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Customs requirements for non D-reg from Germany to Switzerland?

There is a discussion underway on a German-language Swiss forum (ILS Flightforum) that came out of an article in the German customs regulations (Deutsche Zollverordnung). It evolves specifically around whether German customs is required for flights from Germany to Switzerland for non-German registered/based aircraft, non-resident pilots, and no goods to declare. The article suggests that it is not required in this case, and that indeed a flight can be made from any airfield in Germany to Switzerland without German customs notification if the conditions are met. The OP wrote to German customs quoting the article and requested their position, and they replied confirming the above. The German text (question, reply, customs regulation reference) is quoted in the thread. Anyone who can read German, the thread can be read here.

Note that Swiss in-bound customs regulations still need to be met, as discussed here on various occasions, and is not the subject of the thread….. only German out-bound customs requirements.

This would seem to be of significant interest to non-German operators, particularly Swiss (many of whom will be following the above thread) but also all other flying into Switzerland from the north on a trip to or through Switzerland.

Last Edited by chflyer at 22 Jan 18:07
LSZK, Switzerland

Something I have been suggesting on said forum a few years ago actually, but met with lots of scepticism.

The endless discussion that ensues on that forum after the very clear clarification received from the customs authorities is so typical… one of the reasons I left that forum (sorry Urs). Along the lines of “ok now we may actually be able to use this concession but let’s find a way why it may not apply so we can continue bitching and moaning about overregulation that prevents us from flying”.

I suppose the reason these discussions come up (and not only there btw) whenever a senseless regulation finally gets dumped is that many people are burned too many times by things like this and simply stop believing them possible. In other words, if it is too good to be true it can’t be, even if it is…

RWY20, you might have noticed that one poster there has stated that he will continue to use customs airports due to uncertainty of the legal action. That poster is one of the leading media lawyers in Switzerland… ok, lawyers are cautios by nature (not to say psychotic and lawyers in wrong places are one of the reasons we get so much resistance whenever rules are relaxed) but I can understand what he is saying. Yet, the situation with the written confirmation by the German customs appears to be quite ok for this matter.

You might also remember that the French issued a similar statement some years back and got smashed on the head by our dear Oberzolldirektion, as a consequence they retracted their statements regarding their waiving of the necessity to use customs airports in France.

In this case however, I do not see what the Swiss have to moan about, as the whole thing is only about flying from Germany to Switzerland, where they have no authority whatsoever. If Germany waives the need for a customs airport in order to leave the country, that is their right and good for us. In the opposite direction however, it is clear that customs is still required.

LSZH, Switzerland

In my understanding of German, the custom’s answer says that “among others” (“u.a.” is “unter anderen”, right?), planes owned and operated by a person established outside of the union customs territory, can fly from any field in Germany to Switzerland (including non-customs ones) without prior notice.

I don’t see the link to the country of registration of the plane at all, and they don’t clearly say a plane owned or operated by a EU-resident person can do that. But the “among others” in the sentence doesn’t preclude it either. For my curiosity, would you be so kind to spell out the reasoning (with a link to the Verordnung) that leads you to:

  1. link this to the country of registration
  2. extend these privileges to EU-customs-territory-resident owners/operators

From the thread I assume the key provisions will be “Artikel 231 und 232 Abs. 2 der Durchführungsverordnung zum Zollkodex” and we should see them? “Durchführungsverordnung zum Zollkodex” sounds like it is the EU Commission Implementing Regulation, but articles 231 and 232 talk about “holder of the authorisation for centralised clearance” and “supplementary declaration is accessible to customs in the trader’s IT System”, so I’m completely at a loss to understand how this applies to a vanilla regular GA flight.

Last Edited by lionel at 23 Jan 07:40

lionel wrote:

any field in Germany to Switzerland (including non-customs ones) without prior notice.

Not quite. The “non-customs ones” applies only to the Germany side. Maybe that’s what you meant. The destination airfield in Switzerland still needs to be a customs airfield, either a port of entry or an airfield allowing traffic subject to prior customs notification, no visa-pax, and no goods to declare.

Rereading the text again, I believe that you are correct with your two points:

Danach gelten u. a. Flugzeuge, die einer außerhalb des Zollgebietes der Union ansässigen Person gehören und von einer außerhalb dieses Gebietes wohnhaften Person verwendet werden, fomlos als zur Wiederausfuhr angemeldet und überlassen.

I was reading “Zollgebietes der Union” as Germany, but in fact it means the EU Customs Union, i.e. an aircraft belonging to and operated by a person or persons (when different) not resident in the EU Customs Union, not just Germany. So I guess it is really more interesting for pilots/owners not living in any country part of the EU Customs Union (e.g. Switzerland obviously, but also Norway, and soon to be Britain).

I do appreciate Rwy20’s comment about the ILS forum, though, seeing how the referenced thread has crept into a general discussion about trans-border flights in/out of Switzerland. This forum is much better at keeping threads on-topic, in no small part due to @Peter ’s diligent moderation.

Last Edited by chflyer at 28 Jan 10:28
LSZK, Switzerland

Interesting! Anyone on here using this improved process?


Curiously, no input on this…

There was, of course, this big event which may be of relevance.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

on the German board there was a lot of discussion and confusion, but in the mean time it seems to be confirmed that non-D-registered planes have to use the normal customs process when leaving Germany to Switzerland, i.e. use a proper Zollflugplatz like EDNY or use the prior notice process for the smaller airfields like EDNL.

Curiously, it seems that for D-registered planes, indeed you are allowed to directly fly to Switzerland in case you don’t have anything to declare. But that part, I personally still wouldn’t fully trust, just because there is so much uncertainty and misinformation around that topic.

Then of course there is another aspect to this: What does constitute a “customs stop”: Full-Stop landing incl. taxi and wait at apron, touch and go, overflying airfield (and AFIS person makes an entry in main log book that you landed)?
Maybe some questions are better left unasked…


It’s not about D-reg and non-D-reg, but it’s about EU-reg and non-EU-reg. I’ve talked to two different customs directions (HZA Saarbrücken and HZA Bielefeld) and they both confirmed that leaving the EU is allowed from all German aerodromes, as long as you fly a EU-registered aircraft, which will be “reimported” again. However, even for non-customs airports, you still have to send customs a short notice or give them a call, but you don’t need a Einzelbefreiung. This document on the customs homepage describes it very well.

This means that e.g. N-reg and HB-reg airplanes have to use a Besondere Landeplatz from List A with prior notification to customs or a normal Zollflugplatz at all times. If you have goods to declare, a Zollflugplatz should always be used, regardless of registration, inbound or outbound.

Last Edited by Frans at 12 Nov 20:18
EDKM, EDLA, Germany

Curiously, it seems that for D-registered planes, indeed you are allowed to directly fly to Switzerland in case you don’t have anything to declare. But that part, I personally still wouldn’t fully trust, just because there is so much uncertainty and misinformation around that topic.

Rules are clearly stated (in German, but still) Customs offices confirm it. Only badly informed airfield staff doesnt know (like the high profile cases discussed here)

And yes, I have used it several times (and on the way back used a customs airport) with no problem. No proof, just anecdotal, but still…

Last Edited by ch.ess at 12 Nov 23:16
EDM_, Germany
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