“Art is everywhere, Harsch manages customs formalities”

formalités douanières picto douanier


Import / export / transit formalities

formalités douanières picto officiel


Obtaining and establishing the documents needed for customs clearances

formalités douanières picto services


Establishing and applying for miscellaneous permits such as CITES

formalités douanières picto conseil


Consulting on the specific customs legislation relating to removals, inheritance assets, works of art, and exhibitions

formalités douanières picto autorisation


COW operations offer the possibility of storing bonded goods on our premises and for an unlimited duration

formalités douanières picto gestion


Management by our company of stored bonded goods

Customs formalities

During an operation to transport works of art, Harsch handles the administrative side of customs clearance, whether importing or exporting. We can carry out all the customs formalities directly on our own premises. Depending on requirements, we can also perform customs clearance in all Customs Offices in Switzerland.

Exporting from Switzerland

  • Exportations définitives

    At the moment, there are no restrictions on exports. But an invoice must be shown. A Pro-forma invoice may also be acceptable, showing the value of the work.

    • Special surveillance for archaeological objects

    Ivory, tortoiseshell, and other objects comprising animal parts.

    • Subject to CITES regulations
    • Obligation to obtain a permit in the countries of departure and arrival in order to cross borders – Delays to obtain different depending on countries (several weeks)

    Transportation of weapons is increasingly complicated.

  • Temporary export

    In the context of an exhibition

    • Establishment of an export permit, valid for 2 years, renewable.
  • Special cases

    An ATA carnet can be used for temporarily importing or exporting goods or equipment used for exhibitions or fairs (stands, tables, models, etc.), samples for presentations, or professional equipment.

    This international customs document makes it possible to cross borders in Switzerland and abroad. It is applied for directly from Chambers of Trade & Industry.

Imports into Switzerland

  • Permanent import

    Permanent importation into Switzerland involves payment of VAT, taxes, and customs dues according to the declared value of the work. This must include the cost of transport and possibly packing and insurance.

  • Temporary import
    • Establishment of an import permit, valid for 2 years, renewable.
    • Since 1st January 2016, a new document is necessary in the event of successive loans to other art galleries / museums.
    • Worth knowing: where the temporary import or export involves several works and only some of them return before the totality of them, a partial discharge of the permit may be performed.


  • Special cases

    Bonded importation is possible in Switzerland. Works arriving in transit will not be cleared through customs and will remain in a free zone. These zones are available at Geneva Airport, and at Freeports. Harsch also has this kind of storage available in its own premises (warehousing under OCW: Open customs warehouse).

    It is possible to view the goods, but no movement out of these zones is permitted without customs formalities. The major advantage of this process is storage with an exemption from import dues.

Contact us
Our commitments Contact us ! Our PDF brochures