I am traveling from Washington DC to Milan, Italy with a 1 hour layover in Zurich. Do I need to go through customs? How do I find my next flight?

2 Answers 2


If you have a single ticket through to Milan, you will not have to go through customs in Zurich as your luggage will be tagged through to Milan. You will have to go through passport control in Zurich as you will be entering the Schengen area in Zurich. After getting your passport stamped, you will then have to follow the signage on the airport for your gate for the next flight for Milan. As Zurich and Milan are both in the Schengen area, the flights operate as if they were domestic flights in the same country. So you will not pass through any passport control in Milan. You will collect your luggage in Milan and go through customs and exit.

  • Thank you so much! very helpful. Aug 29, 2022 at 17:45
  1. Assuming you are flying United UA52, you will be arriving in Zurich in Terminal E
  2. At check in you should have gotten the boarding pass for your flight to Milan. This may or may not have the departure gate on it. If not, you can look at the flight display screens in the terminal to determine the gate for your flight. In all likelihood it's going to be in Terminal A (e.g. gate A71).
  3. Follow the signs to your departure terminal.
  4. Along the way you will go through passport control. You can't miss it, there is no other way out of Terminal D/E.
  5. Go directly to your departure gate and board your flight to Milan
  6. At Milan follow the signs to "baggage claim". Locate your carousel and retrieve your bags.
  7. With your bags in hand simply walk to the exit doors (typically marked green with a "nothing to declare" sign). That constitutes "going through customs". There will be a few customs officers standing around (or not), but as long as they don't flag you down or ask you any questions, you can just walk out.
  8. Welcome in Milano !
  • 5
    7 -> unless you have something to declare of course. Also there may be a blue “EU arrivals” channel one should not go through in this case, or possibly no customs at all.
    – jcaron
    Aug 28, 2022 at 13:43
  • Thank you so much! The flight with United was totally changed and now doesn't involve Zurich at all. Aug 29, 2022 at 17:44

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