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Old 25.03.2015, 03:38
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Bringing Cat from US to CH

Did anyone recently just bring their cat from the US (California) to Switzerland (ZRH) ? We will be relocating in the summer.
The cat has the right microchip and is up to date with shots. If anyone recently just made that move, I would love to hear your feedback on how it all went. What does it look like to travel with your cat? I am hoping to bring him with me in the cabin... (I will check with the airline about weight and size).
Also, did you bring a leash to go through the customs? Did you need to take your cat out at the airport? Any advise is appreciated.
Thanks in advance, Karin
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Old 25.03.2015, 10:47
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

We brought our cat from Canada nearly two years ago. I'd imagine the procedure is the same from the US. The cat will have to have a medical exam within 10 days of departure from the US which has to be stamped by a veterinary officer.
We took our cat in the cabin, our cat is quite small, a large cat would be to heavy to take in the cabin. We bought a good lockable, soft shell carry bag to bring her. And we put a little harness on her so we could let her walk around on the leash a bit and for customs. We had to take her out of the bag for security checks, so we were glad we brought the leash for safety. Plus we had a long delay at the departure and were able to let her out of the bag a bit in the departure lounge.
Do not sedate your cat, as it can be dangerous. We sprayed the bag with a Feliway spray to help calm her, and put a puppy pad in the bottom, in case she peed, and brought an extra one in case we'd have to change it mid flight. During the flight we stuck our hand in through the zipper to pet her and calm her, as you cannot take her out of the bag.

We did have some trouble procuring one way flights, where the cat could go in the cabin, as they were either charging us outrageous prices for a one way flight (cheaper to buy a two-way ticket) or wanted the cat in the hold. In the end we flew Condor to Frankfurt and then switched to Swiss.
Overall it went very well, she did not pee until we got to customs in Switzerland. We did have to take her out of the bag and show the paperwork and they checked the microchip, that was all.
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Old 25.03.2015, 10:55
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Check on the Swiss Vet Office website and use their online tool to make sure you've got everything correct.

http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/04670...x.html?lang=en

The main problem may be that her chip isn't readable by a European machine so see if you can check on that.
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Old 25.03.2015, 13:01
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

We just brought our dog back from Cali .
Write the vet to get all the documents . Have the vet fill them out (remember you are paying for this) and it can only be done 10 days before you leave.

OUr dog had a soft carrier and Ill be honest he was outside of the carrier during the flight This is NOT allowed but otherwise he would have cried the whole way there. He also got a pill from the vet to chill. He is to remain underneath the seat by your feet.... .

Do not let the animal out at anytime in the airport . You will get yelled at.
except at customs when you hold him as the carrier goes through.

We paid $125 for his "ticket" and keep in mind not all flights take animals and you must call ahead to see if possible

oh and I have NEver been checked with an animal in the airport except for check in. 5x now at customs upon arrival I walked right through with no paperwork checked....
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Old 25.03.2015, 18:03
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Don't forget to spend a moment here to get your feline acclimatized on arrival.......

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Old 26.03.2015, 04:33
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Good point, thanks.

Thank you all! This helps me picture this whole adventure a bit clearer.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 26.03.2015 at 17:28. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 27.03.2015, 22:23
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Hi Karin,

We too are moving from Cali to Geneva in June with a cat. I am going through the process of arranging it all, actually going to vet today to discuss and make sure that she know what she needs to do. Also have been emailing the Swiss Border Vet and they are pretty good about replying quickly to questions.
What I understand is yes, microchip needed, EU compliant, Rabies booster AFTER the microchip is inserted so it can be recorded. Rabies given not less than 21 days BEFORE flying (so you see there is an order to things). Health certificate (good luck deciphering the "model" on the website!) issues within 10 days of flying.
We booked our cat on direct flight out of LA to Zurich on SwissAir with my hubby because it is summer and I don't want him sitting in a hot plane or tarmac on connections. He is too big to carry on so he will go in hold. I just got a Pet Mate Sky Kennel in the mail today. THat is the most recommended one and I got it pretty large so if he pees or poos or spills water, he has room to avoid lying in it.

