FAQ – Frequently asked questions

Please note that the general visa and entry procedure is described in detail in our information sheet:


1. General information on entry and visa procedures

Unfortunately, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) cannot provide any information in this matter. Please contact the Swiss Embassy responsible for the area in which you reside:
Swiss representations

The relevant information can usually be obtained directly from the Embassy’s website.

Swiss citizens have an unrestricted right to enter Switzerland. All that is required is to show a valid Swiss passport or ID card.

If the person does not have a travel document, he/she may enter Switzerland if Swiss citizenship can be proven or shown to be plausible. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) therefore recommends that the following documents be presented:

  • Photocopy of a valid passport or ID card,
  • An expired travel document,
  • An official document showing the person’s identity and/or citizenship (e.g. driver’s licence).

EU or EEA citizens must satisfy the following entry requirements:

  • They must present a valid ID card or passport;
  • They must not pose a threat to public order and security;
  • They may not be expelled from Switzerland.

Family members of an EU, EEA, Swiss, or third-state citizen must satisfy the following entry requirements:

  • They must present a valid passport;
  • If necessary, they must obtain a specific residence permit from a Schengen country or a visa;
    List of residence permits issued by Member States
  • They must not pose a threat to public order and security;
  • They may not be expelled from Switzerland.

Regardless of their citizenship, the following are considered as family members of EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens:

  • The spouse or registered unmarried partner of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen. Registered partnership status must be based on legislation in effect in the corresponding country of citizenship and this status must be established as legally equivalent to marital status in both the member state and host country;
  • A direct descendant under the age of 21 of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen and his/her spouse or registered unmarried partner. The family will be responsible for providing for this person's basic necessities for the entire duration of his/her stay in Switzerland;
  • A relative in an ascending line of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen and his/her spouse or registered unmarried partner. The family will be responsible for providing for this person's basic necessities for the entire duration of his/her stay in Switzerland.

Citizens of all other countries must meet the following conditions to enter Switzerland:

  • They must be in possession of one or more valid travel documents in order to cross the Swiss border;
    Annex 2
  • If required, they must also have a valid visa;
    If the third-state national holds a residence permit issued by a Schengen country or a long-stay visa, then these documents shall be considered as equivalent to a visa.
    List of residence permits issued by Member States
    Temporary stay permits shall not be considered as equivalent to a visa, since these documents are only issued for the period required to review an initial application for a residence permit or an application for asylum.
  • They must not remain longer than the maximum period established for stays within the Schengen Area.
  • They are able to demonstrate the purpose and circumstances of their stay in Switzerland and/or the Schengen country(ies) to be visited.
  • They have sufficient financial resources to cover the entire duration of their intended stay as well as the return trip to their country of origin, the transit trip through a third country, or can obtain the necessary financial resources by some other lawful means.
  • The Schengen Information System (SIS) or national database does not list their names as persons who have been denied entry.
  • They may not be expelled from Switzerland.
  • They pose no risk to public order, domestic security, public health or international relations with a Schengen country.

Please check the visa requirements for your nationality under the following link:
Annex 1, List 1: Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality

Schengen visas are valid for Switzerland and all other areas of the Schengen member states (providing nothing to the contrary is noted on the visa).

You are permitted to stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.
You have no legal right to a visitor’s visa.

If you have any questions, you should contact the Swiss Embassy responsible for the area in which you reside:
Swiss representations

  • A Type C visa is required for short-term stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period and destined for tourist purposes, such as visiting relatives or friends, participating in sports or cultural events, for business, or schooling and study programmes. Type C visas are valid for the entire Schengen area, which is why they are commonly referred to as Schengen visas.

To apply for a Schengen visa, please go to www.swiss-visa.ch or Schengen visa application and complete the visa form.

Please note that people intending to come to Switzerland to pursue gainful employment are required to hold both a valid Schengen visa and a work permit.

  • A Type D visa is required for stays of more than 90 days. This is a national visa, issued to people who wish to stay in Switzerland legally for a prolonged period of time. Stays subject to type D visa requirements need to be authorised by the appropriate authorities in advance; they are typically issued for work or study in Switzerland, family reunification or lengthy medical treatment.

To apply for a Type D visa, please go to Type D visa application and complete the visa form.

Once a Swiss representation has considered a Schengen visa application to be admissible, the application will, as a rule, be processed and a decision taken within fifteen days. Applications are considered to be admissible if the representation has received the applicant’s passport, photo, and identity documents, and if the applicant has been fingerprinted and the visa fee been paid. Under certain circumstances, the period for processing an application may be extended by 30 to 60 days.

Dealing with applications for a national (Type D) visa falls under cantonal jurisdiction. Stays subject to Type D visa requirements must be previously authorized by the competent authorities. The time cantonal authorities need to process an application may vary according to canton and purpose of stay. For detailed information, please turn to the competent cantonal migration authorities:
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

The cost of submitting an application is EUR 60. An additional EUR 60 is charged for a renewed application following a rejection. This amount does not include processing fees.

