Swiss and French customs regulations

Swiss customs regulations

  1. The customs privileges of international officials who do not enjoy diplomatic status are limited to the duty-free importation of removal-related goods (in accordance with Article 9 of the Ordonnance sur les privilèges douaniers-Ordinance on Customs Privileges). Any other goods are subject to customs duty.
  2. Goods admitted free of customs duty are those that are intended  for the personal  use of officials with diplomatic status (directors and above) (Article 4a of the Customs Law). Officials without such status must pay duty.
  3. All goods imported or exported must be cleared through customs (Article 1 of the Customs Law), subject to Article 14 of the same law.
  4. The Direction of the Customs has the authority to issue an order of repression (Article 2 of the Regulations ruling the competence of the customs administration).


Staff members of Permanent missions and international organisations are invited to consult the website of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland in Geneva as it relates to customs privileges of the "Practical Manual of the regime of privileges and immunities and other facilities".

For any questions: Swiss Customs Administration

In-bond storage is an interesting option. If the final destination of goods is not known, or they are subject to heavy customs duties or a quantitative limitation, they may be stored temporarily (some for limited periods, others without limit) without being cleared through customs or taxed.
This can be arranged inter alia in a free port or "Entrepôt douanier ouvert" (open customs storage facility).
  • Free port
It is run by private storage companies, but it is public and open to anyone. Certain operations are possible with the authorisation of Customs; for goods in transit (re-export to the EU), restrictions are in place.
  • Open customs storage facilities
Storage is on the property of the company. As a rule, Swiss goods must be stored separately. That means that an exact inventory (usually computerised) is kept of all the goods in storage. The manager of the storage facility must provide Customs with a guarantee.

Customs regulations in France

When you are setting in France for the first time, you may request to be placed under a special regime attached to your functions, which the French authorities have decided to grant in accordance with international usage. For this you should apply to: The customs office at Vallard-Thônex, if your home is in Haute-Savoie or Savoie; the customs office in Ferney-Voltaire, if your home is in Ain. These are the offices at which you will also have to clear all your personal belongings (including those admitted duty-free).

For any questions: 

Direction régionale des douanes pour la France (no English version)

6, rue des Alouettes - Boîte postale 517 - 74014 Annecy Cedex

Tel. +33 450 33 41 41