Thread: Taking Guns to Switzerland
I thought I saw a "travel" thread, but now I can't find it.
In 2000, I moved my family to Switzerland for a year and took a handgun and a hunting rifle. I had more trouble getting the guns out of the US than I did getting them into Switzerland.
I checked the rifle as luggage and shipped the handgun ahead with United Airlines. Before going to United, I checked their own company regs and fully complied. But when I arrived at the cargo place near the airport, the manager wanted a form from customs. I don't remember what the form number was, but the purpose of it was simply to avoid paying a 10% duty on the firearm when you bring it back into the US – you let customs check the thing, and they give you the form to prove you already had it in the US, and don't have to pay duty when you bring it back.
But if you have a receipt, you don't have to get the form. And even then, if you don't want to get the form, you'll just have to pay 10% when you bring it back. There is no requirement to have the form.
The jerk manager would have none of it. He called customs saying he had "an individual who refused to register the gun before shipping." Then he handed me the phone. The customs guy said this United employee was a real jerk, just come get the form and save myself and him some trouble. So I did.
Now, when I got to Switzerland, I had to pay duty on the handgun, but they gave me a form saying that when I re-exported the gun, I'd get my money back.
And as to the hunting rifle? The customs officer didn't even want to see it. He just asked what kind it was and how much ammo I had. He checked his screen to make sure they were both authorized, wished me good hunting, and waved me on. Never even opened the case.