Anyhoo, I have a looong list of clarifications for the Swiss Border Vet regarding their paperwork requirements. I am happy to share with you any information I get from them that might be of help - not that I am any authority, but I am asking a lot of questions because I do not want to get there and have them put my cat back on a plane because I am missing a stamp or a French word somewhere :0 While I am at it, may I ask what moving company you are using? Best,Jen
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Old 30.03.2015, 17:40
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Thank you! That was helpful. I think that our cat will fly like yours. We have a large cat that weights 17 pounds.. I am almost certain that he would be more comfi being with cargo instead of a tiny box. Not sure yet.
As for the moving company, we have not yet decided if we are going to use a moving company. What are you going to use?
It would be nice to exchange more information - since we are both going through the same. (We will be flying from SFO) - not LA.
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Old 30.03.2015, 17:43
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

After contacting the blv, here is what I got from them. I thought I would share this here. (Sorry - German only)

Danke für Ihre Anfrage.
Unter folgendem Link finden Sie alle nötigen Informationen für die Einfuhr Ihrer Katze aus den USA in die Schweiz: http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/04670/05325/05326/05328/index.html?lang=de
Die USAgehören zu den risikoarmen Ländern bezüglich Tollwut. Für die Einreise benötigt das Tier folgendes (falls es mit Ihnen im gleichen Flugzeug fliegt):
§ Mikrochip
der Mikrochip muss der ISO-Norm 11784 entsprechen und mit einem Lesegerät gemäss ISO-Norm 11785 ablesbar sein, also ein so genannter „Euro-Chip“, welcher nur Zahlen und keine Sternsymbole „*“ enthält. Andernfalls ist ein geeignetes Lesegerät mitzuführen. (Insbesondere in den USA werden noch viele „nicht kompatible“ Mikrochips hergestellt.)
§ Gültige Tollwutimpfung
Impfen Sie Ihr Tier mindestens 21 Tage vor Einreise. Erfolgt eine Nachimpfung innerhalb der Gültigkeitsdauer der Erstimpfung, so entfällt die Wartefrist. Die Tollwutimpfung wird nur als gültig anerkannt, wenn Sie nach der Implantierung des Mikrochips erfolgt ist.
Veterinärbescheinigung
Muss vom zuständigen Amtstierarzt im Herkunftsland bzw. den zuständigen Behörden (USA) ausgestellt werden. Das Muster der Veterinärbescheinigung finden Sie unter folgendem Link: http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/04670/05325/05326/05328/05334/index.html?lang=de&nbsp%3B=.

Falls Ihre Katze nicht mit Ihnen im gleichen Flugzeug reist, melden Sie sich bitte wieder bei uns, da sich in diesem Fall die Einreisebestimmungen von den oben beschriebenen unterscheiden.
Wir machen Sie darauf aufmerksam, dass Sie bei einer Reise mit Ihren Heimtieren (direkt von USAüber Schweizer Flughafen), welche nicht mit Ihnen in der Passagierkabine, sondern im Flugzeugbauch mitfliegt, unbedingt darauf achten müssen, dass dieses als "AVI in Hold" oder "Overbaggage" eingecheckt werden. Damit ist für alle Beteiligten (Fluggesellschaft, Grenztierärzte, Zoll) klar, dass das Tier von Ihnen begleitet reist, was die Einreise vereinfacht.


Für alle zolltechnischen Fragen, bitten wir Sie, den Zoll zu kontaktieren:
Oberzolldirektion
Monbijoustrasse 40
3003 Bern
Telefon +41 (0)31 322 65 11
email ozd.zentrale@ezv.admin.ch

Für alle Fragen, welche den Transport (Kosten, Technik,…) der Katze im Flugzeug betreffen, kontaktieren Sie bitte die entsprechende Fluggesellschaft.


Freundliche Grüsse
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Old 30.03.2015, 18:32
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Hi again,

So I went to the vet Friday and also contacted Swiss Border Vet twice with a bazillion questions. My experience with the Swiss is that they are very rules based so I pummeled them with questions to make sure I get it all right.
Here is the response I got from Swiss vet today after sending them 11 questions..on both forms they have it says that you have to translate into another language. you will see that is not true...the biggest thing I learned is that within the 10 days before your cat flies you have to Fedex the forms signed by your vet to a USDA vet (there is on in San Fran and one in LA I think) and have them approve it. Send it along with a self addressed Fedex envelope to get it back, or, you can make an appt. at the USDA within those 10 days to get it approved. Also there is a bunch of extra phrasing on the forms that does not apply to low risk rabies countries, but you can just cross it out and use their form. My cat was microchipped with homeaway chip (and then given rabies booster which will be recorded somehow along with the chip), vet says this complies...and yes your cat has to fly in the hold he will weigh to much with his kennel. I got my cat the Sky Kennel intermediate which is the largest Swiss Air allows without extra paperwork and cost. I figured that it will give him a little room to move away from any pee/poo accidents, spilled water, vomit, etc.

