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.
It is currently unclear what status the United Kingdom will have after leaving the European Union on 29 March 2019. In the event of an exit without agreement, the import conditions for third countries will apply from 30 March 2019.
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)
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
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.
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.
Import permit application
Be careful when importing souvenirs made from protected species. Find out about the import restrictions before you return home.
Last modification 05.02.2019