Moving to Switzerland guide

Moving to Switzerland

Suisse / Suiza / Suíça / Schweiz

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A Guide to Relocating to Switzerland

Want to move to Zurich? Considering moving to Geneva? Or thinking about an international removal to Bern? Here’s the moving advice you’ll need for any international removal to Switzerland…

Moving Household Goods And Personal Effects To Switzerland

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to Switzerland:

  • Copy of Passport (Of the individual moving/importing the goods) with clear photo
  • Copy of bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB) – We will take care of this if completing the entire international removal to Switzerland for you.
  • Declaration / application for clearance of removal goods (form 18.44)
  • Supplemental declaration for alcoholic products
  • Detailed moving inventory list – We will complete this if you want us to undertake a full packing service for your removal
  • Residence permit / work permit (non – citizens)
  • Registration in Swiss town hall
  • Lease agreement / purchase contract / excerpt of land Registry Office
  • Attestation of arrival delivered by the Contrôle de l’Habitant of city of residence (returning citizens)
  • Proof of stay more than 1 year outside of Switzerland (military booklet, attestation from Swiss Consulate, etc.) (returning citizens)
  • Letter of employment (residents of European Union (EU) countries)
  • Original Swiss Customs form provided by employer, duly signed, and stamped (form 14.60) (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Copy of “Carte de Légitimation” (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Removal packing list in German, French, Italian, or English

We recommend providing these as soon as possible to reduce delays with your removal to Switzerland. Late receipt of documentation can lead to missed shipments, additional charges and penalties at Swiss Customs. For your own protection, we will almost never ship your goods without the above in place.

Additional Removal Advice

  • The importation of used household goods and personal effects into Switzerland is usually duty and tax free.
  • All documents must be available at the time when the Customs formalities are affected.
  • If documents are missing, Customs formalities can only arrange a temporary clearance.
  • In these circumstances, Swiss Customs will levy an appropriate fee or ask for a deposit which is laid down according to the volume of the removal.
  • The “Carte de Légitimation” takes approximately 2 months to obtain.
  • Used household goods may be imported if it is in the owner of the goods’ possession, has been used abroad for at least 6 months, are for the continued use of the owner of the goods, and correspond to the normal requirements of an intended resident after importation.
  • Personal office goods and papers belonging to the owner of the goods are considered household goods.
  • Returning Swiss citizens qualify for duty-free entry if the duration of employment abroad exceeded 12 months.
  • If possible, all goods should be imported in one consignment.
  • Later consignments should be listed on the moving inventory of the first consignment.
  • If a later shipment is to follow, it should be noted on the owner of the goods’ declaration of personal household goods under the appropriate section.
  • If the owner of the goods can prove that he is unable to proceed with the clearance of a second shipment, Customs will extend a delay for clearance up to 24 months from the date of the first clearance.
  • Unaccompanied hand baggage may be imported duty free, provided it consists only of used personal effects and/or books.
  • The shipment should be accompanied by an moving inventory and is subject to Customs inspection.
  • If a holiday home is bought or rented, import of removal goods is free of duties and taxes.

Antiques, Artefacts, Carpets, Paintings

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to Switzerland:

  • List of paintings with artist names and values
  • Written letter of confirmation

Additional Removal Advice

For all pictures and paintings, the owner of the goods must submit a letter to Customs attesting that none of the imported items are original artwork.

Popular Destinations in Switzerland

Global Moving Services is vastly experience in international removals to cities all over the globe. Their long history and detailed knowledge of different countries makes them the perfect choice for your move. Here are some of the most popular destinations we are asked to move people to in Switzerland:

Zürich, Geneva (Genève), Basel, Lausanne, Bern (Berne), Winterthur, Lucerne (Luzern), St. Gallen (Sankt Gallen), Lugano, Biel (Bienne), Thun (Thoune), Köniz, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Fribourg, Schaffhausen (Schafuuse), Chur (Coire), Vernier, Neuchâtel (Neuenburg), Uster, Sion (Sitten). Get a quote to one of these places

Need Help?

If you are unsure about what you need, one of our international move managers is always willing to help. Just call us on +44 121 392 1720, or fill out an international removal enquiry, and we’ll ease you through the process.

Moving Your Money

If you’re moving to Switzerland, it’s very likely you’ll have to exchange a large amount of currency. Many people waste thousands doing this through their bank as they think there is no alternative; but we partner with Global Reach who specialise in doing just this. Global Reach will offer all Global Moving Services customers preferential rates when exchanging currency and guarantee to beat other rates you’re receiving. Ask one of our move managers about this, to find out more click here or give us a call: +44 121 392 1720.

Get Insurance

We always advise taking out an insurance policy with us on every move. Although we like to think we’re the best in the industry, the odd accident can occasionally happen. For added peace of mind, make sure to speak to one of our move managers about this.

If you have already contracted us for your international removal to Switzerland, then you can download the insurance form and email the completed form back to your international relocation manager.

