Since the end of 2008, the Schengen Agreement also applies to Switzerland. Airports offering flights outside the Schengen Area are therefore Switzerland’s only external Schengen borders. As Switzerland is not a member of the EU Customs Union, the customs controls remain in place regardless of whether the arriving or departing flight relates to a Schengen country or a non-Schengen country.
In terms of persons (passport control) at airports, the following Schengen Agreement stipulations apply, having come into force on 29 March, 2009:
- Persons travelling between a Swiss airport and another airport within the Schengen Area are no longer subject to immigration control.
- Any person entering the Schengen Area from a non-Schengen country or leaving the Schengen Area, in either case via a Swiss airport, must be subject to passport control.
- Persons only making a transit stop at a Swiss airport and not leaving the transit zone will not be subject to checks provided they have come from within the Schengen Area and are continuing within the Schengen Area. Persons arriving from outside the Schengen Area and continuing inside the Schengen Area must be subject to passport control, as must persons coming from the Schengen Area who are leaving the Schengen Area after transiting
The Schengen Treaty of Association does not, however, relate to customs regulations. As Switzerland is not a member of the EU Customs Union, all flights from or to foreign countries are subject to customs controls, regardless of whether the country involved is a Schengen member or not. Inspections of goods therefore continue. In the case of suspected criminal activity associated with customs controls, passport control of persons may also be carried out under the Schengen Agreement.