Temporary importation

Important: Note the effect of a change of intended use, user and owner.

The temporary admission procedure is intended for foreign goods which are used in the customs territory only for a limited period of time and do not have to be released into free circulation.

Import tax is generally to be levied only on foreign goods that remain in Switzerland permanently. It is usually not justified to levy duties if the imported goods are re-exported after being used temporarily.

Customs declarations for the temporary importation procedure can be made using the customs declaration for temporary admission (ZAVV; standard procedure), the ATA carnet and other customs declarations in hard copy.

Customs declaration forms

Customs declaration for temporary admission (ZAVV) 

In the case of a written customs declaration, form no. 11.73 (PDF, 858 kB, 15.10.2010) (security in the form of a surety bond) or form no. 11.74 (PDF, 856 kB, 15.10.2010) (security in the form of a cash deposit) is to be used.

Form no. 11.87 (PDF, 769 kB, 15.10.2010) (see Termination of the customs procedure) is to be used upon re-exportation to complete the procedure.

Goods for exhibitions can be decelerated with a simplified customs declaration (Form. 11.75 (PDF, 38 kB, 27.06.2013)) at the custom offices in Basel-St. Jacob (Messezollstelle), Zurich and Geneva Palexpo.

ATA carnet

In certain cases, an ATA carnet may also be presented for customs declaration purposes. Special provisions apply for the ATA carnet; more information on this is available on this site: ATA carnet.

Other customs declarations in hard copy

Goods for trade fairs can be declared at the Basel-St. Jakob Messe, Zurich and Geneva Palexpo trade fair customs offices using a simplified trade fair version of the ZAVV (form 11.75).


Customs offices require security (deposit) for the temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV. It amounts to the duty which would have been payable in the event of permanent importation (release into free circulation). The security can be provided by means of a cash deposit, a surety bond from a customs agency or a securities deposit.

In the case of full and punctual re-exportation of all goods, the deposit is refunded or the surety bond released. 

Scope of application

Almost all goods can be imported with the temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV. From the very beginning, however, the goods in question must be used only for a limited period of time in Switzerland. Moreover, it must be possible to determine the identity. The main categories of goods for the temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV include professional equipment, contractor equipment and goods for exhibitions.

The goods must be re-exported in the same state. Only usage and goods maintenance measures are permitted.

The temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV is not permitted for defective goods that are imported in order to be repaired. The inward processing procedure is to be used for that purpose. Information is available at the following link: Processing traffic.

Duration of temporary admission

The temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV is generally restricted to two years.

Customs offices may, under certain conditions, extend the duration of the temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV by one year up to three times. Extension requests must be submitted in writing to the customs office that carried out the temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV before expiry of the ZAVV.

In the case of goods where temporary admission lasts more than two years, for each commenced month from the 25th month onwards, the customs duties payable will be set at 3% of the amount that would have been levied at the time of the first importation if the goods had been definitively imported into Switzerland.

Special rules apply for horses; information is available at: Horses - Temporary importation.

Multiple border crossings

The temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV is generally intended for one-off importation and re-exportation abroad. Partial consignments may be exported.

Customs offices can approve repeated border crossings for certain goods.

Intended purpose "for possible sale"

In the case of "goods for possible sale", the temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV may be requested only if the owner of the goods is domiciled or resident abroad.

Value added tax

Value added tax is payable on the remuneration (consideration/rent) for the temporary use of the goods. Taxation ensues when the customs procedure is completed (taxation of consideration).

If no remuneration is charged, or only a reduced rate, the market value that would have been charged by an independent third party for an identical transaction is decisive for taxation purposes. Further information on value added tax is available at the following link: Value added tax.

Completion of the customs procedure

The goods are to be re-exported abroad to duly complete the temporary admission procedure with a ZAVV. Conclusion must be requested at the customs office of export before the ZAVV expires using form no. 11.87, Customs declaration "Temporary admission/Conclusion". The original counterfoil from form no. 11.73 or 11.74 must also be presented.

If the goods remain in Switzerland permanently (in free circulation), they must be declared for importation.


The temporary admission procedure is usually time-consuming and involves additional costs. In many cases, permanent importation with final settlement of the applicable import duties is easier and less expensive.