Moving a Pet to Switzerland
Rules and Regulations for International Pet Shipping
- Pet Travel Documents & Requirements
- Pet Restrictions for Switzerland
- Microchip for Pet Travel to Switzerland
- Quarantine for Pet Travel to Switzerland
- Top Destinations in Switzerland
- How Starwood Can Help
What Pet Travel Documents Are Needed to Travel to Switzerland?
Unlike many countries, Switzerland allows pets arriving from outside the country to travel in-cabin, as checked baggage, or as manifest cargo.
Each country around the world has their own regulations and requirements for importing pets when you move to or visit their country. These rules differ, depending on where you live now, sometimes for political reasons (such as European Union membership) but mostly due to international concerns about rabies.
Cats and dogs must be immunized against rabies at least 21 days prior to travel; they must be at least 90 days old at the time of immunization.
Please note that the rabies vaccination for pets traveling to the EU + Switzerland must be greater than 21 days old and less than 1 year old at the time of travel. If your pet's vaccination will be over 1 year, then a new vaccine will be needed at least 21 days prior to travel.
Although other immunizations are not officially required for import to Switzerland, it is recommended that cats and dogs are vaccinated for the following. Do note that if your pet will be boarding, these vaccinations will be required.
- Dogs: DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus), Bordetella (Kennel Cough), Leptospirosis, CIV (Canine Influenza Virus)
- Cats: FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia), Feline Leukemia
Switzerland does not require additional blood tests to import pets.
Pet Travel Documents & Requirements
If you and your cat, dog, or ferret now live in an EU country, your pet will need an up-to-date EU Pet Passport but not any other documentation to enter Switzerland. That’s unless you live in the UK. The EU may consider the United Kingdom as an “unlisted” country. That’s the same as if you’re coming to a place where rabies is a serious problem, and that means your pet will have to meet additional health requirements. Meanwhile, this site can help you understand what’s needed.
If you now live in a non-EU country, you will have to follow certain steps and obtain specific documents to bring your pet to Switzerland. You can read more details here, but the information below provides everything most pet parents need. It is most important that you follow the rules exactly. Pets who have incomplete or missing documentation can be sent back home, sent to quarantine, or in the worst case, euthanized.
If your pet will not be traveling with you, you will need to sign a consent form for the person who will accompany or be authorized to transport your pet.
Dogs, cats, and ferrets must meet the following requirements if they will be entering Switzerland with you or within 5 days before or after you arrive. If the timing separation will be more than that, your pet will need a “commercial” health certificate. The easiest way to deal with that is to give us a call and let our Starwood Pet Travel experts handle the details for you. Most pet parents find that is the easiest solution under any circumstances.
Each pet will need a non-commercial EU Veterinary Certificate for Switzerland. It must be filled out and signed by an accredited veterinarian. (Accredited by the USDA if you’re coming from the US.) The form must then be endorsed (counter-signed and stamped or embossed) by the USDA APHIS Veterinary Medical Office for your state. Switzerland will allow the accredited vet to electronically complete and sign the certificate but the USDA or government endorsement must be in original ink.
This document must be completed and endorsed within 10 days prior to your pet’s entry into Switzerland.
As long as you’re importing 5 or fewer pets, and as long as their arrival is within the 10-day window noted above, you won’t need an import permit.
Switzerland does not require tapeworm treat for pets coming into the country.
What Are the Pet Restrictions for Switzerland?
Switzerland does not allow the import of dogs whose ears or tails have been cropped or docked. That said, you may be able to get an exception (for short stays/holidays, moving) by contacting the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office.
Each of Switzerland’s cantons sets its own list of dogs or cats not allowed to live in that province. You should find out what breeds are on the list where you will be living and also ask about ownership requirements for dogs.
For example, the following dogs are now allowed in Geneva – unless they are coming from outside the country, are neutered, and have never shown signs of aggression. If your dog fits these exceptions, you may bring him with you but he will have to undergo a 3-month training course upon arrival, and you may have only one dog:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Cane Corso
- Dogo Argentino
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Fila Braziliero
- Matin Espagnol
- Matin de Naples
- Pit Bull
- Presa Canario
- Thai Ridgeback
- Tosa Inu
Age Restrictions for Switzerland
Switzerland does not allow the importation of puppies, kittens, or baby ferrets that are less than 12 weeks old and have not been vaccinated for rabies. They are also banned if they are between 12-16 weeks and were vaccinated against rabies less than 21 days prior to arriving in Switzerland.
Dogs are required to be registered in your Swiss place of residence. A veterinarian also needs to register your dog(s) in the Swiss dog database (AMICUS) within 10 days of arrival to Switzerland.
Consult your local authority regarding special requirements for permitted dog breeds and leash or muzzle laws.
Do I Need a Microchip for My Pet to Travel to Switzerland?
Every dog, cat, and ferret entering Switzerland must have a microchip that meets ISO standard 11784 or 11785. (This is a 15-digit number.) If your pet does not yet have a microchip, do that first, because it must be done prior to the rabies vaccination and health certificate. If your pet already has a microchip but it doesn’t meet ISO standards, you can:
- Bring your own chip reader for customs officials to use
- Notify Swiss customs officials in advance (so they can have the proper scanner on hand)
- Have your veterinarian implant a second, ISO-compliant microchip. This will not harm your pet. If you choose this option, both microchip ID numbers must appear on all your pet’s paperwork.
What Are the Quarantine Requirements for a Pet Traveling to Switzerland?
Switzerland does not quarantine pets upon arrival, providing they meet all the stated health requirements.
Top Destinations in Switzerland
Our Switzerland pet shipping services include:
- Door-to-door transport
- Assistance with health certificates, import certificates, and other travel documents needed for animal transport to Switzerland (outlined above)
- USDA endorsement and consular legalization (when needed) of all relevant documents where required
- Airline-approved flight kennels provided with personalized labels, identification
andemergency notification instructions
- Customs clearance and delivery to your home
- Local pet taxi service to and from the airport, your home, veterinarian, kennel, or groomer – available in major Switzerland cities as well as their surrounding areas
- Travel consultation and flight reservations
We will inform you of your pet's full itinerary before the trip and we will update you as your pet travels to Switzerland.