Here is what Swiss Border Vet said in two emails FWIW:

"USA belongs to the third countries and is a country with low risk of rabies. Therefore your cat needs the following to enter Switzerland if it flies in the same airplane as you (accompanied):

§ Microchip
The microchip must comply with ISO Standard 11784 and capable of being read by a reading device compatible with ISO Standard 11785. Otherwise a suitable reading device must be brought. Specially in the USA many “incompatible” microchips are still being manufactured. Therefore, make sure your animal is fitted with a so-called “Euro-chip”, which only contains digits as identification code and no asterisks (*).

§ Rabies vaccination
Your cat has to have a valid rabies vaccine. The rabies vaccination is only valid from the 21st day after the end of the vaccination. If a booster vaccination is given within the validity period of the vaccination, the waiting period does not apply. The rabies vaccination has to be related with the microchip. So it has been done after the implantation the microchip.

à It's like you have wrote: The cat needs a new rabies vaccination, because the vaccine(s) before microchipping are not valid for coming into Switzerland. Please note that the waiting period of 21 days after this vaccination must be done.

§ Veterinary health certificate
The cat must be accompanied by an official veterinary health certificate issued by the responsible veterinary officer in the country of origin which can be downloaded from the website http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/04670...x.html?lang=en.

You can find all information for the import of your cat on our website on http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/04670...x.html?lang=en.

Please note: If your cat has to fly in hold instead of in the passenger cabin with you, please make sure it is checked in as “AVI in hold” or “over baggage” so all people involved know that it is travelling accompanied and the owners are in the same plane.

à For two hamsters as pets nothing is necessary, no chip, no vaccination, no document.

"The veterinary certificate / owner declaration can be filled can be completed in English. No other language is required. The English version is ok. Use the form you find on our website. If you use the form on our website it is ok. The owner declaration is part of the veterinary certificate. For further questions concerning the veterinary certificate you must contact an official veterinarian in the US. It’s not up to the importer to fill out the veterinary certificate it should be filled out and signed/stamped by a official veterinarian that is in charge to issue such export documents. In the US I would ask the authorities USDA first if they are in charge for such documents."
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Old 30.03.2015, 21:34
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

I brought my cat with me (in the cabin) from the US to Zurich back in 2009. I realize that was six years ago, and perhaps some things have changed. But from what I've just read here, the requirements seem exactly the same as they were then.

I actually found the process to be surprisingly easy. When I came through customs in Zurich, they just checked her for the microchip, took a quick look at my vet certificate and sent us on our way. It took less than 2 minutes.

One thing you might want to keep in mind is that when you go through airport security, you will probably have to take your cat out of her carrier and hold him/her in your arms as you walk through the metal detector. My cat seemed to do really well in the carrier while on the plane and made no noise or problems whatsoever. (She was 9 yrs. old at the time). One word of advice, though -- try to 'keep it on the low' if you bring your cat in the cabin with you. There was a woman sitting behind me who, once she saw us, began to complain to an attendant that she is allergic.

Also -- make sure with your airline, a day before the flight, that it is okay for you to bring the cat in the cabin with you, if that's your plan. I was told by the US airline that there is a limit on the number of animals allowed and that I had to call just before the flight to get the go-ahead.

I hope the process goes as smoothly for you as it did for me! I'm sure it will. But you're definitely wise to double-check that you've done everything correctly.
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Old 01.04.2015, 07:49
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

My boyfriend lives in Switzerland, I live in usa. He loves my ragdoll cat and we decided to take ragdoll kitten to live with him (when we will move together we will have two ) So first we tried to buy kitten in Switzerland, but somehow everywhere in europe ragdolls selling in pairs only (3 cats altogether is way too much) so I bought kitten here in usa. I will pick him up next week. NOW I need to take him with me to switzerland and it seems like a problem.

