will be put into operation in several stages from June 2023. By the end of 2026, all processes related to transit, exportation, importation, special customs clearance and the collection of other levies will be simplified, harmonised and fully digitalised. This is a key objective of the digitalisation and transformation programme DaziT.
What companies need to know
Passar 1.0 is the first version (Release 1.0) of the FOCBS's new goods traffic system. In a first stage, the FOCBS is making this system available for transit and exportation processing. Passar implements the new EU reporting model for transit (NCTS Phase 5) and offers comprehensive technological modernisation compared to the existing NCTS and e-dec freight systems.
The providers of customs clearance software ensure the integration of the available Passar functionalities in their solutions.
At the process level, Passar 1.0 offers initial advantages in transit and export. It allows goods and transport declarations to be modified without restriction prior to arrival at the border. They only become legally binding when activated at the time of border crossing.
Import and special procedures will be implemented with Passar 2.0 and Passar 3.0.
- Haulage and transportation companies
- Authorised consignees and consignors
- Swiss exporters
- Developers and providers of customs clearance software
Passar 1.0 does not affect companies that exclusively import goods into Switzerland (importers). They can continue to use the e-dec Import and e-dec Web applications until mid-2025.
For private individuals in tourist traffic, the tried and tested QuickZoll app will continue to be available.
- The most important change concerns the transportation process: the goods declarations for transit and exportation are linked (referenced) in Passar with a transport declaration that contains information on the means of transport for the border crossing. This referencing is the prerequisite for automatically activating the goods declarations at the border. The Activ app is currently available for automated activation in road transportation. Additional solutions are planned. For the other modes of transport, the transport-specific transport information (e.g. air waybill) is used. Transport declarations are still optional with Passar 1.0, but we recommend using them to speed up the border processes.
- Passar 1.0 also introduces the self-care principle: clients enter and manage their own data independently, regardless of time and place. This requires one-off registration in the Confederation's ePortal (replaces the previous registration in the Customs client administration ZKV).
- Digital keys (tokens) are used for data exchange via the technical B2B interface (API) (they replace the previous certificates).
- Required accompanying documents for transit and exportation declarations can be transmitted directly in Passar.
- Assessment decisions from Passar will be made available only electronically and can be downloaded from Chartera Output (automatically via B2B interface or via ePortal).
- The other processes remain unchanged for the time being (legal basis remains unchanged).
Yes. The current freight applications NCTS and e-dec will no longer be updated and will be phased out. The introduction of Passar is also linked to the Europe-wide update of the transit system (Phase 5); this will take place exclusively in Passar. This means that it will no longer be possible to open transit declarations in NCTS from the beginning of November 2023. e-dec Export will be decommissioned in mid-2024.
Making a transport declaration is still optional for the time being, but we recommend doing so to speed up border processes.
The FOCBS provides the Passar goods traffic system free of charge. It offers a B2B interface (API), and later will also provide a user interface via ePortal (no later than when e-dec Web is replaced). As before, fees may apply when using commercial customs clearance software with an interface to Passar; contact your software provider if you have any questions about this.
The FOCBS will actively contact the users of the existing freight applications NCTS and e-dec and offer them various support services for the one-off registration in ePortal (onboarding).
In a first stage (first half of 2023), existing NCTS users will be contacted in coordination with their respective software providers. Users of e-dec Export will be contacted in a second stage (from the second half of 2023); earlier registration is possible on request.
- Companies that currently use commercial customs clearance software for handling transit and exportation can contact their software provider for specific information.
- Companies that develop customs clearance software for themselves or for third parties are strongly advised to join the software development working group.
- Transportation companies can use the Activ app with immediate effect. Completing a transport declaration via smartphone already enables automatic activation of goods declarations in transit and thus makes border processes more efficient.
- For general information about the DaziT programme, participation in the information events of the DaziT business advisory group is open to all interested parties. Further information is regularly published on the website and on the FOCBS's existing communication channels.
Advantages for businesses
The benefits for businesses are linked to the various expansion phases of Passar and its peripheral systems; their benefits will become progressively apparent as a result. The most significant phase will take place with Passar 2.0 (import) from early 2025.
Businesses will benefit on several levels:
- The administrative burden (regulatory costs) is reduced thanks to the simplification and standardisation of processes.
- End-to-end digitalisation will gradually introduce seamless processing and eliminate paper handling at the border, in particular.
- Increased automation and the use of technological innovations will accelerate border crossings.
- Processes at the counter will no longer be necessary: provided that those involved in the procedure use the digital solutions to process customs formalities and pay other levies (e.g. LSVA), in future those involved in the procedure will only have to stop at the border if checks are made.
- Technological modernisation increases system security and stability. Compatibility with the EU remains guaranteed (NCTS Phase 5, ICS2).
The FOCBS will put Passar 1.0 into productive operation on 1 June 2023. Businesses can therefore use the new goods traffic system for transit and export from this date, as soon as the Passar functionalities have been implemented in the respective customs clearance software.
There is no set date for the changeover: NCTS can continue to be used until the end of November 2023 at the latest and e-dec Export until the end of June 2024 (transition phase). The transition periods have been agreed within the framework of the DaziT business advisory group.
The following milestones apply:
- 01.06.2023: Launch of Passar 1.0, start of parallel operation for transit and exportation.
- 01.10.2023: All authorised consignees are ready to receive transit declarations from Passar.
- 31.10.2023: Last goods declaration for transit and exportation in NCTS (phase 4) Any open transits can be completed by the end of November using the search procedure.
- 01.12.2023: Transit only with Passar, NCTS is deactivated.
- 01.07.2024: Exportation only with Passar, e-dec Export is deactivated.
- 01.01.2025: Launch of Passar 2.0, start of parallel operation for importation.
- 01.07.2025: Transit, exportation and importation only with Passar, e-dec is deactivated.
- General questions in connection with the launch of Passar 1.0: Information office for customs regulations, +41 58 467 15 15
- Questions about the B2B interface to Passar (software development working group): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about registration in ePortal: email@example.com, +41 58 465 22 50 (from 3 January 2023, Monday to Friday, 8am to 12pm und 1pm to 5pm)