Foreign aircraft that belong to special categories

In order for foreign aircraft that belong to special categories (i.e. aircraft that do not, or only partially, or temporarily do not meet the airworthiness requirements in accordance with ICAO Annex 8) to be flown into and operated in Switzerland, a special permit is required for the use of Swiss airspace. Applications for a special licence must be submitted so that they are received by the FOCA by not later than two full working days prior to the intended flight.

Applications submitted by e-mail must be accompanied by the following documentation in German, French, Italian or English:

  • Airworthiness certificate, including any imposed restrictions, or;
  • Flight approval, including any special requirements;
  • Noise certificate (if applicable);
  • Registration certificate;
  • Maintenance records incl. annual inspection;
  • Third party liability insurance policy.

The FOCA has introduced the following new regulations:

  • The maximum authorisation period for the use of Swiss airspace is 2 months per calendar year, which can be split throughout the year;
  • Already issued annual permits may be extended within the transitional period until 30 June 2024.

If necessary, the FOCA can request additional supporting documentation and also reserves the right to inspect the aircraft before issuing a permit to use Swiss airspace.

Annual authorizations for Ultralight aircraft, which may apply for a special permit to fly into Swiss airspace, must be mentioned on the relevant list (PDF, 216 kB, 30.01.2024) and fulfill the requirements of the corresponding AIC. To renew the authorization, the above-mentioned documentation (if not already sent), must be submitted:

  • Current authorization with filled out self-declaration;
  • Copies of the journey log of the current year.

A special permit for entry into Switzerland or for the use of Swiss airspace is not required for aircraft that have been registered in the European Economic Area with a permit to fly containing the following wording: “This permit to fly has been issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, Article 18, paragraph 2, letter (b), and certifies that the aircraft can be safely operated within the scope of the purposes cited below and under the stated conditions; it is valid in all member states

Furthermore, in application of ECAC Recommendation INT S/11-1 dated June 1980, no permit is required for entry into Switzerland for home-built aircraft that have been registered in ECAC states. However, this principle does not automatically apply to every type of operation. For example, in Switzerland foreign home-built light aircraft are not permitted to carry out flights in accordance with VFR Night and IFR unless they meet the respective Swiss requirements.

Since Switzerland has adopted the ECAC/35-1 recommendation, which entered into force on 18 May 2016, aircraft in the category ‘antique/historical’ that are registered in an ECAC state are also exempt from the authorization requirement for the use of Swiss airspace. However, the recommendation only applies to originally factory-manufactured aircraft, previously holding an ICAO compliant Certificate of Airworthiness. A maximum of 9 people, of which a maximum of 6 can be passengers, may be transported. This rule has no transitional period and applies with immediate effect.

The FOCA may, within the scope permitted by law, still grant exceptions in justified cases.

The FOCA will take legal action against any violation of the regulations.

Customs provisions

Under customs law, aircraft are regarded as goods (such as clothing, foodstuffs or machinery). A distinction is made between domestic (duty paid) and foreign (duty unpaid) aircraft. Whether you may use an uncleared aircraft in Switzerland depends, among other things, on whether you are domiciled or resident in Switzerland or abroad. As a rule, persons domiciled or resident in Switzerland may not use an uncleared aircraft in Switzerland. This also applies to rented or borrowed aircraft. The special rules and regulations for persons resident abroad can be obtained from the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security at > Information individuals > Declaring goods > Importation into Switzerland > Cross-border flights > Use of uncleared aircraft.

Application for permit to fly into Switzerland / special permit to operate aircraft in Swiss airspace


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Further Information


Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA

Swiss Aircraft Registry

Tel: +41 58 465 35 35
Fax: +41 58 465 80 48

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