Travelling with pets

Anyone planning to travel with pets should complete the formalities well in advance. The travel regulations for pets are not the same as those governing the commercial import and export of animals. 

Travelling with pets

The regulations for animals differ depending on whether an individual is travelling with a pet or animals are being commercially imported or exported. The information on these pages is intended solely for individuals with pets who do not intend to sell or give their animals to other people or institutions.

What are pets?

Pets are defined as animals accompanying their owners or a person authorised by the owner. They may not be sold or transferred to new owners. The animals must feature in the following list:

  • Dogs, cats, ferrets
  • Rodents and rabbits other than those intended for food production
  • Birds: specimens of avian species other than those referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2009/158/EC.
  • Reptiles and amphibians
  • Ornamental aquatic animals
  • Invertebrates (except bees, bumble bees, molluscs and crustaceans)
     

Dogs, cats and ferrets and birds are subject to particular animal health regulations when travelling because there is a danger of their introducing diseases from another country.

Exotic pets

Non-native wild animals are also kept as pets. This category includes special bird species, reptiles, spiders, scorpions, rodents, corals, fish, wild cats etc. Please take note of the relevant sections below.

Travelling with pets

Leaving Switzerland

When leaving Switzerland, the regulations of the destination country must always be observed.

Leaving Switzerland with pets of a protected species

The FSVO issues certificates of ownership to cover holidays or short stays in the EU with pets of protected species. The animal's owner (or a person authorised by the owner) must have the certificate stamped by the customs authority in Switzerland and in the destination country every time a border is crossed with the animal. The animal's return to Switzerland is covered by the certificate of ownership.
The application form (see "More information") for a certificate of ownership must be completed in full, signed and sent by post to the FSVO. Once issued (the fee is CHF 50), the the certificate of ownership is not valid until it has been signed by the animal's owner. The certificate is valid for three years and can be extended after this period has elapsed.

When the owner and animal travel with this certificate of ownership to an EU country for the first time, the EU requires a comparable European certificate of ownership. This is issued by the CITES authority in the first country of destination. The European certificate of ownership must be ordered in good time before the animal leaves Switzerland.

Entering Switzerland

Almost all pets that meet the definition can enter Switzerland from any country without approval from the veterinary health authority or a health certificate. Special conditions apply to dogs, cats, ferrets and birds. Not more than 5 pets may be imported from third countries.
These animals may not enter Switzerland if specific protective measures are in place.

Entering Switzerland with pets of a protected species

Approval is not required for holidays or short stays in Switzerland with an animal of a protected species provided that the animal is travelling with its owner (or a person authorised by the owner) and the owner holds a certificate of ownership.
Both entry and exit must be confirmed on the supplementary sheet by the customs authority. The necessary certificate of ownership is issued by the competent species conservation authority in the country of origin.

More Information

Last modification 02.08.2018

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