On account of the customs treaty with Switzerland, customs clearances for merchandise from or to Liechtenstein are possible only with a UID. Merchandise means all goods that are not intended for private consumption. This also includes goods that are processed or used within a company, e.g. work clothing, tools or office materials. For this reason the UID affects the export industry as well as the manufacturing industry along with companies that import goods from abroad for production, retail or their own requirements.

The twelve-character UID consists of the three-letter prefix CHE and nine numerals, whereby the final numeral is a so-called check numeral. The UID is a so-called “non-signifying number”, as this is allocated randomly and does not contain any information that enables conclusions to be drawn about the company.


In order to preserve Liechtenstein’s sovereignty and data protection, Swiss authorities cannot automatically allocate a UID to companies domiciled in Liechtenstein. Responsibility for applying for a Swiss UID from the Office of Statistics (Amt für Statistik “AS”) therefore lies with Liechtenstein companies themselves.

FAQ

Does a Liechtenstein company have to apply for a UID?
No, not necessarily. Enterprises subject to Swiss customs legislation applicable in Liechtenstein as well as the enterprises specified in Article 3c of the Company Identification Act (“UIDG”) are required to apply for a UID.

What happens if a company does not apply for a UID?
This depends on the field of activity of the respective company. Without a UID, a wide range of transactions with or in Switzerland cannot be performed. Within Liechtenstein, however, this does not have any repercussions whatsoever.

When does a Liechtenstein company need to apply for a Swiss UID?
When a company fulfils one or more of the following criteria:

  • Goods obtained from abroad or goods delivered abroad (import/export)
  • Operation of all kinds of foreign trade
  • Contact with Swiss clients and/or public authorities
  • Corporate activity is subject to farming, forestry, animal disease, animal protection or food legislation
  • A branch office of the business exists in Switzerland

What does the UID cost, and for how long is it valid?
The UID is free of charge, is unique and does not have an expiry date.

Is the UID also used for identification purposes in Liechtenstein?
The Liechtenstein National Administration does not use the UID. Instead, it uses the personal identification number (persönliche Identifikationsnummer – “PEID”) to identify enterprises.

Does the UID replace the value added tax number?
No. Liechtenstein companies continue to retain the five-digit VAT number.

Does the UID replace the commercial register number?
No. The Liechtenstein commercial register number (registration number of the Liechtenstein company index) remains valid.

How and where can a Liechtenstein company apply for a UID?
The Liechtenstein National Administration enables companies that are domiciled in Liechtenstein to apply free of charge (German only) for allocation of a Swiss UID. This is conditional merely on a valid e-mail address and a number of details about the company:

  • Name and address of the company
  • Legal form and business sector (NOGA Code) of the company
  • Number of employees of the company
  • Personal identification number (PEID)
  • Commercial register number (insofar as registered)
  • Status active / inactive or foundation/deletion date in the Liechtenstein company index

The Liechtenstein Office of Statistics (Amt für Statistik – “AS”) forwards the application to the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics (Schweizer Bundesamt für Statistik – “BFS”). The BFS allocates the UID, sends this to the applicant in writing and informs the Office of Statistics in Liechtenstein.

Is there a public UID register?
Yes. The Swiss BFS maintains a public UID register. This contains identification information, which in the case of Liechtenstein companies are as follows:

  • Name and address of the company
  • UID and UID status
  • Commercial register number with link to the Liechtenstein company index (insofar as registered)
  • Reference to the VAT provisions valid in Liechtenstein

The key characteristics of companies domiciled in Liechtenstein that are entered in the company index of the Liechtenstein company register are published automatically in the UID register. Sole proprietorships that are not entered in the Liechtenstein commercial register may themselves arrange to be published in the UID register or may apply to the Office of Statistics for this to be performed.

Relevant laws (German only)