Customs regulations in Switzerland

Updated 2018-08-17 09:34

Switzerland has various provisions when it comes to importing goods. For example, there are certain goods and products (like narcotics, weapons or protected animals/plants) that are prohibited to import, export or transit with. Read on for more pertinent information on goods declaration, bans and restrictions.

As a member of the Schengen area, Switzerland does not control peripheral border posts any longer. Therefore, if you're a non-European Union national who enters Switzerland by air, you will be controlled at customs.

Good to know:

If you are crossing the border by car and you are only carrying goods within the allowances and tax-free limits, you can place the green "nothing to declare" sign on the dashboard.

When you enter the country, your personal effects and travelling provisions (as well as the fuel in the tank of your car if you're crossing the border by car) are tax and duty-free. For all other goods that you may carry, you have a duty free limit of CHF 300 ($302) aka their total value should not surpass that amount. That being said, there are some goods (like meat, tobacco and alcohol) which are governed by separate rules.

Animal products, food & plants

If you're bringing animal products, food of animal origin or plants into the country, you should be aware that many of these items are often prohibited or restricted depending on their country of origin. As a general rule, you can import goods of animal origin for personal use (aka not for sale) as well as most plants from EU countries and Norway, without being subject to border controls, but importation of goods of animal origin and several plants from third countries (like potatoes, roses, citrus plants and several trees) is prohibited.

For plants, you are allowed to carry with you cut flowers (bouquets) up to 3 kg and fruits and vegetables (except for potatoes) up to 10 kg.

Even if their country of origin is within the EU (or Norway), the following animal products or plants are strictly prohibited or require a permit:

  • Protected animals or their products (e.g. ivory, tortoiseshell, furskins, snakes, lizards, turtles, parrots).
  • Miniature medlar (Cotoneaster)
  • Photinia - Photinia davidiana (syn. Stranvaesia davidiana)

Alcoholic beverages & tobacco products

You are allowed to import alcoholic beverages and tobacco products in small quantities. Those are, respectively:

  • 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco)
  • 2 litres of liquor to a volume of 15% (or 1 litre of alcohol having a volume of more than 15%)

If you're importing excess amounts of wine, liquor, brandy and spirits, charges will vary according to the quantity.


Switzerland has very strict rules when it comes to importing weapons. All of them, as well as any ammunition and weapon parts, have to be declared ' and a permit is required.

It is particularly prohibited to carry or import the following:

  • Firearms (pistols, revolvers, rifles, semi-automatic weapons, airguns)
  • Knives (butterfly knives, throwing knives, switchblade knives, daggers)
  • Blackjacks, slingshots with armrest
  • Electroshock devices/tasers
  • Sprays that contain irritating substances
  • Silencers, night-vision and laser devices

You are allowed to temporarily import (aka take back with you when you leave Switzerland) two personal hunting weapons/target shooting weapons with the corresponding ammunition as long as you provide supporting evidence that proves their intended use ' for example, a hunting permit and a hunting ground lease, or proof that you are invited to relevant events/shooting programmes.


If you want to transport medication for personal use, including narcotics and psychotropic substances, you must make sure that the quantity you carry is only what you'd require for 30 days. You must also carry a prescription authorising you to use these drugs, as you are not allowed to transport medication for third parties.

Foreign & Swiss currency

You will have to declare any currency (cash or check, foreign or Swiss) in your possession to the Customs Administration. You are allowed to carry up to CHF 10,000 (â¬8,585) ' any higher amount than that, will have to be justified to the customs in order to ascertain the intended purpose of the money and who is the beneficial owner. Switzerland reserves the right to confiscate funds or hand them over to the police, upon suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing.

Good to know:

To make the process of declaring goods and getting a customs clearance easier, there is now an official application called QuickZoll that you can download on your smartphone. With QuickZoll you can register goods for importation (that you either purchased abroad for your own use or as a gift) and pay directly any taxes and duty fees that apply. Once your goods are cleared using QuickZoll, they can be imported through all border crossings into the country.

Useful links:

Federal Customs Administration
Quick Zoll app for iOS

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.