Moving to Switzerland as an American Citizen

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Moving to Switzerland as an American Citizen
Moving to Switzerland as an American Citizen

Switzerland is a land-locked nation, centrally located in the heart of Europe. It is a small country of less than 10 million people, smaller than the combined area of Vermont and New Hampshire. Famous for its chocolate and its cheeses, Switzerland is a gorgeous country with towering, snow-covered mountains, and idyllic verdant valleys. 

American citizens appreciate the high standard of living in Switzerland, as well as its location in the center of it all. By way of Europe’s excellent rail system, you can get to London, Paris, Geneva, Barcelona, or Rome within a matter of hours. 

You must have a lot of questions about how to import your personal goods to Switzerland. Read on to learn more. 

Importing my Household Goods 

In order to import your household goods to Switzerland, you will need to have already taken residence in the country. Your personal belongings will be largely duty and tax free, though they are subject to inspection upon arrival.  

To qualify for duty free importation, your belongings must:  

  • have been used by you in the six months prior to your move,
  • arrive within 24 months of your change of residence,
  • (and) be supported with appropriate documentation.

If you plan to make your move in two or more shipments, you must announce that additional shipments are forthcoming when your first shipment arrives.  

Here are some of the documents you will be required to present for customs clearance:  

  • Passport – Be prepared with a copy of the first 3 pages
  • Customs Form 18.44 – This form should be an original copy, noting the first and all subsequent shipments.
  • Detailed, Itemized Inventory – You should have at least three copies on hand showing the full contents of your shipments, with serial numbers for any appliances
  • Swiss Residence Permit “Zusicherung Aufenthaltsbewilligung “
  • Work Permit – This document will be issued by local officials.
  • Declaration form “Erklarung/Abfertigungsantrag fur Libersiedlungsgur“

Clearing Goods Through Customs 

Switzerland offers three methods for clearing goods through customs:  

  • QuickZoll app 
    The QuickZoll app offers the public a single source for current information regarding customs declarations. You can use this app to figure out what you need to declare and pay customs duty as well.
  • Verbal customs declaration 
    At a manned border crossing, you are required to make verbal declarations of any imported goods, even if you are not asked to do so. Your declaration is binding, so be honest and thorough.
  • Written self-declaration 
    Some border crossings are only sporadically manned. If you enter the country through an unmanned border crossing, you can make your declarations in writing using the forms provided.


Your pets may be subject to quarantine upon their arrival. Dogs and birds have special requirements that may require additional paperwork.  

Be prepared to present the following documentation:  

  • Certificate of Vaccinations – These may vary depending on the type of animal. The rabies shot, in particular, must have been administered within one year of importation.
  • Health Certificate – This certificate is proof of overall good health.
  • Identity card, if your country of origin issues them. Otherwise you will need an EU Veterinary Certificate.
  • Microchip – This is to ensure that your animal is properly registered.

What are the Rules for Importing my Vehicle?  

You can import your vehicle to Switzerland duty free if you have owned and used in the vehicle for at least six months in your country or origin. You will be required to sign a declaration stating that you will not sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise dispose of the vehicle within one year of its arrival in Switzerland.  

To import your vehicle, you will need to provide: 

  • Passport
  • Detailed inventory
  • Certificate of Title and Registration - original
  • Proof of  Residency and Employment
  • Proof of purchase. vehicle insurance, and registration from country of origin
  • Driver’s license
  • Form 18.44 & Proof of Swiss Insurance– You will need to provide proof of insurance for both the sending and receiving countries.

Help is Available

Moving internationally requires a lot of paperwork and attention to a bunch of important details. Nobody has time for that. Hire a professional shipping company to make your move easy and seamless. At A-1 Auto Transport, we have a team of international shipping wonks who take the time to learn all the rules so that you don’t have to. Give us a call today for your free, no-obligation shipping quote to get started.  

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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