When goods are to be destined for temporary use abroad anticipating future reintroduction into the national territory, a temporary export (DDAT) can be made.

The main goods for which this scheme is applied are: professional equipment, goods for exhibitions and fairs, certain means of transportation (e.g., racing cars or boats) and packaging. Modifications of goods are not allowed, except for the use and measures that serve their maintenance.

No special authorization is required for export taxation with a DDAT, and there is no need to provide a guarantee performance. The relevant import taxes are collected only once.

In principle, DDAT is limited to two years. It may be extended by a maximum of one year three times. Extension must be requested in writing and in any case before the deadline expires from the customs office that handled the procedure. If the goods are brought back to Switzerland after the deadline has expired, import taxes are collected again. However, it is possible, under certain conditions, to obtain duty or tax exemption for so-called “Swiss return goods.” This customs treatment must be requested in the customs declaration.

The temporary admission procedure with DDAT ends when the goods are re-imported; if the goods remain permanently abroad, they must be declared for export. If work is carried out abroad on the goods that results in an increase in their value, the costs are subject to VAT. Such work must be declared when re-importing into Switzerland.

In certain cases, an ATA Carnet can be submitted as a customs declaration. The Carnet ATA (Admission Temporaire / Temporary Admission) is an international customs document, used for the import, export and transit of goods, through which customs formalities for Switzerland and abroad can be carried out. No guarantee benefits should be provided at the border crossing.

The ATA Carnet is valid for one year and can be used for repeated border crossings. The main advantage of the ATA Carnet is speedy customs clearance, as it can be used for all imports and exports as well as for transit, instead of national customs documents. The document’s uniformity facilitates its use with all partners involved (more than 60 countries).

On the back of the cover of the ATA booklet should be a clear description of the goods. The passbook holder has the option of importing all goods into Switzerland or only a part.

The ATA booklet can also be used for consumer durables (e.g., a trade show booth), but not for non-durable consumer goods (e.g., soft drinks and booth flyers). The main fields of application in Switzerland are:

  • goods for exhibitions and fairs
  • professional equipment
  • samples for presentation (watches, jewelry, clothes, etc.)

Individual countries regulate the scope of the ATA booklet. In Switzerland, for example, it cannot be used in the case of leases. In those cases it is necessary to prepare a customs declaration for temporary admission.

ATA booklets are issued by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry at which the import tax guarantee must be given and which inform about the conditions for obtaining this document.