I fly to switzerland in may, with swiss air and they allow small pets in cabin for $100 fee. I found all papers and requirelments (microchip and vaccines) beside ONE... He called in Switzerland and have been told that since I am an American I can not BRING AND LEAVE the kitten there. HE NEEDS TO COME HERE and pick it up himself. And if I bring kitten to Switzerland I will need to take him back to usa when I leave. PLEASE HELP. Does anybody know is there any problem like that?

I called and emailed swiss air, they only gave me the list of documents. I also checked website petrelocation.com where they have this:

8. In order for us to successfully clear customs we will need the following documents supplied prior to the animal’s arrival:

Copy of pet owner’s passport
A signed letter of transfer from your company on letterhead
Swiss Visa/Residency Permit
*For pets with docked/clipped tails, additional customs forms are required.

http://www.petrelocation.com/resourc...ns/switzerland
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Old 01.04.2015, 09:05
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Leonoliya, you have somewhat misunderstood the process.

It is true that you cannot bring a cat to Switzerland and leave him there if you import him as the owner under the rules for a private person. However, it is possible that your boyfriend could import him as the owner and a private person (as the cat will live with him) with you as the person traveling with the cat - in which case he needs to initiate the paperwork. Another possibility is that you could import the cat yourself as a commercial entity.

The various options and rules are explained in English in this nifty interactive tool, here:

http://blv.bytix.com/plus/dbr/default.aspx?lang=en

(One issue will be the kitten's age. If under 12 weeks, or under 16 but the 21 day waiting period has not passed, make sure you understand the third bullet point.)


By the way, so that you understand why breeders might have been reluctant to sell you a kitten you should read the BLV's site on keeping cats in Switzerland:
http://www.meinheimtier.ch/de/katzen
(German, French, and Italian)

Last edited by meloncollie; 01.04.2015 at 09:24.
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Old 01.04.2015, 20:16
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Thank you for your detailed reply.

"However, it is possible that your boyfriend could import him as the owner and a private person (as the cat will live with him) with you as the person traveling with the cat - in which case he needs to initiate the paperwork."

So I can bring the cat if paperwork done under his name? But I can not find that paperwork (following the provided link shows no text when I request bring kitten to the ownner)

I emailed them, but didn't get reply yet.
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Old 01.04.2015, 21:19
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

If you decide that your boyfriend will import the cats (with you accompanying them on the flight) then the ball is in your boyfriend's court - he is the importer, not you.

The case on the interactive tool would be option 3, "I live in Switzerland and want to bring dogs, cats or ferrets from a foreign country to Switzerland". The 'I' in this case is your boyfriend, not you. He, not you, needs to do the paperwork. The documents needed are given if you follow the tool.


ETA:

On reflection, although the above has worked in a 'Flugpatenschaft' situation, perhaps you would be better off going with the commercial import option below:

All in all if you have not done this before it is probably simpler given that you are not staying in Switzerland would be to import as a commercial entity - You would click the last option "I import dogs, cats or ferrets to sell or deliver them in Switzerland" and follow the instructions given.
---

Might I suggest, though, that it would be simpler yet if you waited to bring the cat with you when you definitively move to Switzerland? Then you could import as an owner.

---

If you are uncomfortable with the process, you could always hire a commercial animal shipper to help you. ACE Pet Moving has a good reputation in Switzerland, to give one example. This will cost you quite a bit more, but might be worth it if you are having trouble with the rules.

Last edited by meloncollie; 01.04.2015 at 21:32.
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Old 01.04.2015, 22:16
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

If anyone has the same question but with a dog - my friend just wrote a great short piece on their experience:

http://www.expatvoices.ch/dogistics-...o-switzerland/
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Old 07.04.2015, 16:43
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

I brought 2 cats, a dog, and 3 birds from Atlanta, GA one year ago. The process was similar as described by the poster from Canada. The basics:
The cat must be cleared by the vet with an ISO microchip (15 digits) and all approved customs paperwork. The certificate to travel is valid for 10 days, only. I recommend a pre-check as you have to book your travel farther in advance to be reasonable.
I remember the weight limit in the cabin to be 6kgs per animal, limit 1 per person, and the weight includes the weight of the carrier. The carrier bag itself has requirements so call your airline to confirm their requirements. most post it on their websites.


