If you are a foreign national moving to Switzerland, you also need to complete residence formalities. ch.ch explains what you need to know about residence permits and the travel documents you need to enter Switzerland.
People living abroad who want to move to Switzerland can move most of their personal belongings without paying customs duties. People moving to a second home in Switzerland are also exempt from paying customs duties on their personal belongings. However this does not apply to the means of transport and animals.
In order to import your household goods, pets, personal belongings and vehicles into Switzerland free of customs duties, you need to fulfil several conditions:
You must transfer your residence to Switzerland and provide proof. Please note: this condition does not apply to students bringing their furniture, personal belongings and school materials into Switzerland.
You must have used the belongings for personal use for at least six months before bringing them into Switzerland and continue to use them afterwards.
If you have merchandise to declare, make sure you cross the border during the opening hours of the appropriate customs offices for clearance of merchandise.
You need to present various documents at the customs office when crossing the border:
Full list of the imported goods (on a separate sheet of paper),
Form (completed in duplicate) for the duty-free import of your belongings (download the form from the website of the Federal Office for Customs and Security Border),
Identity document (passport or identity card),
Document certifying that you have announced your departure to the authorities of the country of origin,
Swiss residence permit or other document proving the transfer of residence (such as an employment contract or a lease)
Foreign driving licence for means of transport or vehicle registration certificate (even if it has already been cancelled),
Proof of purchase or rental of accommodation.
If you hire a moving company to transport your household goods into Switzerland, be sure to provide these documents to the moving company.
You do not need to schedule the date and time you pass through customs ahead of time, but if you do it will speed up formalities at some customs offices when you cross the border.
The Federal Office for Customs and Security Border provides a list of the customs offices with scheduling options and additional information on its page about moving household effects.
You have two years from the date of your transfer of residence to bring your belongings into Switzerland duty-free.
Have a look at the FAQ about moving household goods to Switzerland on the website of the Federal Office for Customs and Security Border.
The brochure Living in Switzerland (available in 18 languages) provides detailed information about renting a flat.
ch.ch provides information on residence permits, travel documents for entering Switzerland and on the purchase of property by foreign nationals.