Imports from third countries

Third countries are all countries apart from the EU Member States, Northern Ireland, Iceland and Norway. Animals and goods may only be imported from third countries subject to specified conditions. It is not possible to import animals and goods from all countries.

Animals and goods containing materials of animal origin may only be imported from third countries if those countries, regions and establishments have been licensed for the import of the goods and animals in question. Furthermore, in the case of foods containing ingredients of animal origin, the country must also operate an EU-recognised residue monitoring plan. Depending on the type of shipment, further aspects may also have to be taken into consideration in addition to veterinary health and species protection provisions, e.g. customs and agricultural aspects.

Border veterinary inspections

Animals and products containing material of animal origin must be inspected by the veterinary border service on import or during transit. The animals and animal products that are subject to border veterinary inspections are laid down in Article 6 of the Federal Department of Home Affairs Ordinance on the Import, Transit and Export of Animals and Animal Products in Transactions with Third Countries. They must be imported by air (with air waybill). The fees for border veterinary inspections are set in accordance with the FSVO Fees Ordinance. The species protection inspection that is mandatory for the import of protected animals and parts of or products derived from them must also be borne in mind.

elTRA interface and customs declaration

At the time of customs declaration, the elTRA interface checks to ensure that animals and goods with animal with an animal component have undergone a border veterinary inspection (see “More information” below).

Control requirement for certain marine fishery products

The ordinance on controlling the lawful origin of imported marine fishery products comes into force on1 March 2017. As from this date, certain consignments of marine fishery products are subject to controls and must be registered with the FSVO for document inspection (see Illegal fishing).

Mandatory TRACES certification

All shipments that are subject to border veterinary inspection must be cleared in the TRACES system. Importers, establishments of destination and individuals involved in the import process who are required to register must therefore register in TRACES.

Protective measures

It is the responsibility of the importer to comply with the import provisions. The protective measures in force on the day of import apply in all cases.

Aspects relating to legislation on species protection

Certain animal and plant species are additionally subject to species conservation regulations. Please check the conservation status in the CITES species list (see "Further information") and select the corresponding category using the detailed query option (see also imports of protected animal and plant species).

What do you want to import?

Select the appropriate criteria under Import to obtain details of the import conditions.

More information


If you have any questions about the enforcement of legislation concerning imports, please contact the competent cantonal authorities. Questions concerning the import provisions governing protected species should be addressed to the FSVO.

Last modification 20.02.2024

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