If unassessed goods (goods on which duty has not been paid) are transported through Switzerland, the import duties must be secured temporarily (through a cash deposit or a guarantee). Any applicable bans or restrictions must also be observed.
The most important international transit procedures in commercial goods traffic are the common transit procedure (CTP) and the TIR procedure.
Information on the transit of personal goods in tourist traffic is available at the following link: Transit through Switzerland with personal goods.
Common Transit Procedure (CTP)
The CTP is a simple and cost-efficient way to transport goods through several countries. For this purpose, a guarantee must be paid in the country in which the transit procedure originates. The guarantee is then released upon proper completion of the procedure.
The CTP is currently employed in the EU and the EFTA countries with respect to road, rail and air traffic. The procedure (also known as NCTS - New Computerized Transit System) is carried out electronically. The transit accompanying document generated by the system when the procedure is initiated serves as the customs document and must accompany the consignment.
The transit procedure also indicates whether the goods are in free circulation within the EU ("T 2" goods) or whether they are other goods ("T 1" goods).
The transit procedure is tied to a transit period within which the goods must be presented to the customs office of destination. The goods are identified by means of a precise description (type of goods, quantity, article/serial number, etc.) or with a customs seal (customs lead seal, tyden seal, etc.).
As the transit procedure is carried out electronically, a corresponding program and an IT connection with Customs are required. Haulage companies or customs clearance agencies have such a connection.
Further information on the NCTS system for electronic transit declarations is available at the following link: NCTS.
TIR procedure (Transports Internationaux Routiers)
The TIR procedure applies only to goods which are transported by road. In principle, TIR transit must always be carried out in bond. The TIR procedure is broader in geographic scope than the CTP agreement, and it is used in over sixty countries: IRU - TIR Geographic Scope.
The Carnet TIR is used in transit as the international customs document. At the same time, this document constitutes a financial guarantee for payment of the deferred customs duties and taxes. The security payment system is administered by the International Road Transport Union (IRU).
Swiss Carnet TIRs are issued by ASTAG (Swiss road transport association). Further details on this topic are available at: ASTAG International.
You leave the EU Customs Union when transiting through Switzerland. To ensure unproblematic exportation and re-importation into the EU, contact all relevant customs administrations beforehand:
For Italy: http://www.agenziadogane.it/
For Germany: http://www.zoll.de/
For France: www.douane.gouv.fr
For Austriche: www.bmf.gv.at/zoll
For other countries: WCO - National Customs Website