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Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Area (an area consisting of most countries on the European continent plus Scandanavia and Iceland. It does not include the UK or Ireland) and no passport checks are done on people crossing borders within the Schengen area. However, because Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it is not in a Customs Union with its neighbours and the Frontier Guards may ask if travellers have anything to declare. (They are more likely to do this to those driving privately owned Swiss-registered cars). In many cases there is no staff at the border. When there are staff, expect to be waved through in most cases, but if a traveller DOES have something to declare it is wise to do so.
There is a legal requirement in Switzerland that a government-issued ID be carried by travellers at all times. Visitors from countrites that do not provide an ID card (e.g., U.K. or USA) must carry their passport - or at the very least a copy of their passport.
At many crossings, motorists will be asked to buy the "vignette" or autoroute sticker if the car does not already have one on the windscreen. This is the annual motorway tax and as of February 2011, it costs 40CHF (Swiss francs). There is no rebate for short-term use. However the fee is to rise and there is a possibility that a short-term sticker will be introduced. This will not happen until January 2013 at the earliest. The border posts all take credit cards.
At airports, travellers' passports will only be checked if they are arriving from a non-Schengen member country (the UK, for example). The airports are now divided into "Schengen" and "extra-Schengen" zones so that those who arrive in from a Schengen country simply walk straight to the baggage hall. Passports are not checked at railway stations as all the countries surrounding Switzerland are part of the Schengen area.
Information on visas, and other information about Switzerland's Foreign Affairs Department, can be found here. A Schengen visa, obtained through an Embassy or Consulate of another Schengen member, is valid for Switzerland. EU and EEA citizens do not require a visa. Citizens of other countries/territories such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the US do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 period. The 90 days includes time spent in other Schengen countries and the 180 period starts from the day of first entry in the Schengen area. New Zealand citizens can stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days visa-free irrespective of time already spent in other Schengen countries - for more information, visit the website of the Swiss Embassy in NZ.
Duty-free regulations can be very strictly enforced. Visitors should be aware that there are now "flying patrols" of Frontier Guards who have the right to stop any car anywhere in Switzerland to see if there is undeclared merchanize in the car, and there are substantial penalities for undeclared items. Because things are sometimes cheaper in France and Germany, there is a lot of cross-border shopping. Limits, especially on meat and similar products, are low to protect Swiss businesses, and fines are high ifor those who try to bring in too much. More can be found under http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_priv... or at http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_priv... for English version.
The following items may be imported into Switzerland by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty by:
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 2 litres of alcohol (up to 15 per cent) and 1 litre of alcohol (over 15 per cent). Total value of the goods should not exceed CHF 300 / Eur. 200.-. More under http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_priv...
Also be aware that when crossing the boarder out of Switzerland, you may be stopped to make sure you are not trying to smuggle anything out of the country. Cars are stopped at random by boarder patrol and are subject to a simple search. Be ready to have them pat you down. Especially when crossing the boarder into France, they will be mainly checking for Swiss grown grapes.
English version is http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_priv...
Narcotics are prohibited. There are strict regulations on importing firearms. Visitors who have a domestic animal with them must also have its "passport" showing proof of innoculations, etc. And check local regulations concerning dogs closely. In some places muzzles are required and in others some breeds are not permitted. In all cases dogs must be kept on a lead, regardless of the area.