The Swiss customs territory

The customs territory is the territory of Switzerland and its customs union areas, not including the customs exclusion areas.

  • Customs union areas are foreign territories that are part of the Swiss customs territory based on international treaties or customary international law. Customs union areas are the Principality of Liechtenstein and municipality of Büsingen near Schaffhausen.
  • The municipality of Campione d’Italia was part of the Swiss customs territory until 31/12/2019. On 1/1/2020, the Italian exclave was incorporated into the EU customs territory. Since then, customs controls must be carried out again.
  • Customs exclusion zones are Swiss border areas that are excluded from the customs territory. The only customs exclusion zone in Switzerland is that of the Samnaun and Sampuoir valley communities in Grisons


Customs duty

Principle: all goods brought into or out of the customs territory are subject to customs duties. There is the principle of self-assessment.

Customs assessment

The amount of duty is determined according to the type, quantity and nature of the goods at the time they are declared at the customs office or, in the case of pre-declared goods, at the time they are actually brought into the customs territory

Unlike most other countries, Switzerland levies customs duties based on gross weight, unless the customs tariff provides for exceptions such as number of pieces, litres, metres, etc.

The reason for the weight assessment goes back to the past and is intended to enable the customs officer to calculate customs duties without any outside information. The weight or the number of pieces can be determined by the customs officer himself, whereas the value requires correct information from the declarant.

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