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We intend to return to Switzerland in the foreseeable future and to take up residence there again. What is the situation with regard to paying customs duty on our goods?
When entering Switzerland, household effects (household items, clothing, paintings, valuables, etc.) can be brought in duty-free if you are transferring your place of residence to Switzerland. This is subject to the requirement that the imported items have been used by you personally for at least six months and that you continue to use them after they have been brought into Switzerland.
Household effects also include cars, motor boats and aeroplanes. However, the duty-free importation of vehicles is subject to the condition that they continue to be used for at least a year after import. If a vehicle is sold before the end of this period, the customs duty must be paid retrospectively.
The customs exemption on household effects has to be applied for from the customs office with a special form. A detailed list of the imported items must be attached. You do not have to attend in person during the customs clearance process. This process can also be carried out by a third party, such as a forwarding agent.
Pets are a special case. Individual provisions apply here, for example, with regard to veterinary inspections, vaccinations and the prevention of epidemic diseases. Species protection regulations also apply to plants and animals. You will find full details and information sheets online.
Website of the Swiss Customs Administration: www.ezv.admin.ch > Information individuals > Personal property or Animals and plants in the menu on the left
OSA’s Legal Department provides general legal information on Swiss law, in particular in the areas that concern the Swiss Abroad. It does not provide information on foreign law and does not intervene in disputes between private parties.