I also recommend doing this all by phone with the airlines and not booking online. Many carriers (Delta, US Airways) don't transport animals. Lufthansa does. If the animals are over 6kg total, they have to go in the animal section with luggage. Note: this section has only a few vacancies and you may need to book it 6 weeks or more in advance. I had to travel on more than one flight to bring them all.
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Old 13.04.2015, 21:32
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

We just brought our two cats for a round trip between Zurich and Boston over the Xmas. All what we did were:
1) get a health justification from our vet (usually the vet should know as they do it quite often, otherwise you can find the formula on the relevant authority website)
2) reserve special seats for the cats by calling the airline company. It's not very expensive, around 100 CHF for the two cats if I recall well.

The whole going-through-customs process was really easy. Actually nobody checked any paper or the cat. The only thing: when going through the security check, we had to either take out the cats, or let them go under the X-ray check (like the luggage...) Another stress is that the special seats turn out to be really small (same as any regular seats), and we couldn't put the carrier under. Luckily there was some space in the overhead so not only we put the carrier there, we could even expand it (it's an expandable carrier) - in the end, it's like a first class for them!! People were generally very curious but nice, except for the way-back, there was one lady complaining as she was allergic to cats...

So overall the trip was much easier than we thought. Some additional tips: 1) if possible, try to book a direct flight given the length of the journey 2) put some pee-pad in the carrier, just in case.

We had direct flights with SwissAirline. Here you can fine more basic information: https://www.swiss.com/ch/EN/prepare/...g-with-animals

Hope this helps and have a good trip!
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Old 18.06.2015, 02:27
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Hi,
I hope that you don't mind me asking some more questions..
May I ask how the move with the cat went? (If you already did it). We are going to fly with our cat on July 8th from SFO to ZRH. I need to buy a kennel. Did you make any changes to the Pet Mate Sky Kennel? Did you buy any sheets for keeping it dry? What about food and water? Is is correct that after the vet fills out the paperwork you need to send it to Sacramento to verify? (all within the last 10 days of your flight). Also,
once you landed in Switzerland, did you get your luggage and get the animal - then what? Or where do you get the animal?
Any suggestions?

Then, we are having some serious issues with our moving company. Did your transport go smoothly? Did it get delayed as well? We were told that it would be no problem to get our stuff by mid. July - now we find out that it will not be there before mid. Aug.!! Crazy - another thing to worry about.

Hope that all went well for you guys. Thanks for sharing any tips and tricks and things that are good to know.
Karin
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Old 18.06.2015, 02:49
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Re: Bringing Cat from US to CH

Hi Karin,
Matter of fact cat flies out tomorrow My husband is doing a direct flight with him LAX to ZH then driving to Geneva, fingers crossed. I am going with kids on Sunday.

I got the Sky Kennel Ultra to give him room. Yes, you have to send paperwork to Sacramento, I did so on day 10 before the flight. It took longer to fill out paperwork and get it right than I anticipated. You Fedex it to Sacremento (email me if you can't find the number/address) and make sure to include a cover letter telling them exactly what you need and by when. Include a return postage paid FEDEX envelope. The fee is $38. I got the vet to do the EU certificate as well as the USDA form to cover the bases.

Make sure to make sure that your VET's license is valid with the USDA before hand. I sent in the paperwork only to find out our vet's license was expired. We got it done in time, but more stress. I bought puppy pee pads yes, plan freeze water in his food bowl, keep it on ice on way to airport and that way it hopefully doesn't spill while he is being moved and then melts during the flight. have also had him sleeping in it for about a week to get used to it.

More to say but how about I let you know in a couple of days when all is said and done? my direct email is [removed, please use PM]

As for the movers, ugh, paperwork galore and it seems I never have enough or the right paper or the right address in the right space, you definitely have to be on it. BUT, our stuff is due to arrive in Rotterdam Tuesday, we;ll see. Our shipper told us to ship in May if possible because starting June there are delays due to the volume of people moving after school is out. So we did that and in theory our stuff has come quickly if it in fact arrives, but there is always customs to deal with. That said, I had to urgently fedex our papers to Rotterdam and we are still missing one piece from swiss authorities that will hopefully come through tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes as well, with any luck should be at our house before you leave and I can give you the lowdown and any tips to share. If I forget to get back in touch with you, please re-contact me, happy to share/help.

Sorry this is a bit of a ramble but as I type my mother in law is cleaning my kitchen and I am feeling rushed and guilty! I hope things go as smooth as they can for you and your family. Keep in touch!

Last edited by 3Wishes; 18.06.2015 at 10:37. Reason: email removed as per Forum rules, please use private messaging.
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