Moving to Switzerland with pets

If you’re moving to Switzerland with pets, there are various rules and regulations you’ll need to adhere to ensure a timely and straightforward move. Here is our advice for British expatriates.
In general, your common household pet will have no problem in being imported into Switzerland when you move. There are, however, strict regulations that control the importation of animals into the country. While we outline the current situation in this article, it is worth checking before you travel for the latest advice. Our Move Coordinators can also help with this aspect of your move if you opt to use Cadogan Tate’s services for your international relocation.
One thing you will need to consider is how your pet is travelling to your final destination. If your pet will have to pass through other countries en route, you will need to be aware of any individual regulations at each stopping point.

General guidance

The most commonly imported animals are dogs and cats. Your pet must have a microchip and be registered with the Animal Identity Service (ANIS) before travelling. If you have a microchip that is not compliant with current standards (ISO 11784/11785), you will need to bring your own microchip scanner. Make sure that all the chip’s data is up to date and accurate to prevent any problems in transit. You will need to visit a vet in your new canton after moving within 10 days to have your pet registered.
You will also need to ensure that your pet has an up-to-date European Pet Passport. This should have evidence of all recent vaccinations. This also acts as a health certificate, issued by a licensed vet. Bear in mind that, depending on the outcome and the particular terms, the UK’s exit from the EU may change whether the Pet Passport is still the preferred form of health certificate, as the country may default to a non-EU system. It shouldn’t affect your ability to move to Switzerland with pets; it may just mean a different type of paperwork. This is another reason why it is wise to ensure you check the current guidance before moving.
When importing from a EU country, your pet must have had a rabies vaccination after its microchip has been implanted and not less than 21 days before you move. The rabies vaccination also needs to be within the manufacturer’s given expiry date.

Restrictions and exceptions

There is no limit to the number of pets you can take with you when moving to Switzerland with pets from within the EU. For common household animals like guinea pigs, fish, reptiles, hamsters and rabbits, you will need a health certificate from your vet, but you’re unlikely to face problems with importing these animals.
If you want to import a horse, you will need an import permit, veterinary certificate and a horse passport. Your horse will also need to be microchipped.
If you want to bring birds into Switzerland, there are some further restrictions. You can take up to five birds with you when you move, and a quarantine will be imposed. These can either be taken pre-export or post-import, depending on what works best with your move, and this lasts 30 days whichever option you choose.
Find out more about moving to Switzerland and how Cadogan Tate can aid you in your international move.