Relocating with pets Challenges when relocating with pets

Learn the guidelines for relocating with pets to make sure your furry family members join you on time in Switzerland.

Pets are part of the family and most people do not want to leave them behind when they relocate.

There are very specific rules and regulations that apply to pet transportation and customs clearance in Switzerland. It is important to be informed so you can make sure your pet meets standards. 

It is of utmost importance that you carefully plan the relocation of your pet in advance and with a specialist. One of the best addresses when moving a pet to and from Switzerland is ACE Pet Moving. They are highly specialised and experienced. It is advised to contact them at least six weeks prior to your target move date. 

Unless you are driving to Switzerland with your own car, pets need to be shipped to the country by air (they might not even travel in the same plane as their owners). 


Expert tip: For detailed information in English on animal imports to Switzerland refer to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), as well as to their tool for crossing borders with dogs, cats, or ferrets


Required documents for relocating to Switzerland with your pet 

The following documents are normally required when importing your pet(s) into Switzerland: 

  • Identification (microchip)
  • Pet ID card
  • Valid certificate of vaccination
  • Valid blood test


What you need to know before relocating with pets

  • Keep all documentation with you when travelling with the animal
    Pets under the age of 3 months may not be allowed into Switzerland, or they may have special restrictions (the minimum age is 7 months for animals coming from "high risk countries") 
  • It is generally forbidden to import dogs with docked tails into Switzerland. In the context of a move, the customs officials will decide whether criteria for exceptions have been met
  • Once in Switzerland, dogs must remain under your ownership and should not be sold or given away
  • Dog owners may need to undertake a 4 hour course of dog training when arriving in Switzerland
  • There are import taxes linked to importing a pet
  • Dogs must be included in your third party liability insurance policy


Expected time frame 

  • At the latest 1 month before departure, proceed with the Microchip: ISO Standard 11784 with identification code according to ISO 1178
  • At the latest 22 days before departure, proceed with rabies vaccination
  • For dogs only: first you need to register yourself as a dog owner,within 10 days of arrival, present your dog to the local vet for the final paperwork. Dogs will be registered to Amicus (Swiss dog database)
  • Register dogs with the local authorities upon arrival in Switzerland 


Expert tip: Make sure to take advantage of Hello Switzerland's free Step by Step relocation tool, available in the iTunes and Google Play app stores.


Did you know?

Swiss people love animals. A total of 521'000 dogs, 1'655'000 cats and around 117'000 horses lived in Switzerland in 2016.

Author: Ernst Joerg

Ernst Joerg is the founder of Packimpex, the Swiss market leader in Relocation. He is very Swiss. His family roots go back to the Emmenthal. He was brought up in Zurich, lived for many years in Geneva before settling down with his family in the Berne region. Having passed on the company to his son Marcel, he now enjoys time with his grandchildren Murielle and Lucien.

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