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Swiss customs: These goods are prohibited or subject to restrictions

When you enter Switzerland, the customs regulations stipulate exactly which goods you are allowed to stir in and which are not. Animals, plants or cultural assets are also subject to certain rules that must be observed. We'll tell you what you can take with you and when it will be difficult.

Customs: import prohibited!

In the Guide to Customs Regulations in Switzerland: Importing Goods and Using Exemption Limits, we have already explained how high the exemption limits are in Switzerland and what happens to the import of alcohol and tobacco in private travel. This time we will take care of what it looks like with prohibited goods.

When entering Switzerland, you are NOT allowed to take the following items with you or you must observe certain regulations:

These are mostly souvenirs that contain plant or animal components that affect species protection. They are protected by the Washington Convention on the Protection of Species (CITES) or by national law. This can be, for example, a belt made of elephant leather or a figure made of a rare tropical wood. Unfortunately, many travelers are unaware of what the pretty carving they bought abroad is made of. You will only find out when entering Switzerland that the import is prohibited due to species protection. Therefore, you should generally not buy the following things from:

  • Ivory (e.g. carved figures, pieces of jewelry)
  • Various protected plants (e.g. cacti, orchids), various woods (e.g. rosewood)
  • Turtle shells (musical instruments, masks ...)
  • Fencing snails (Strombus gigas), giant clams
  • Hard corals, blue and black corals
  • Hides, leather products (belts, key rings ...), furs (including small pieces) from protected species, especially reptiles
  • more than 125g caviar per person (not cumulative)
  • zoological preparations (butterflies, snakes, emperor scorpions, seahorses, crocodiles, etc.) from protected species
  • Teeth, feathers, bones, hair and wool of protected species

The is very helpful when buying abroad WWF counselor app Switzerland. You can use it to see directly on site whether it is a memento that falls under species protection. You can download the app for Android or iOS.

Advice app for the iPhone

Advisor app for Android

Cash, Foreign Currency & Securities

The good news for everyone who wants to import cash, foreign currencies or securities into Switzerland. There are no restrictions or even a ban here.


Anyone who brings more than CHF 10,000 to Switzerland must answer questions about themselves, the origin of the money and its purpose. If he is not the owner of the money, information must also be given about this.

What can happen if I am checked?

The transport of the money is entered in the information system of the customs administration. If money laundering is suspected or the funds are used to finance terrorism, the money can be confiscated.

Narcotics and drugs

You are not allowed to import narcotics or psychotropic substances into Switzerland unless they are part of your personal medication.

The following applies:

You may import drugs containing narcotics or psychotropic substances into Switzerland for your own use. The amount may meet the needs of Do not exceed 30 days. In addition, the user of the drug must introduce it. It may no third person introduce the medication in place of the patient.

You are not allowed to take counterfeit products with you into Switzerland. It does not matter to customs whether the goods are new or already used. Counterfeits are generally confiscated and destroyed. So don't buy the bargain T-shirt from Hugo Boss and Co. when you go on holiday in Asia.

What are cultural goods?

Cultural goods are understood as objects that reflect the culture and history of a society. Things that serve as a means of identifying a society are also included. To put it more simply: cultural goods come from the cultural heritage of a state, country or society.

You can obtain more information about cultural assets and what exactly they include from the Federal Office for Cultural and Cultural Assets.

If you want to import cultural goods into Switzerland in private travel, you must always register them electronically at the customs office responsible for merchandise. Be careful not to buy any stolen or looted cultural assets and bring them to Switzerland. Many cultural goods also require a permit, i. In other words, the country from which you are exporting the object must consent to the export. If you do not have an export permit from your country of origin, you cannot take the item with you into Switzerland.

Switzerland wants to protect its population from illegal and dangerous drugs, which is why imports and exports from Switzerland are subject to extensive regulations. Due to the extent of these provisions, we cannot reproduce them here. But you can get more information on the swissmedic.ch website.

If you want to take plants with you to Switzerland from abroad, this is no problem with the common bulbs, cut flowers and seeds if they come from the EU, Norway or Iceland. For all other countries, ask the Federal Office for Agriculture about the applicable regulations.

But there are trees, plants and bushes that are considered to be carriers of harmful organisms and are therefore not allowed to be imported into the Alpine republic.

Generally prohibited plants:

  • Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster)
  • Laurel medlar - Photinia davidiana

Prohibited plants if you are NOT from the EU, Ireland or Norway:

  • Apple tree (malus)
  • Pear tree (pyrus)
  • Bitter orange (poncirus)
  • Oak (Quercus)
  • Mountain ash or rowan and whitebeam (Sorbus)
  • Firethorn (Pyracantha)
  • Potatoes and similar nightshades (Solanacea)
  • real, edible chestnut (Castanea)
  • Kumquats (Fortunella)
  • Medlar (mespilus)
  • Conifers
  • Quince tree (Cydonia)
  • Vines (vitis)
  • Roses
  • Stone fruit trees (apricot, cherry, almond, peach, plum and plum) and all ornamental forms of the genus Prunus
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus) all types and varieties
  • Loquat (Eriobotrya)
  • Ornamental or false quince (Chaenomeles)
  • Citrus (citrus)

Beware of plants that are subject to the Washington Convention on the Protection of Species (CITES)!

You are generally not allowed to introduce these or only under certain conditions. Find out more about this from the responsible offices.

What is a radar detector?

A radar warning device receives radar waves and informs the driver of this. This allows him to find speed controls and, if necessary, reduce the speed.

Radar warning devices are generally prohibited in Switzerland!

Anyone who introduces a radar warning device into Switzerland faces a fine. The device is withdrawn and destroyed. There is an additional bus if the radar warning device has not even been reported to customs or as a different device.

  1. If animals or animal products are subject to species protection, their import is prohibited or requires a permit.
  2. There are also restrictions on food of animal origin from the EU. Our article on the exemptions from Swiss customs reveals more about this.
  3. The import of animal foods from non-EU countries is almost always prohibited by the Swiss customs authorities. This has mainly to do with epidemic protection.
  4. If you want to enter Switzerland with one or more pets, you should first have a look at the online help of Swiss customs. Using a simple selection list, the system shows you what you need to consider when importing your pet.

(Screenshot_2019-03-22 With dog, cat or ferret across the border)

You can only import weapons into Switzerland if you have a permit from the Federal Police Office fedpol. This also applies to ammunition, ammunition components as well as weapon accessories and weapon components.

If you travel to Switzerland as a hunter or marksman on invitation for a corresponding occasion (hunting, tournament, competition, etc.), the European Firearms Pass is sufficient if you can provide evidence of an invitation.

Disclaimer: MyPaketshop has carefully researched and checked all information, but we cannot accept any liability for completeness, correctness and topicality. We also do not provide any services that are reserved for the relevant professionals in accordance with the Tax Advisory Act and Legal Advisory Act.