Relocating to Switzerland: moving house checklist

Find happiness in Switzerland. The people who live here are amongst the happiest in the world. This makes the country a very popular destination for people relocating abroad. There are many good reasons for this. And chocolate is only one of them. When relocating to Switzerland, a moving house checklist is essential to ensure that everything goes smoothly from the get-go. The experts at Zebrabox have put together a list of the key things to remember when moving house.

Switzerland’s citizens rank as some of the happiest in the world, only topped by Scandinavians. The taxes are low and the standard of living is high, as are the mountains! Add to that beautiful lakes and unspoiled nature and it really is the complete package! For years, Switzerland’s place in the top 5 happiest countries in the world according to the World Happiness Report has been as secure as Swiss banking security. Most people that relocate to Switzerland are more than happy with their new home, catapulting Switzerland into 2nd place in the list of best destination countries for immigrants.


Living in Switzerland: Nothing but cheese? Quite the opposite.

Planning on relocating to Switzerland? The sooner the better? Stop, not so fast. Take time to finalise your own moving house checklist of things to remember and mentally prepare for relocating. Preparation is key. It begins when you start packing your boxes.

All of your personal and household belongings that you want to take with you to use in your new home must:
  • have been in your possession for at least 6 months to be exempt from VAT (that includes cars. Important: have your vehicle registration and proof of purchase documents ready at the border! Get rid of new furniture!),
  • continue to be used by you and
  • be on the relocation inventory list. Any belongings must declared on the customs office application form (18.44 household effects). Including value and weight! You must present this completed list of the goods to be relocated at customs when entering Switzerland. Label or number your boxes and put the numbers on your relocation inventory list. Why go to so much effort? If you are checked, it makes it much easier to find all the relevant items.

Are you well prepared for relocating to Switzerland?

To avoid surprises at the border and make the move to your new home as easy as possible, you’ll need the following entry documents:

  • valid passport
  • proof of residence (new immigrants from the EU and EFTA can provide proof of transfer of domicile with a rental agreement and/or employment contract; people from other countries must provide proof of a residence permit)
  • valid driving licence and vehicle registration documents (especially if importing the vehicle)
  • declaration/application form for household effects (form 18.44)
  • list of goods to be imported
  • additional documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificate etc. (check that you have everything required!)

Important! If you want to take household effects over the border with you, you can usually only do this from Monday to Friday during the opening hours of the corresponding Swiss customs office responsible for commercial goods. Only the biggest border crossings are open on Saturday mornings. And Sundays? All customs offices are closed on Sundays!

Relocating to Switzerland requires preparation

The mountains are calling. And so is Switzerland. Lots of people dream of relocating to Switzerland and sharing in the happiness of the country known as the Land of Milk and Honey. Some stay for a while, others for longer and many stay forever. All this is no problem, at least for EU citizens, thanks to the free movement of persons agreement between Switzerland and the EU. When relocating to Switzerland, you only need your ID card or passport to automatically obtain a residence permit for up to six months. Want to stay longer or live in Switzerland permanently? If you have a permanent employment contract (exceeding one year) or a permanent place of work, you can easily apply for a residence permit B at the relevant cantonal employment office. That then allows you to stay for another five years. What happens after that? You can apply to extend the residence permit again by presenting your passport and proof of work. Those who are self-employed need to provide proof that they have the means to support themselves in order to gain a residence permit.


Living in Switzerland: What you can and can't bring with you

Love the honey, salami and cheese from your region and want to take some with you? Who knows when you’ll next have chance to get some...forget it! Products of animal origin are severely restricted or banned, especially if they come from non-EU countries! Bringing your wine collection to Switzerland with you? No problem: five litres of alcoholic beverages up to 18% and 1 litre over 18% are allowed per person duty-free! The following are all subject to restrictions: exotic plants (danger of disease!), medication (solely for personal use for 30 days!) and pets.

Relocating to Switzerland with animals: Can Bella, Max and Smudge come with you?

Not relocating to Switzerland without your beloved dog or cat? Then put them on the relocation inventory list! Find out which vaccinations, permits and documents you need from the Federal Veterinary Office. The animals then need to be registered in your local Swiss municipality and be entered into the pet database (Anis) by a vet. Permits for exotic animals are investigated on an individual basis.

Moving into a smaller or furnished apartment in Switzerland

4 rooms, kitchen, bathroom, city centre – that's the dream for many newcomers, until they see the rental prices in Switzerland. Then the flat turns out to be a lot smaller than planned. Some just stay for a few months to work and rent an apartment or furnished room during their stay. When moving in it’s common to hear: “The rooms looked bigger when we looked round (or on the internet)!” People don’t need much, but they do need enough space! Space is like time – many just never have enough. You can't magic up a bigger apartment. But you can make it more spacious! Moving boxes, clothes, files, books, spare furniture – move everything out and into a storage unit, then sit back and enjoy the space. A happy ending.

Moving to Switzerland.

Make sure everything goes smoothly!

Zebrabox has compiled a list of the most important things to remember when moving to a new country