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Import allowances and value limits

Customs duties and value added tax are strictly separated. The exemption limit of 300 swiss francs applies to all goods including tobacco and alcohol. If the value limit is exceeded, Swiss VAT must be paid on the total value. Customs duties are only levied on the excess quantity if the exemption limits are exceeded on meat, meat preparations, butter, cream, oil, fat, margarine, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. All other goods can be imported duty free. Separate regulations apply for moving to Switzerland.

Diagram showing the new import regulations. From when does value added tax have to be paid and how high are the allowances for customs?

Calculation of customs duties and allowances

Type of goods Duty free amount per person and per day Customs duty for the excess quantity in Swiss francs
Meat and meat products 1 kg 17.- per kg
butter and cream 1 kg or 1 litre 16.- per kg or litre
Edible oils, fats and margarine 5 kg or 5 litre 2.- per kg or litre
Beverages up to 18% alcohol content* 5 litre 2.- per litre
Beverages with more than 18% alcohol content*. 1 litre 15.- per litre
Cigarettes* 250 pieces 0.25 per pieces
Tobacco products* 250 grams 0.10 per grams

*For alcohol and tobacco products the minimum age for import is 17 years.

Examples for the import of goods:

You want to import 3 kg of meat into Switzerland. The free quantity is 1 kg, which remains duty-free even if the quantity is exceeded. For the 2 kg additional quantity a duty of 34 Swiss francs ( 17.- per kg ) is due.

You would like to import sporting goods worth 250 Swiss Francs. This import is duty free.

You wish to import clothing, 1 litre of alcohol over 18% vol. and 200 cigarettes with a total value of 500 francs. For this, the value added tax 7.7% of 38.50 Swiss francs is due.

You want to import technology worth a total of 400 Swiss francs and 2 kg of meat worth 20 Swiss francs. Then the 7.7% VAT of 30.80 Swiss francs for the technology, 2.5% VAT of 50 centimes for the meat and 17 Swiss francs customs duty also for the meat is due.


The import of animal products from non-EU countries is prohibited. Counterfeits, weapons, animals under species protection and certain plants may also be prohibited or subject to restrictions for import. Further information can be obtained from Swiss customs.

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