Temporary importation

Attention: please note this information:

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. The customs temporary admission procedure with a temporary admission procedure form (ZAVV) was created for cases such as this.

Temporary admission procedure forms

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.


Customs offices require security (deposit) for the temporary admission procedure in an amount equivalent to the duty which would be payable in the event of permanent importation (release into free circulation). The sum 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. From the outset, however, they must be goods that are used solely on a temporary basis in Switzerland. Moreover, it must be possible to determine the identity. The main categories of goods for the temporary admission procedure include professional equipment, goods for exhibitions and trade fairs.

Changes to the goods are not permitted, with the exception of usage and maintenance measures. The temporary admission procedure may not be requested 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 is generally restricted to two years.

A one-year extension of the duration of the temporary admission procedure may be requested no more than three times. Extension requests must be submitted in writing to the customs office that carried out the temporary admission procedure before the current period has expired.

In the case of goods where temporary admission lasts more than two years, for each full month (or part thereof) from the 25th month onwards, customs duties will be set at 3% of the amount that would have been payable in the event of definitive import assessment.

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

Single or multiple border crossings

The temporary admission procedure is generally applied for one-off importation and re-exportation abroad; partial exports are possible. Horses, commercial samples and means of transport may be brought across the border repeatedly if this is specifically requested.

Special case: "Goods for possible sale"

In the case of "goods for possible sale", the temporary admission procedure may be requested only if the owner of the goods (natural person or company) is domiciled abroad. If the owner is domiciled in Switzerland, the assessment has to be authorised by the District Directorate of Customs in the respective canton of domicile: District Directorates of Customs.

Value added tax

Value added tax is due on the remuneration for the use of the goods (consideration/rent). 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. Additional information on VAT is available at the following link: Value added tax.

Termination of the customs procedure

Upon termination of the temporary admission procedure, the goods are re-exported. Conclusion as such has to be requested at the export customs office 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 goods remain in Switzerland permanently (in free circulation), they must be declared for importation.


Although the temporary admission procedure does make it possible to save on duties, it is associated with costly monitoring measures. Depending on the circumstances, permanent importation with final settlement of the applicable import duties could be less expensive.

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 the ATA carnet site.