Are you planning a trip to Switzerland with your pet?
The import rules for animals in this country closely adhere to the customs requirements of many other countries, but there are certain conditions to keep in mind:
- A maximum of 5 animals can be imported by a single individual, and a license from the FSVO (Swiss Federal Veterinary Control Service) is required for importing more than 5 pets. If more than 5 animals are brought in, it is considered as import for commercial purposes.
- Import of dogs with docked ears or tails is not allowed.
- Swiss Airlines do not allow brachycephalic dog breeds.
It is essential to keep in mind that obtaining the Veterinary Certificate Form 1 (based on the animal's veterinary passport) from a state veterinarian must be done at least 2 to 3 days prior to departure. Upon arrival at the airport, the Veterinary Certificate Form 1 must be exchanged at the veterinary service for the Veterinary Certificate Form 5a on the day of departure. The Certificate needs to include all necessary information about the animal, including the chip number, vaccination history (including rabies vaccination), and the country and city of final destination.
International veterinary passport. An international veterinary passport for an animal is a required document for entry into Switzerland, with information on veterinary exams and routine vaccinations recorded within. A valid rabies vaccination, conducted at least 1 month prior to the date of entry must also be included in the passport. If less than 3 weeks have passed since vaccination, confirmation must be provided that the animal did not have any contact with wild animals prior to entry. This rule only applies to animals under the age of 16 weeks. All other pets can enter the country 21 days after receiving the anti-Rabies vaccination.
Microchip. Pets that are transported across international borders are required to have a microchip (one that follows the ISO 11784 standard) for identification purposes. This chip is safe and does not cause any harm to your pet. Without it, international travel for your pet will not be allowed.
Vaccination. As a requirement for entering Switzerland with a pet, it is important to keep in mind that rabies vaccination is mandatory. Entry with the animal will only be allowed at least 21 days after vaccination. If follow-up vaccines are administered prior to the expiration of the current vaccine, no quarantine period will be needed.
Rabies Antibody titer test. It is important to schedule a Rabies Antibody titer test at least 12 months, but no more than 3 months before transporting the animal. The test must be conducted by a certified laboratory, with the neutralizing antibodies' titer at least 0.5 IU / ml to be eligible for entry to Switzerland.
Customs and flight
A reservation for an airline ticket for the pet must be made in advance. Airline staff must be informed about the presence of the kennel with a pet, as there is a limited number of pets allowed in the cabin and cargo sections of the aircraft. A suitable kennel must be prepared specifically for transportation purposes, taking into account the necessary requirements.
In-depth information regarding the rules for the animals import into Switzerland can be found at either the Swiss embassy or consulate.
It's recommended to refer to the website of the Federal Agency for Food Safety and Veterinary Medicine for further details - Bundesamt für Lebensmittelsicherheit und Veterinärwesen.
Can animals under 12 weeks of age be imported into Switzerland?
Yes, there is such an option, but it's subject to certain conditions:
- An animal must have a valid veterinary passport and microchip;
- Animals of this age are permitted to enter without a primal rabies vaccination, as long as the owner can confirm that there has been no contact with wild animals since their birth.
What are the regulations pertaining to the import of animals aged between 12 and 16 weeks into Switzerland?
First and foremost, the animal must be in possession of a veterinary passport and a microchip. Secondly, they must be vaccinated against rabies (must be at least 12 weeks old before the vaccination). The 21-day waiting period after the vaccination does not apply if they are also accompanied by a statement from the owner confirming that they have not had contact with wild animals since their birth.
Are there any potential pitfalls or surprises when transporting pets to Switzerland?
Dogs imported to Switzerland for permanent residence are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT).
One important piece of information to keep in mind is that in Switzerland, upon arrival of your animal companion, it must be examined by the veterinary service or else it will be confiscated and sent back to the country of origin at your expense.