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Visas

Switzerland - Visas



A visa is required for a continuous stay in Switzerland that exceeds 90 days. You may be eligible to enter Switzerland without a visa if visiting as a tourist or for business reasons, and if a citizen of certain countries (further details below). However, if this exemption does apply, the stay can last no longer than 90 days and you can face heavy fines on leaving Switzerland if you do overstay.

Under the Free Movement of Persons right, bilaterally signed by the EU and by Switzerland, EU citizens are legally entitled to remain in Switzerland if employed, self-employed or of sufficient independent means; if a student; or as a dependant of individuals accepted under these conditions. This includes the newer EU-8 member states, but certain restrictions currently remain in force with regard to first-time employment for EU-8 state members until 2014. Normal regulations concerning visa application and registration in Switzerland must still be followed by all non-Swiss nationals.

Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement and participates in the Schengen visa scheme. A Schengen Visa covers travel in all countries that are Schengen member states. These include most European countries but NOT the UK or Ireland.

Short Stay Schengen Visa

This is not required by holders of EU passports/identity cards or EEA passports/identity cards. It is also not required by those in possession of a passport of a number of other countries including USA and Canada. A full list of exemptions can be found on the VFS Global website. Note that regulations with regard to US Green Card holders changed in 2008 and a visa will be required. Visit http://www.eda.admin.ch/ and navigate to the pages for your country of residence for more information if you need a short stay visa to enter Switzerland. In the US, the processing time for a short stay visa is normally 10 days.


Long Stay Visas (Residence Permits)

Student Visa

UK residents must apply for a student visa in order to study in Switzerland. This must be applied for in person at the Swiss Embassy in London. There are strict guidelines which must be adhered to with regard to what is required and how many copies. These are available via VFS Global here (PDF file).

US residents wishing to study in Switzerland must apply for a student visa at one of the official Swiss visa desks in the USA. Locations are listed here and application requirements here (PDF file).

Work Visa

To work in Switzerland, UK residents must apply for a work visa. This must be done in person at the Swiss Embassy in London. There are strict guidelines which must be adhered to with regard to what is required and how many copies. These are available via VFS Global here (PDF file).

US residents who have secured employment in Switzerland must apply for a work visa at one of the official Swiss visa desks in the USA. Locations are listed here and application requirements here (PDF file).

Dependant Visa

UK residents wishing to join a husband, wife or parents in Switzerland must apply for a dependant visa. This must be done in person at the Swiss Embassy in London. There are strict guidelines which must be adhered to with regard to what is required and how many copies. These are available via VFS Global here (PDF file).

Family Regroupment Visa

US residents need a Family Regroupment visa to join a Swiss or EU/EFTA spouse or parent. This must be applied for at one of the official Swiss visa desks in the USA. Locations are listed here (PDF file).

Following processing of your successful application you will be issued with an entry visa. Allow 8 to 12 weeks for this in the UK, 8 to 10 weeks in the US, other countries may vary. This will be exchanged for the appropriate permit following registration in Switzerland with the Foreigners Police / Town Registrar.

Application fees apply, but are waived for spouses and children of EU nationals and for children under six. Reduced fees may apply for children over six, UN and CERN employees, and citizens of certain countries. Full details can be obtained from the organisation responsible for issuing Swiss visas in your country of residence.

Residents of Australia should make visa applications to the Consulate General of Switzerland in Sydney. Residents of New Zealand should contact the Embassy in Wellington. The Swiss embassy for residents of Ireland is located in Dublin and applications must be made in person.


Useful Resources

Embassy of Switzerland (UK)
http://www.swissembassy.org.uk/london.html
16-18 Montagu Place, London W1H 2BQ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7616 6000

Embassy of Switzerland (Ireland)
6, Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 218 63 82/83
Email: dub.vertretung@eda.admin.ch

Consulate General of Switzerland, New York
633 Third Avenue, 30th floor, New York, NY 10017-8164
Tel: 212-599-5700

Consulate General of Switzerland (Australia)
101 Grafton Street cnr Grosvenor Street, Tower 2 Level 23, Bondi Junction NSW 2022 Australia
Tel: +61 2 8383 4000
Email: syd.vertretung@eda.admin.ch

Embassy of Switzerland (NZ)
10 Customhouse Quay, Level 12, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Tel: +64 4 472 15 93




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