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New regulations have been announced concerning the amount of merchandise that you can bring over the border from France into Switzerland.

From 1July, anyone traveling through customs, will be able to bring up to Fr. 300.- of goods per day for their own personal consumption, or as a gift to someone else, duty free. Any goods over this amount will be subject to 8% TVA, or 2.5% TVA for goods such as books and non-alcoholic drinks.

As before, there will also be limits on the quantity of goods brought through customs. However, there are some changes. Notably you can bring:

  • 1kg of meat (Includes meat and meat products derived from all animal species, excluding wild animals, fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates.)
  • 1 kg/l or butter and cream
  • 5kg/l or oils, fats and margarine
  • 5l of alcoholic drinks up to 18% volume (Min age 17)
  • 1l of alcoholic drinks over 18% volume (Min age 17)
  • 250 cigarettes / cigars (Min age 17)
  • 250g of other manufactured tobacco (Min age 17)

The following taxes will apply to any goods, which exceed the limits above:

  • Meat: Fr. 17.- per kg
  • Butter and cream: Fr. 16.- per kg/l
  • Oils, fats, and margarine: Fr. 2.- per kg/l
  • Alcoholic drinks up to 18% volume: Fr. 2.- per l
  • Alcoholic drinks over 18% volume: Fr. 15.- per l
  • Cigarettes or cigars: Fr. 0.25 per item
  • Other manufactured tobacco: Fr. 0.10 per g

It is worth noting that there are no longer any limits on the amount of milk, eggs or cut flowers you bring over the border. However, there is a change in the amount of meat you can bring as this has now all been grouped together under one category, with a total limit of 1kg.

For more information and a detailed explanation of your rights, please visit the website:
http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_privat/04342/04343/index.html?lang=en

For a detailed list of duty-free allowances click here:
http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_privat/04342/04343/05772/index.html?lang=en

Another law that has recently been hitting the news in local press is one relating to driving cars over the border. Following the unfortunate mistake of a recent visitor to Switzerland, it has become apparent that if you own a car in Switzerland and allow visiting friends or relatives from the EU to drive it alone over the border into France there is risk they could receive a massive fine. In short, EU citizens are not allowed to drive in the EU with a non-EU vehicle – even for a day trip – unless they apply for customs clearance beforehand. In the case being cited in the press, one individual was fined close to Fr. 18,000.- for doing just this – equating to 10% of the value of the car in customs costs, plus 19% import tax.

Apparently, there are no such restrictions on EU citizens traveling within Switzerland in your car, or hiring a short term rental car – providing you check with the rental company first. But, don't take our word for it - you should check with the relevant authorities to be absolutely sure.

So if you have visitors coming over this summer and are planning on letting them travel over the border with your car, we strongly recommend that you visit your local customs post beforehand and arm yourself with the facts, along with any requisite documentation.

If you are driving within Switzerland then you may find some useful information here: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/index.html?lang=en. Otherwise check with the customs office of the country in which the car will be driven.