Horses that stay temporarily in Switzerland for specific purposes can be imported with a customs declaration for temporary admission (ZAVV). The import tax is levied via a cash deposit or surety bond (security) and is returned only if the ZAVV is duly terminated.
The possible ZAVV purposes are summarised in a table (available in German, French and Italian). This shows the conditions, period of validity and necessary security. Moreover, details are provided on the procedure for extending the ZAVV and whether multiple border crossings are allowed with the same document.
For customs clearance for temporary admission, the following documents must be presented to the customs office:
- Equine passport
- Documents in accordance with the table proving that the purpose requested actually applies (e.g. schooling or training contracts)
- Documents certifying the value
- ZAVV (form 11.73 or 11.74)
Please also note the veterinary rules on the website of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO
If the documents for the declared purpose are not meaningful enough and if the horse owner is domiciled abroad, only a ZAVV for "other purposes" is considered.
While the ZAVV is still valid and insofar as this is permitted in accordance with the table, a written request for a deadline extension can be submitted, together with the original ZAVV and the documents stipulated in the table, to the customs office that originally carried out the clearance.
If the animal is not re-exported during the period of validity of the ZAVV, the holder of the ZAVV undertakes to pay the highest amount of import duty (out-of-quota tariff rate, AKZA) applicable at the time of issue, expiry or import customs clearance from the ZAVV.
Improper use of customs clearance for temporary admission, e.g. providing false information regarding the purpose of importation, will result in cancellation of the clearance for temporary admission and the levying of import tax.
If there are doubts as to whether the case genuinely concerns temporary admission into Switzerland, the customs offices are entitled to refuse clearance with a ZAVV.
The ZAVV is a national customs document and is intended only for temporary importation into and re-exportation out of Switzerland. Therefore, it is necessary to enquire about the customs formalities in the country of origin.
Horse owners resident abroad may also use an ATA Carnet for certain purposes (see table). Additional information about the ATA Carnet can be obtained from your local chamber of commerce.