Certain commodities that are taken on travels abroad – including e.g. souvenirs, musical instruments and also tableware – consist of materials from protected animals and plants or carry health risks.
This page concerns private travels with objects of relevance to species conservation laws or aspects of health.
Commodities and souvenirs that are subject to species protection or a potential danger to health
A piece of coral, a belt made of elephant hide or sandalwood incense sticks – the range of souvenirs on offer is huge. But in many cases, importing them into Switzerland is either prohibited under species conservation laws or is only permitted with an import licence. Musical instruments that are taken on travels abroad may also consist of parts or materials from protected animal or plant species (see "More information").
In addition, there are souvenirs such as ceramic tableware where caution should be exercised for health reasons. Using ceramic dishes for eating and drinking, for example, can be dangerous because the glazing may contain toxic heavy metals such as lead or cadmium. For more information, see Tableware and kitchen utensils (in French).
So it is worth clarifying what is suitable as a souvenir and what is not suitable before setting off on your travels.
Swiss Customs have produced a Travel and goods app. Travellers can use this to check while they are abroad which goods they allowed to bring in and what can be brought in duty-free.
The WWF has also produced an app WWF Ratgeber (in German only at present) which can be a useful guide on your travels. Souvenirs in the categories Prohibited, With Permit and No Permit are listed under Souvenirs.
Last modification 03.07.2023