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Postal Service and Mail Delivery

Switzerland - Postal Service and Mail Delivery

The national post service in Switzerland is Swiss Post, an organisation that is central to many parts of daily life. The Swiss Post logo on a yellow background is a recognisable image for any resident. Swiss Post has been around since the federal postal service was unified in 1849 and today is responsible not only for mail services but also for a national finance group PostFinance, the PostBus transport network, and the wide range of services offered at post office counters. Swiss Post is also a partner in a new national bike rental scheme.

Swiss Post values its reputation as a world-leading postal company for reliability, speed and security. The average time for a letter from Switzerland to reach a European destination is 2.1 days. Each year over 97% of letters and a similar percentage of parcels arrive on time. Parcel tracking by customers is possible with an online Track & Trace service. Nonetheless, some expats do report loss of mail in transit to and from their home countries, with mail to/from the US being a particular problem.

All post is delivered and it is common to have a lockable mail box. Be aware that if you leave unaddressed mail such as leaflets and free papers in the unlocked part of the mailbox it may be collected by a neighbour, landlord or janitor. You can also buy stickers for your mail box to request no junk mail (Werbung). Return post received for previous tenants/occupiers to the post office. If your post comes when you are not in you will be left a card and will be able to collect it from a post office. Take the card and ID with you.

Swiss Post Box for Expatriates is a service from Swiss Post where you can maintain a correspondence address in Switzerland and your mail will be forwarded on to you if you choose. You will also be notified by email of new mail, with a scan of the envelope so that you can decide whether you wish to have it sent on, scanned and sent electronically, stored or shredded. You don't have to be an expat to use this service, which is advertised as 'a postal address for life'. It can also be used to give yourself a 'prestige' mailing address, or to manage your mail while away from home on business or pleasure, or temporarily out of the country.

To write to a Swiss address, first type or write the name of the recipient or company. Titles are important in Switzerland and you should use Herr or Frau (M. or Mme. in French-speaking Switzerland) as appropriate. If you are sending to an individual at a company, the company name goes on the top line and is followed by the personal name. Follow this with the street name and (on the same line) the house or building number. This is followed by the postal code which is frequently preceded by CH but also can be written without, particularly if sending from within Switzerland. Finally, if sending from abroad, add Switzerland.

This example is one of those given in the Swiss Post guide to sending letters (available online from the Swiss Post website), which details every aspect of correct mail addressing and sending with typical Swiss precision:

Müller AG
Herr R. Bürki
Zollikerstrasse 788
8008 Zürich

This guide also cautions customers against using fancy fonts such as Gothic (Fraktur), italic, handwritten-style printed fonts, or negative (i.e. white on black/colour). The address should be correctly placed with minimum borders to be observed, and a guide can be found on the Swiss Post website or in the PDF guide previously mentioned. You can find postcodes (Postleitzahl) using an online search, inputting the town and street. A Swiss postcode has four numbers. You can also use the website to find out post office locations and opening hours.

If receiving packages from abroad the Swiss Post will charge you any taxes that are deemed to apply, plus a processing fee, before you will be able to take receipt of your item.

Banking and a range of other financial services including insurance and mortgates are offered by PostFinance. They also offer a number of online financial services via their E-Finance and E-Trading web portals. You can visit Swiss post offices to exchange currency, to transfer money internationally or to pay bills. If you have receive a orange payment slip from a company you can pay this by cash at a post office counter. The post office will keep a record of your payment should this be required at a later date (a fee for a copy will apply).

Useful Resources

Swiss Post
Viktoriastrasse 21, Bern, CH 3030
Tel: 0848 888 888
Email: custcare@post.ch

Swiss Post Box

Swiss Post, PostFinance, Nordring 8, CH 3030 Berne
Tel: 0848 888 710
Email: Select from contact form options

Read more about this country

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