Tag Archives: Campione


A travel titbit of interest to all our readers, even those not thinking of actually moving to Campione, is that via this little known tax haven you can freely enter and leave Switzerland without a visa. Visitors to Campione from non-EC countries normally require a visa not only for Italy but also for Switzerland as one has to pass through Swiss Customs in order to reach Campione. If you do not have a visa or do not wish to obtain one, this requirement can be circumvented by taking a trip to Porto Ceresio, in Italy on the southern shore of Lake Lugano. From there, take the ferry to Campione. This trip does not require a visa as you “technically” never leave Italy. The service operates approximately every three to five hours.
Once inside Campione, you can easily enter Switzerland by boat, bus or taxi. The only problem may be that you may have to leave Switzerland via the same route. Swiss customs arc in operation at Lugano’s port, but usually no officers are present. The Swiss rarely, if ever, cheek anyone leaving the country. You can also move between Italy and Switzerland by train and get off the tram once across the border (Como and Chiasso respectively). Once inside the country of your destination, buy a ticket for the rest of your journey. Immigration officers won’t think that you just entered the country and therefore won’t ask to see your passport.

You would do well to get a Swiss newspaper and to get on the train just before or after they do so they won’t see you get on the train. If you don’t speak French, German or Italian like a mother tongue speaker, play deaf.

See section Obtaining a Campione Residence Permit for more information.

If a Campione residence permit is desired, you can get one almost as a matter of course by personally applying to the police in nearby Como, Italy. (See section Obtaining a Campione Residence Permit for more information.) Non-EC citizens should get a “long duration” residence permit for Italy from the Italian consulate for where they are resident. With an official residence certificate one may then go to the Ufficio Cantonale della Circolazione, in Camonino near Lugano, and, on the spot, get a Swiss driving license, Swiss license plates and Swiss car registration. In Campione, one will automatically get a Swiss listed telephone number.


The Campione telephone area code, by the way, is 41 (for Switzerland) followed by 91 (for Campione). Italian government equivalent services are theoretically available in Campione but no one in their right mind has anything to do with Italian government-run utilities if they can avoid it. Why? Here’s an example: Swiss mail services are the most efficient in the world. The Italian postal service has been known to take a month to deliver mail within the same town, in the unlikely event that there is no strike going on at the time. If there is a strike, you will wait until the Italian employees have called a truce. There is never an end to any Italian strike, only temporary truces. In Italy, government employees spend their time either striking or arguing with citizens, insisting that almost anything the customer wants is impossible. Or they argue with each other over soccer statistics while working people wait for service. Since they (Italian government employees) by law can’t ever be fired (unless they commit a crime) without a large severance allowance, their other activities, slowdowns, strikes and bickering, leave little time to perform essential services. The Italians are artistic, lovable anarchists, but don’t rely on them for the mail! Fortunately, in Campione, you don’t have to. For mail to Campione just use CH-6911. CH stands for Confederatio Helvetica or, if you prefer, Confederazione Elvetica in Italian. In case you didn’t know, that’s what the Swiss call Switzerland. For outgoing mail, use Swiss stamps and the post office located in downtown Campione. For incoming mail, use your Swiss postal code.
The Italian post code is 1-22060 CAMPIONE D’ITALIA (CO) in case you’re interested in the ( kudos of two addresses in two different countries for the price of one! Also, it may be helpful to send mail via Italy (with Italian stamps) if you want to delay a letter’s arrival, Use your Italian address for junk mail. It will often get lost. As an added bonus, if you acquire residency, you can take all your personal belongings into Campione (which is a Swiss customs zone) as messerizie, personal effects. Of course, who’s to know if you take along a few goodies to sell?
If you apply for residence or hold an Italian passport, you qualify for free health care. The tab is picked up by the Swiss. The local Italian health authority is Como’s USSL 80 (Unita Socio Sanitaria Locale). This service has a branch in the Corso, whose tiled exterior makes it look more like a swimming complex.
Just about the only negative factor is that Switzerland has now introduced VAT, called IVA/TVA/MWST but this is lower than the rate in Italy.