Moving Your Car Or Motorcycle

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning to move your vehicle to Switzerland:

  • Official foreign driver’s license
  • Original bill of sale / purchase invoice
  • Original certificate title

Additional Import Advice

Items may be imported into Switzerland duty free if:

  • They are in the owner of the goods’ possession
  • Used abroad for at least 6 months before the legal date of entry date shown on the work permit
  • Will be used in Switzerland for a minimum period of 1 year
  • It is necessary for the owner of the goods to provide an official foreign license showing the date of issue.
  • Company cars may be imported duty free.
  • In order to do so, the company will need to provide a written confirmation that the automobile has been for exclusive use of the owner of the goods since a given date and state that the owner of the goods is relocating to Switzerland.
  • This letter should be written and sent to Swiss Customs authorities 6 months prior to shipment.
  • Used motor cars and/or used motor boats may only be admitted duty and tax-free provided they are destined for one’s own requirements.
  • Used vehicles must be in the owner of the goods’ possession for at least 6 months.

Relocating Your Pets to Switzerland

These documents will be required when planning to relocate your pet to Switzerland:

  • Vaccination record
  • Blood analysis
  • Veterinarian health certificate in German, French, Italian, or English

Additional Import Advice

  • For countries with urban rabies, a blood analysis is required.
  • The import of the pet can only be done 4 months after the vaccination.
  • The veterinary health certificate must include the following information:
  • Name and address of owner of the goods
  • Description of animal (breed, sex, age, color)
  • An attestation that the animal was clinically examined by a veterinarian prior to vaccination and found to be healthy
  • Date of the preventive vaccination against rabies, type of vaccine, name of vaccine producer, and serial number of vaccine
  • Stamp and signature of the veterinarian
  • The import of pets is allowed with some restrictions; check with the destination agent for details.
  • Potential owners of the goods should contact a Swiss Customs authorities or a local agent in Switzerland no less than 6 months prior to import if it has not been determined the pet will be permitted for import.
  • The vaccination must have been administered no less than 30 days prior, but no more than 12 months after entering Switzerland.
Restricted & Dutiable/Taxable Items

Think very carefully before moving these items to Switzerland. Items on this list will be taxed and/or require specific permission to import. In all cases they must be declared prior to you relocating to Switzerland:

  • Food products
  • Tobacco
  • New articles and consumer goods, which do not correspond to normal household requirements
  • Weapons, including firearms (a permit is required)
  • The following items are admitted duty and tax free, provided they are destined for one’s own requirements:
  • Used motor cars and/or used motor boats (at least 6 months)
  • Maximum 12 liters of hard liquor over 25 % volume
  • Maximum 200 liters of red / white wine, champagne
  • Hunting rifles
  • The following conditions apply to the import of alcohol:
  • The duty-free allowance for alcohol under 12.5% depends upon the size of the move.
  • Swiss Customs authorities will personally assess whether the quantity of alcoholic beverages imported corresponds with the size of the shipment.
  • The maximum duty-free allowance for alcohol exceeding 12.5%is 12 liters alcohol by volume.
Prohibited/Banned Items
Do not move any of these items to Switzerland:
  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Ammunition
  • Animal products from protected / endangered species (ivory, skins etc.)
  • Weapons (other than sporting and hunting guns)
  • Anti-radar equipment
  • The following additional items are prohibited in GMS Baggage/Courier Consignments:
    • Aerosols (all kinds, Hairspray, Deodorant etc)
    • Aftershaves / Perfumes / Fragrances
    • Airbags
    • Alcoholic Drinks or Bottles
    • Ammunition of any kind
    • Animals of any kind (Dead or Alive)
    • Any items containing Petrol (Liquid, Gas or Fumes)
    • Biological Samples
    • Car Batteries
    • Cash & Cards (Credit / Debit)
    • Chainsaws
    • Cheques (Bank)
    • Christmas Crackers
    • Counterfeit Currency
    • Dangerous Goods
    • Driving Licence
    • Drugs (Including Prescription)
    • Engines
    • Excrement / Filth
    • Fire Extinguishers
    • Fish (Dead or Live)
    • Foodstuffs (all kinds)
    • Hazardous Goods
    • Human Remains (including ashes)
    • Infectious Substances
    • Knives
    • Laptop Computers, Mobile/Smart Phones or Tablets
    • Lighters
    • Lottery Tickets
    • Nail Varnish / Nail Varnish Remover
    • Oils
    • Paints
    • Passports
    • Perishable Goods (All)
    • Plants / Seeds etc
    • Printer Toner
    • Seatbelt Tensioners and Steering Wheels
    • Stamps
    • Tobacco
    • Water
    • Weapons (all kinds, including replicas)
    • Windscreens

Disclaimer: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This information is provided as a guide only. While Global Moving Services has exercised reasonable care in publishing this information, Global Moving Services makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.