Declaring and clearing through customs
The following rule applies worldwide: for postal consignments containing goods, the consignment and content information required for export must be entered electronically and sent to the country of destination in advance. By submitting the content details electronically, consignments containing goods can be processed and cleared through customs more quickly than before.
Declaring goods online
Declare goods in a branch
Prepare a consignment for shipping abroad
If you do not wish or are unable to enter your consignment and content data yourself, simply bring in your consignment to a self-operated Swiss Post branch. Our staff will, for a surcharge of CHF 5, enter your consignment data and prepare the consignment for shipping with the necessary customs documents.
When are additional customs documents needed?
Mainly for resale merchandise
In the following cases, further documents are required in addition to the waybill for goods consignments or the customs declaration for documents and small goods consignments.
Simply bring the documents with you to the branch when posting your consignment. If you, as a business customer with a billing relationship, are delivering or ordering collection of a ready-to-send consignment, affix the documents together with the customs declaration to the outside of the consignment, in a transparent document pouch. Note that you may declare the consignment contents in the relevant national language for consignments being sent to Germany, Austria, French-speaking countries and Italy. In all other cases, English is the standard.
If your consignment contains resale merchandise, i.e. goods with a commercial value, an additional commercial invoice that shows the value of the goods is recommended.
The original commercial invoice must contain the following elements:
- Description of the consignment contents
- Value of goods
- The sender’s original signature on each invoice and on all copies
If the goods are not intended for sale, a proforma invoice is also sufficient. For goods consignments such as samples etc. that are free of charge and are not being invoiced to the recipient, the remark “Value for customs purposes only” (German: “Rechnung nur für Zollzwecke”) should be included.
Create a commercial invoice online
If you declare your consignment using the “Create waybill” online service for goods consignments and “Accompanying documents for international small goods” for document and small goods consignments, a compliant commercial invoice for printing is automatically created together with the corresponding customs documents when the consignment is recorded.
If your consignment contains goods with a value of more than CHF 1,000, an export declaration is required. The export declaration or assessment decision allows you to reclaim the VAT for exported goods above a value of CHF 1,000.00. The authorities also use this information for foreign trade statistics.
If your goods are subject to export or import authorization in Switzerland or the relevant recipient country, an official export approval is required in writing.
Specific provisions may apply when sending goods to the border areas of Büsingen and Samnaun. These relate to prices and franking in particular, and in some cases also to labelling.
You can find more information about the “customs declaration (CN22/23)”, “waybill” and other documents for international shipments in the overview “Accompanying documents for international shipping”.
Background information on exporting goods
Electronic advance data (EAD)
The following rule applies worldwide: for postal consignments containing goods, the consignment and content information required for export must be entered electronically and sent to the country of destination in advance. This rule applies to all countries worldwide. By submitting the content details electronically, consignments containing goods can be processed and cleared through customs more quickly than before. Harmonized address labels also help tracking events to be recorded and ensure better quality track and trace.
Frequently asked questions
Consignments are often stored in a local customs office in the country of destination either because the recipient is responsible for customs clearance or the content declaration is insufficient for the foreign customs office.
Generally, the customs office notifies the recipient if this is the case. If this is not the case, you can contact your branch or the relevant customs office directly as the recipient.
If this still does not produce the desired outcome, or if the recipient does not know which customs office to call, please contact us. We will then ask the foreign postal administration for more detailed information and clarify what subsequent steps you should take.
You can find out about import and export regulations here:
Online at www.swisspost.ch/info-int under “Import regulations”
On the customs website at www.zoll.ch
From the various customs offices in Basel, Zurich and Geneva
From the embassies or consular offices in the different countries
Consignments containing cash are not permitted in international postal traffic. In the event of loss or theft, Swiss Post declines all liability (see Swiss Post’s General Terms and Conditions “Postal Services”; sections 2.6 and 4.4.2).
For this reason, please use the PostFinance products for money transfers (Cash international, Giro international, etc.). Further information about this: cash international
Import and export customs clearance for business customers
- If you send consignments abroad using PostPac International, the customs duty and VAT is calculated for the recipient.
- You can send goods to over 100 countries with DDP (Delivered Duty Paid). This means that your recipient pays less duty and tax.
- For customs declarations, you always need a UID number.
- If you send goods within the EU, you require the EORI number of your buyer, except for private use.
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