Accompanying documents for international shipping
Customs declarations, waybills and other documents

When shipping goods abroad, a number of different documents are required. Here you will find an overview that explains which documents you need, as well as providing supplementary information applicable to international shipments.

Preconditions

The shipping options listed below are concerned. Special accompanying documents need to be enclosed with these consignments on their way to the intended destination.

Details on which documents are required for the various consignments are given in the “Overview of accompanying documents”

This table shows you at a glance which accompanying documents you need for each shipping option and the form they should take:

  URGENT URGENT Business PRIORITY and ECONOMY letters PRIORITY and ECONOMY parcels
Waybill Yes Yes No Yes
Commercial invoice No In triplicate Recommended for trade merchandise In duplicate
Customs declaration CN22 No No Goods value of up to CHF 400.00 No
Customs declaration CN23 No No Goods value of more than CHF 400.00 for consignments where the sender does not wish to indicate the goods value (e.g. gifts) and for goods requiring export approval. In quadruplicate Yes, included in the waybill
Export declaration No No Goods worth more than CHF 1,000.00 for consignments containing valuables (watches, jewellery, etc.) and for goods requiring export approval Yes, included in the waybill
Export approval No Yes, if the goods are subject to export approval Yes, if the goods are subject to export approval Yes, if the goods are subject to export approval

Waybill

Language For consignments to Germany, Austria, French-speaking countries and Italy, the contents can be declared in the relevant national language. For all other cases, English is the required language.

Creating documents electronically

As a private customer you can simply create waybills at home using the “Create waybill (cash payment)” online service. This saves time and CHF 3.00 when dropping your consignment off at the branch counter.

Preparing consignments and documents

  • When affixing a waybill, you have the option to send a consignment as URGENT, PRIORITY or ECONOMY.
  • Always include the recipient’s telephone number on the waybill. This prevents delays during customs clearance or delivery in the country of destination.

General

A commercial invoice is required if the goods being shipped have a commercial value. A proforma invoice is permitted if the goods have no commercial value.

A commercial invoice and/or customs declaration are compulsory for customs control in the country of destination.

The original commercial invoice must contain the following elements:

  • Description of the consignment contents
  • Value of goods
  • Date
  • The sender’s original signature on each invoice and on all copies

Creating documents electronically

With the “Create waybill” online service, you create the commercial invoice automatically.

With the “Accompanying documents for international letters” online service, you can create the commercial invoice for CN23 customs declarations automatically if required. 

General

By correctly filling in the customs declaration, you make sure that the branches process your consignment without delay, with or without customs control in the countries of origin and destination.

Language

For consignments to Germany, Austria, French-speaking countries and Italy, the contents can be declared in the relevant national language. For all other cases, English is the required language.

Creating documents manually

Customs declaration CN22 is available at all branches. Manual creation is allowed only for consignments containing documents.

Creating documents electronically

From 1 July 2019, electronic creation of customs declarations is required for international letter mail containing goods for the destination United States of America, and from 1 January 2020 for all countries worldwide. For key questions about EAD, see the “Electronic advance data (EAD)” factsheet. (PDF, 244 KB)

You can use the “Accompanying documents for international letters” online service to easily create address labels with customs declarations electronically. This saves time when dropping off your consignment. You then frank the consignments at the counter or with stamps.

You can also create franked address labels with customs declarations electronically using the “WebStamp” online service. You then hand the consignments in at the counter.

Preparing consignments and documents

  • Affix the address label with customs declaration to the address side of the consignment.

  • An invoice is required to ensure smooth import customs clearance in the country of destination for consignments of trade merchandise, even if the goods value is less than CHF 400.00.

  • Always declare the goods value with a customs declaration if it is not obvious from the outside that the consignment contains only documents.

For consignments with a goods value of more than CHF 400.00, please use customs declaration CN23.

Important information

If you prefer not to state the value of the consignment (e.g. for a gift), you can use customs declaration CN23 instead of customs declaration CN22.

General

Every letter and every small consignment with a goods value of more than CHF 400.00 must be accompanied by a CN23 customs declaration. 
The customs authorities in the country of destination generally use the customs declaration for customs control purposes.

Language

For consignments to Germany, Austria, French-speaking countries and Italy, the contents can be declared in the relevant national language. For all other cases, English is the required language. 

Creating documents electronically

From 1 July 2019, electronic creation of customs declarations is required for international letter mail containing goods for the destination United States of America, and from 1 January 2020 for all countries worldwide. For key questions about EAD, see the “Electronic advance data (EAD)” factsheet. (PDF, 244 KB)

You can use the “Accompanying documents for international letters” online service to easily create address labels with customs declarations electronically. This saves time when dropping off your consignment. You then frank the consignments at the counter or with stamps.

You can also create franked address labels with customs declarations electronically using the “WebStamp” online service You then hand the consignments in at the counter.

Preparing consignments and documents

  • Fill in the form carefully and completely and describe the contents as precisely as possible. Collective terms such as “clothes” or “spare parts” are too vague and may cause delays during customs control.
  • You should enclose a commercial invoice with letter mail consignments containing trade merchandise in addition to the accompanying information (export declaration, customs declaration, waybill).

General

You should create an export declaration for consignments where the contents value exceeds CHF 1,000.00, or when the contents are subject to export approval.

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.

Important information

  • For URGENT courier consignments and PostPac International PRIORITY and ECONOMY, the export declaration (in duplicate) is included in the waybill.
  • Special conditions apply when sending goods to Samnaun. On this subject, please note the document under “More information”.

General

Use the certificate of origin for consignments whose contents have a maximum goods value of CHF 10,300.00. Set wording must be used in the certificate of origin, which forms an integral part of the commercial invoice.

Switzerland has signed free trade agreements with various countries and groups of countries (e.g. EU, EFTA). Depending on the country, the certificate of origin allows you to benefit from an exemption from or reduction in customs duties for international shipments

Goods will only be given preferential treatment, however, if they meet the contractual conditions of origin of the relevant agreement and if a valid declaration of origin can be produced.

A declaration of origin can be the certificate of origin on the invoice and, if the goods value exceeds CHF 10,300.00, the EUR.1 goods certificate.

The current list of countries and groups of countries with which the Swiss Confederation has signed a free trade agreement can be found on the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) at www.seco.admin.ch.

Things to watch out for

  • Reductions in and exemptions from customs duties are only possible with a completed and correct declaration of origin. If this cannot be produced, the recipient will be charged for the import duty.
  • Customs form EUR.1 is also required if the goods value exceeds the maximum limit.

Important information

  • No declaration of origin is required for non-commercial PRIORITY or ECONOMY consignments between private customers up to a goods value of CHF 900.00. Simply make a note on the customs declaration or in the customs documents that the consignment contains products originating within the European Free Trade Area (EFTA).
  • Where applicable, a declaration of origin must always be provided for URGENT consignments.
     

For more information, please contact the chambers of commerce, the district directorates of customs or the customs inspectorate. You can find the addresses of the customs authorities at www.ezv.admin.ch.

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