There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to Switzerland. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.
- Products Of Animal Origin are goods which contain at least partly material derived from the body of an animal. These products can be divided in food or non-food.
Food means any substance, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, which is intended for human consumption, but does not include cosmetics or substances used only as pharmaceuticals.
Non-Food (not intended for human consumption) includes animal by-products, animal feed, samples for testing or research purposes (food-grade or non-food grade), and in vitro diagnostics (IVD).
Animal products and animal by-products are often subject to a veterinary inspection. These products can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC). In addition those products must undergo veterinary checks at an approved Veterinary Border Inspection Post (BIP) when entering the EU & EFTA countries or territories (EU regulations are aligned for EU countries or territories and NO; IS; CH; LI).
For UPS shipments arriving in the EU by air, Cologne is the first point of arrival /BIP. Inspections will be processed at Cologne but final customs clearance process will be issued in the destination country or territory.
Additional charges for Vet-inspection will be applicable see Brokerage Services and Charges.
Generally, each type of Product of Animal Origin has specific import requirements that must be met. Food which is subject to veterinary inspections must:
Come from an EU listed Third Country or Territory (no safeguard measures in place)
Come from an EU approved establishment . Registered producers are listed under the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/food/international/trade/third_en.htm
Be accompanied by appropriate Health Certificate(s), signed by a veterinarian of the competent authority of country or territory of export. Photocopies of the Health Certificate will not be accepted.
Be appropriately packaged and labelled, indicating the nature, ingredients, quantity/ weight, the country or territory of origin and manufacturer.
Any foodstuff coming from non-approved establishments, sent as samples for testing purposes, can only be imported with a permit/license from a respective national veterinary authority. The permit/license must be send to the border inspection point responsible for the veterinary inspection. Delays may occur as the license needs to be provided already at the time of inspection.
Any non-compliant shipment must be returned at shippers expense immediately. The following exemptions apply to non-commercial shipments / gift shipments or purchased by private individuals for private consumption):
Meat, meat products, animal fat - max. 10 kg from Faroe Island and Greenland.
Fish and fish products (with intestines and organs removed) - max. 20 kg from all third countries or territories; no limitation from Faroe Islands.
Other animal products (for example, honey, egg, frog, live mussels - max. 10 kg from Faroe Islands and Greenland, and max. 2 kg from all other third countries or territories).
- The invoice must state if the products contain alcohol.
If the product contains alcohol, the invoice must state the percentage of alcohol content and the type of alcohol.
For products that contain VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) the percentage of VOC must be declared on the invoice. The percentage must be mentioned on the customs declaration. If this information is not given, the importer must be contacted. Import delays may occur. Commodities containing VOC are subject to special taxation.
- Milk and milk product are animal products. For the necessary veterinarian inspections please see 'Animal Products'.
- All audio visual commodities must have a commercial invoice indicating the film's length, width, duration, a brief but satisfactory synopsis of content, and a reason for importation.
- Most food products require import licenses.
For food containing animal products please see 'Animal Products'.
For food supplements see 'Nutritional Supplements' for further information.
Based on the EU regulation 2009/669/EC certain foodstuffs imported from certain third countries or territories are subject to increased level of official controls due to contamination risks of these products by aflatoxinson and pathogens. These controls are carried out at Designated Point of Entries (DPE) defined by each member state.
The import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station and not subject to vet inspection can only be imported into the EU through Designated Point of Entries (DPE). They have to be accompanied by a declaration attesting that the goods are either harvested or processed before March 11, 2011, originated from a prefecture other than the ones affected by higher levels of radiation or if originated from an affected prefecture have been subjected to laboratory analysis determining the level of certain radionuclides (regulation 2011/297/EC).
- The invoice must indicate the Latin name of the animal from which the fur was obtained.
If the fur was obtained under the provision of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the goods must be accompanied by a CITES Certificate and the importer must provide an Import License from the agency 'Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen' (Federal Veterinary Office) in Bern.
A veterinarian will inspect the shipment.
Import delays may occur and accessorial charges may apply.
- Data shipments to Switzerland require an invoice indicating the value of the data only.
- The invoice must indicate the Latin name of the animal from which the leather was obtained. If the leather was obtained under the provision of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the goods must be accompanied by a CITES Certificate and the importer must provide an Import License from the agency 'Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen' (Federal Veterinary Office) in Bern. A veterinarian will inspect the shipment. Import delays may occur and accessorial charges may apply.
- The invoice must state if the products contain antibiotics, narcotics or alcohol.
If the product contains alcohol, the invoice must state the percentage of alcohol content. Customs requires an Import License issued by the "Bundesamt für Gesundheit" (Federal Office of Health) in Bern for items with any narcotic or antibiotic content.
If the labeling of the product lists ingredients, thresholds which are not compliant with Swiss legislation, customs may prohibit the importation of the goods. For detailed information, it is recommended that the importer contact the "Bundesamt für Gesundheit" (Federal Office of Health) in Bern prior to shipping.
