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Old 26.06.2016, 21:51
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importing personal belongings

Hi
I'm driving to Switzerland next week and my family are following a few weeks later. most of our furniture and belongings are coming over with a removals company who will handle customs etc.
Question is this. When I arrive next week I will be bringing a bike and a few other items along with a large suitcase of clothes.
Do I need to declare everthing at the boarder or just large items like the bike etc...
Kevin
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Old 26.06.2016, 23:35
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Re: importing personal belongings

Should be fine with a suitcase of used clothes. But if you have anything new, make sure you cut labels off and crease them a bit. One guy recently crossed out local border saying to customs' he had just personal stuff- but when they checked he had boxes of brand new shoes, and brand new clothes with labels and got into trouble. For your bike- again, is it new or used? If it is clearly used, you should be ok.

But what about the car? Are you importing this as part of your move? In which case make sure you go through the proper behaviour or it will catch up with you later.
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Old 26.06.2016, 23:48
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Re: importing personal belongings

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Hi
I'm driving to Switzerland next week and my family are following a few weeks later. most of our furniture and belongings are coming over with a removals company who will handle customs etc.
Question is this. When I arrive next week I will be bringing a bike and a few other items along with a large suitcase of clothes.
Do I need to declare everthing at the boarder or just large items like the bike etc...
Kevin
My own experience is from the Basle border...
I go through it about every 4 or 5 weeks and in 3 years been stopped only 3 or 4 times. Each time I just stated I was moving stuff from my home in the UK to Zurich and they just waved me through.
I regularly bring a car load of goodies and food from the UK with no problems and have even brought in new laptops and bikes.....including a new roof rack to cvarry them....it can just be a matter of luck...the main thing is that stuff should be over six months old...so should they ask about your bike etc, just state they are quite old and you'll probably not have a problem.

If you have anything new...remove labels and I usually dispose of packaging in the UK too.
I have had friends going through the Swiss/ German border that had their car stripped and all suitcases checked......they had been on a massive clothes buying spree but had removed all labels etc.
Generally there shouldn't be any problems, just prepare to be stopped and asked......by the way, the times I have been stopped has been twice in a UK registered car and twice in a Swiss.
Obviate the opportunity to be stopped by buying a vignette in advance.....
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Old 27.06.2016, 00:41
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Re: importing personal belongings

I'm guessing we're assuming you have your residency permit already?
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Old 27.06.2016, 00:50
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Re: importing personal belongings

Odile, Stoker177 -- not cool to advocate illegal behaviour.

OP -- if you get caught smuggling items as suggested by the above two posters, you will be penalised up to three times the amount of the VAT avoided, plus the VAT (i.e. up to 32% of the assessed value of the goods you're smuggling), plus potentially a fine on top.

Just man up and pay the low VAT charged by the Swiss customs people. Also remember that you have a VAT-free limit of CHF 300 per person per day that you can use.

Anyway, OP, the answer to your question is declare everything at the border.
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Old 27.06.2016, 00:51
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Re: importing personal belongings

Clothes are used and the bike is a couple of years old.

The car is coming back in a few weeks

So I don't need to stop the border crossing unless asked to, that what I was unsure of really.

Thanks for your help

Kevin
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Old 27.06.2016, 00:53
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Re: importing personal belongings

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Clothes are used and the bike is a couple of years old.

The car is coming back in a few weeks

So I don't need to stop the border crossing unless asked to, that what I was unsure of really.

Thanks for your help

Kevin
I guess you cross-posted with me.

Yes, you do need to stop at the border crossing -- especially if you are importing your car.
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Old 27.06.2016, 00:59
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Re: importing personal belongings

OK thanks

I'm not importing the car, just using it for 3 weeks while I get my car in Switzerland.
I plan to drive home again and fly back with the family

So it sounds like I won't have any tax to pay but I should stop anyhow. That was My back up plan
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Old 27.06.2016, 01:06
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Re: importing personal belongings

If you're coming as a "tourist" then you don't need to stop. If you're importing household effects as part of a move to Switzerland then you do. You just need to fill out the form like for your other stuff and stop and declare. I had all the forms ready but arrived too late with the car loaded to the roof with stuff, on UK plates, stopped to buy a vignette then simply carried on my way. That was at the French border. Otterbach border almost never has anyone on it.
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Old 27.06.2016, 01:09
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Re: importing personal belongings

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OK thanks

I'm not importing the car, just using it for 3 weeks while I get my car in Switzerland.
I plan to drive home again and fly back with the family

So it sounds like I won't have any tax to pay but I should stop anyhow. That was My back up plan
"Importing" here means bringing it into the country as a non-tourist and for that you need to declare it. Not that it's right but I also didn't formally declare my car for some weeks after I had it here.
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Old 27.06.2016, 01:15
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Re: importing personal belongings

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Yes, you do need to stop at the border crossing -- especially if you are importing your car.
Sorry that is not actually correct....you only need to stop if directed by a customs officer and/or if you have new items you wish to declare.....you may continue through if it is unmanned...however, if you are carrying 'new' items you may want to decide if it would be 'sensible' to declare them if they are of a value above ( I believe) CHF 300 per person.
In reality, it may be technically correct, but its a matter of common sense if you bother to stop to declare a tin of beans....
Quite frankly.....its a personal decision....I can't be assed and I bet the vast majority of regular travellers can't either...as previously stated I've been stopped, had the car checked and the customs officers have just said ok when I say its personal stuff and waived me through....why would anyone bother to stop if the customs post is unmanned?? Bizarre
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Old 27.06.2016, 01:19
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Re: importing personal belongings

Btw 22Yards..I know this is tongue in cheek.....but if the Swiss are so stiff???

From your own profile...."How about my Mercedes-Benz ML 500 -- perfect for smuggling low-paid Euro-workers across the Channel!"
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Old 27.06.2016, 01:57
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Re: importing personal belongings

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Sorry that is not actually correct....
Sorry, it is exactly factually correct.

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you only need to stop if directed by a customs officer and/or if you have new items you wish to declare.....you may continue through if it is unmanned...
And that is incorrect. You must stop and declare any items that are subject to VAT or duty, whether you wish to or not. If the border crossing is unmanned, you must fill out a form (provided at every crossing) and deposit it in the box provided. In typical Swiss fashion, you'll be invoiced later for the tax payable.

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In reality, it may be technically correct, but its a matter of common sense if you bother to stop to declare a tin of beans...
Yes, in reality, it is indeed technically correct. I believe we all live in the real world -- at least, you'll find out you do if/when you get caught smuggling, either at the border or at a checkpoint well within it. As for the tin of beans, as already stated, there is a CHF 300 (pre-tax) tax-free allowance per person. Unless they're really extra-special beans, or it's a very large can, I wouldn't declare it.

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as previously stated I've been stopped, had the car checked and the customs officers have just said ok when I say its personal stuff and waived me through...
As stated, if you're importing used personal items, and the Customs official believes you, then you won't have to pay any tax.

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Btw 22Yards..I know this is tongue in cheek.....but if the Swiss are so stiff???

From your own profile...."How about my Mercedes-Benz ML 500 -- perfect for smuggling low-paid Euro-workers across the Channel!"
You said it.

And I'm not Swiss, nor is the vast majority of this forum's readership. But when we interact with the Swiss -- like moving to their country, along with all our worldly possessions -- I think it's a reasonable idea to follow Swiss customs (no pun intended), one of the most popular of which is to obey the law. Scrupulously.

In any case, Switzerland has no border with the English Channel.

Last edited by 22 yards; 28.06.2016 at 00:27. Reason: Finished off a phrase
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