Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement.
- There are normally no border controls between the countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most countries of the European Union and a few other countries.
- Before boarding an international flight or ship, there is usually an identity check. Sometimes there are temporary checks at land borders.
- Similarly, a visa issued for a member of the Schengen area is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.
However, Switzerland is not a member of the EU. Therefore, travellers entering Switzerland are subject to customs controls even without entry controls, and people travelling to other countries in the Schengen area must also pass through customs.
As a tourist: Remember that personal effects with a total value of more than CHF 5,000 and cash and all cash equivalents with a value of more than CHF 10,000 must be declared. Certain quantities of alcoholic beverages, foodstuffs and tobacco products are also subject to customs duty. Note: The import of animal products from countries other than EU member states and Norway is prohibited. When entering Switzerland, personal belongings, travel provisions and fuel in the tank of your vehicle are exempt from taxes and customs duties. Other transported goods are subject to VAT and customs duties according to their total value (more than CHF 300) and quantity. Please also be careful if you wish to travel with your pets. And generally observe the prohibitions, restrictions and permits relating to animals and plants, species, money, securities, weapons, pyrotechnic articles (fireworks), narcotics and medicines, the transfer of cultural goods, product piracy, counterfeiting, medicines (medical devices) and doping, radar detectors and public band radio (CB radio).
Unaccompanied minors (travellers under the age of 18) are strongly advised to carry a declaration of consent from their parents/guardians as well as a copy of the parents’ or guardian’s valid passport or identity card. Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Migration in the FAQ section (under “Travel and border crossing documents”).
Minimum validity of travel documents
- EU and EEA citizens as well as visa-free third-country nationals (e.g. New Zealanders and Australians) only need to present a passport valid for the entire stay in Switzerland.
- However, other nationals requiring a visa (e.g. South Africans) must present a passport whose validity exceeds the duration of stay in Switzerland by at least three months.
- However, EU and EEA citizens can still enter Switzerland without a valid travel document if their nationality has been established. The burden of proof lies with the person concerned. Proof of citizenship may be provided by any appropriate means (e.g. an expired passport, an official document proving the identity and/or citizenship of the holder).
- Further information on the minimum validity of travel documents and on the entry of EU and EEA citizens without valid travel documents can be found in the FAQ section on the website of the Federal Office for Migration (under “Grenzübertritt/Reiseokumente”).