- Vitamins/Nutritional Food Supplements/Combined Preparations
These products often contain ingredients that exceed the legal threshold. In case of doubt, Swiss customs will submit a sample to Swissmedic.
Swiss customs is entitled to admit shipments for importation under the conditions that the shipment weighs not more than 1 kg and contains no more vitamins than for one monthly consumption and is for the personal use of the consignee.
Other shipments, especially those for commercial use or those in larger quantities than mentioned above may be held by customs and Swissmedic will be asked for instruction whether the import will be allowed or refused.
Products containing DHEA may be subject for rejection.
Products containing drugs or antibiotics need an import license from Swissmedic.
For detailed information please contact Swissmedic before placing the order on www.swissmedic.ch or phone ++41 31 322 02 11.
Import delays may occur.
- The invoice must include a description of the part, the type of machine for which the part is used, and a list of the part's components.
- Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store, UPS Customer Center or ISC Approved Shipper to ship personal effects.
The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc, UPS Customer Center or ISC approved shipper will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.
Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.
All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:
An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation (holidays, move, relocation) A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only A photocopy of passport or ID card Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.
Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food can not be cleared as personal effects.
Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.
- All goods containing precious metals like gold, silver or platinum must be checked by an authority called EKM (Edel Metall Kontroll) prior to release. The EKM decides on physical inspection or release without inspection. In any case, the shipments show a delay in time-in-transit.
- Samples of "no commercial value" must be indicated on all export documentation. Samples can be imported VAT and duty free if they are marked or mutilated. There is no value limit for mutilated samples if the purpose of the shipment is to secure future orders. If marking or mutilation is not reasonable (example: garments for a fashion show), samples valued less than 100.00 Swiss Francs per commodity group (different qualities, colors and other differences customary in trade) can be imported VAT and duty free.
Shipments for personal use or goods intended for sale cannot be classified as samples.
- Customs requires an Import License issued by the 'Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen' (Federal Veterinary Office) in Bern, if the goods originated in Europe and the weight exceeds 20.0 kg (44.0 lbs.), or if the goods originated outside of Europe and the weight exceeds 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs.).
If the stated weight limits will be exceeded, then the shipper must provide a Health Certificate to accompany the shipment. The Health Certificate must be original and must be stamped and signed by the official agency in the export country or territory. Photocopies of the Health Certificate will not be accepted. A veterinarian will inspect the shipment at import. Import delays may occur and accessorial charges may apply.
- The invoice must indicate whether the material is an update or an original program. V.A.T. must be paid on the "intellectual" value of the data or program. License fees and maintenance contract costs are subject to V.A.T. Customs authorities request the carrier to contact the importer and to send a questionnaire in order to get confirmation about the commodity value of every software shipment. This may cause a delay in Customs clearance. It is recommended not to send software to Switzerland using the Free Domicile (F/D) billing option since high amounts of import charges (VAT) may apply. Depending on the type of enterprise, the consignee may be able to reclaim V.A.T. from the tax authorities.
- Most of modern test reagents for diagnostic research are built on antibodies which are generated from animal tissue. There are two types of antibodies, the monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal antibodies.
Monoclonal antibodies are generated in vitro. Tissue from animals are taken (e.g. blood) and infected with certain substances or pathogens. The blood cells react with the production of antibodies which are than harvested and used for the production of the test kits. Due to the in vitro production and the controlled way of production those types of test kits are not subject to veterinarian control if it is a commercial production.
Polyclonal antibodies are gained from living animals like rabbits. They are infected with the substances / pathogens and the animals are producing antibodies. The antibodies are harvested from the blood stream of the animals. Test reagents with polyclonal antibodies are subject to vet inspections.
Shipment documents (commercial invoice or declaration on letterhead) should include:
the place of origin of the material
the quantity of the material, in weight or volume
a description of the material/ animal source
catalogue number and price (if available)
additives (e.g., sodium azide, glycerol), their source (e.g., whole serum, supernatant, ascites), and purification, if any.
protocols the recommended protocol or datasheet indicating any unique fixation, detergent, blocking, or incubation conditions.
the intended use (commercial/ manufacturing; research/ testing)
the name and address of the shipper
the name and address of the receiver
Commercially packaged, ready-to-use In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) containing products of animal of origin, do not require a Vet-inspection, if compliant with Directive 98/79/EC on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices. A declaration of conformity (CE-marking) must be provided for each individual commodity (e.g. reagents, test kits, immunosorbent assays such as ELISA kits.
- The invoice must include the kind of material and composition (for example, 100 percent cotton), whether it is knitted or woven, the unit price and weight, and whether the item is made for a male, female, or child. A Certificate of Origin is not required. (Please also see "Samples")
- Data shipments require an invoice with the character of the USB stick (storing intercompany data) and the value of the USB Stick.
- For further information please see 'Animal Products'.
- For further information please see 'Nutritional Supplements'.
- For products that contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs (for example, cosmetics, paints, varnish, dye, and others), the percentage of the VOC must be declared on the invoice and on the customs declaration.
If this information is not given, the importer must be contacted. Import delays may occur.
Commodities containing VOC are subject to special taxation