Can I immigrate to Switzerland with my dog?

If you get the opportunity to work abroad, you may want to take your four-legged best friend with you. After all, he is part of life and would be sad if he wasn’t allowed to go. But how easy is it to immigrate to Switzerland with a dog?

If you emigrate to Switzerland, you can bring your four-legged friend with you.
If you emigrate to Switzerland, you can bring your four-legged friend with you.

The good news is that a dog from abroad may be “imported” into Switzerland. The import is regulated in the ordinance on the import, transit and export of pets (EDAV-Ht). According to their regulations, a dog may be imported from abroad in order to keep it as a pet here in Switzerland. Pets are animals that are kept in the household for emotional reasons or as companions.

Please note that the import of pets must take place via a manned border crossing and during the assessment periods in travel traffic.

Entering Switzerland with a dog

If you enter Switzerland directly by air, the animals are checked by customs at the airport. If the import conditions are not met, the border veterinary service confiscates the animals and takes further measures. All costs shall be borne by the owner.

If you arrive by land via the EU, the border veterinary examination takes place when you enter the EU. A fee is charged by the competent state authorities.

When entering Switzerland from the EU, customs checks compliance with entry regulations on a random basis (without charging a fee).

What about couped dogs?

The import of docked dogs into Switzerland is strictly forbidden. An exception exists for persons who move to Switzerland. Anyone who transfers their residence abroad to Switzerland may import their docked dog. However, only if the conditions for duty-free importation of personal effects are fulfilled. Further information can be found here. The import of dogs with couped ears or couped tail into Switzerland is prohibited. In principle, customs decides whether the criteria for an exception are met.

How do I transport a dog?

Whether you arrive in Switzerland by plane, train or car, your dog must be able to travel in an animal-friendly manner. This means that the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and the IATA must be adhered to.

Microchip and pet passport are a must

If you want to bring your dog to Switzerland as a pet, it must be marked with a microchip or a tattoo. The latter is only valid if you bring it before 3 June. 2011 was made. The dog must also have a correctly completed pet passport and a valid rabies vaccination, which must be entered in the pet passport. The vaccination must have been carried out at the earliest at the age of 12 weeks and at least 21 days before importation.i

Observe rabies regulations

Puppies under 12 weeks of age that have not yet been vaccinated against rabies and dogs between 12 and 16 weeks of age that have been vaccinated but have not yet been vaccinated – i.e. the 21-day waiting period has not expired – may only be introduced if they are accompanied by a declaration that they have had no contact with wild animals of species susceptible to rabies since birth. Such puppies may also be imported if they are accompanied by the mother on whom they depend and who has been vaccinated against rabies before the birth of the animals according to the pet passport.

Puppies are subject to special regulations regarding rabies vaccination.
Puppies are subject to special regulations regarding rabies vaccination.

Particularly with regard to rabies protection, different regulations apply depending on the country of origin of the animal. If you are not sure whether your dog has been correctly vaccinated against rabies, check here before entering Switzerland. If your dog does not meet the requirements, the risk of a forced euthanasia is often very high. The cantonal veterinary office or the online help of the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs (BLV) can also provide valuable information on this subject.

Register your dog in Switzerland

After the successful move to Switzerland you have to register your four-legged friend in your municipality. The dog must also be registered in the Swiss Dog Database (AMICUS) within 10 days of entering Switzerland. This is done by the veterinarian.

Practice Swiss German while going for a walk

Thanks to your dog you will make many social contacts in Switzerland. As a dog owner you will quickly get in touch with other dog owners. Wouldn’t it be great if you could chat with your dog acquaintances in Swiss German? Therefore, sign up for our online course so that you are optimally prepared for your first walk.

Can I immigrate to Switzerland with my dog?
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