The Federal Assembly, on 28 September 2012, approved a priority bill amending the Asylum Act, thus abolishing the possibility of applying for asylum from abroad. However, people of non-Swiss citizenship who for compelling reasons feel required to leave their home countries and wish to apply for asylum in Switzerland may file a visa application with a Swiss diplomatic representation. The representation will determine whether compelling reasons exist warranting the issuance of a visa for Switzerland. Applicants are eligible for a visa if it may be presumed that they are in imminent and serious danger of bodily harm. People who for compelling reasons have left their home countries and are staying in a third state are considered at no risk.

The diplomatic representation that receives an application for asylum for humanitarian reasons examines whether the application meets all requirements. In case of doubt, applications are submitted to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) for final assessment. If the information provided by applicants proves to be true and the circumstances they face in their home countries are such that they cannot reasonably be expected to stay there any longer, an entry visa allowing entry to Switzerland will be granted.

For more information on the Swiss asylum procedure, please visit:
Swiss Asylum procedure

For information on airport transit, please check the following link, page 1, point 2.1:
Annex 1, List 2: ID and visa provisions: particularities regardless of nationality

Please note the opening hours of the embassy and check local public holidays (information is usually available on the embassy’s website). Alternatively, you could try sending the embassy an e-mail:
Swiss representations

If you still have problems reaching the embassy, you could also try contacting the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Bern, which is also responsible for dealing with any complaints made about an embassy.
E-Mail

You can find the visa application form on our website: www.swiss-visa.ch or Visa Application Form

If you’re having trouble downloading the form from the internet, try again later. Sometimes it helps to restart the computer or close all other programmes.

If that doesn’t work, send us an email or contact the Swiss Embassy responsible for your area:
Swiss representations

If you are travelling on a visitor’s visa, you may stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. After this, you must leave the Schengen area and reapply.

You do not have a legal right to a visitor’s visa.

Schengen visas may be single-entry, dual-entry or multiple-entry and may be issued for a period of validity of up to five years. The period of validity and the number of permissible entries are decided by the consular mission on a case-per-case basis, depending on the purpose of travel and the documents submitted in the visa application.

Schengen visas with a period of validity of up to five years may be issued to individuals who:

  • Can prove that they need to travel to the Schengen Area frequently and/or on a regular basis for business or personal reasons, and
  • Have complied with the terms of previously issued visas, thereby demonstrating trustworthiness.

Please note that all Schengen visas, including multiple-entry visas with a longer period of validity, are subject to the same conditions:

  • All stays within the Schengen Area may not exceed 90 days per 180-day period. This 90-day allowance may be used for a single uninterrupted stay or broken down into multiple stays.
  • Travel insurance must be taken out for all stays in the Schengen Area.

In general, you have to apply for a visa at the Swiss Embassy responsible for your place of residence, at least two months in advance.

If you cannot do this, please contact the next Swiss Embassy:
Swiss representations

Even though you are entitled to enter Switzerland without a visa, you may, on entering the country, be questioned by border guards about the purpose of your visit and your financial means. You may be turned away if you do not have sufficient financial means and are unable to provide details of where you will be staying and the purpose of your visit. One of the conditions of staying in Switzerland is that you have sufficient financial means to cover the duration of your stay (about CHF 100 per day).

It can therefore be useful if a personal invitation from your host can be presented. This is not imperative, however.

For detailed information on entry provisions for stateless persons, please go to our homepage and visit the following link, page 7, point 2.5:
Annex 1, List 2: ID and visa provisions: particularities regardless of nationality

If you have any questions, you can contact the Swiss Embassy responsible for the area in which you live:
Swiss representations

As a general rule, third-country nationals subject to visa requirements who are not in possession of a visa when crossing the external border will be refused entry.

In clearly defined cases, however, a visa can be issued.

Third-country nationals must satisfy the stipulated entry requirements and provide proof that time constraints prevented them from applying for a visa in advance, and that unforeseen circumstances or compelling reasons have forced them to travel.

Short-term visas are issued for a maximum of 15 days, and the visa is valid, in principle, for entry only.


2. Special information on Schengen

Short-term stays may not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period.

The entry and departure days are included in the calculation of the total duration of the stay.

Note:
More detailed explanations on the subject can be found on the page Entry.

Schengen visas are accepted in conjunction with a valid travel document for entry into Switzerland. If not otherwise noted, the Schengen visa is valid for all Schengen member states.

The authority responsible for issuing the visa is the embassy of the country in which you plan your main stay (i.e. in general the longest stay). If you are planning a round trip and intend to spend the same amount of time in several member states, the authority responsible for issuing the visa is the embassy of the country that you plan to visit first.

It does not matter which airport you arrive at or depart from, providing you stay no longer than 90 days in any 180-day period in the Schengen area. The number of entries applies to the whole of the Schengen area and not just to individual member countries (if not otherwise noted on the visa). Therefore you may travel throughout the whole of the Schengen area on the same visa for the duration of its validity.

Please note that Great Britain, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus are not part of the Schengen area and you therefore require separate visas for these two countries.

The Principality of Liechtenstein has been part of the Schengen area since 19 December 2011.

If you have any questions, please contact the Swiss Embassy responsible for the area in which you reside:
Swiss representations

Here you will find a list of the residence permits allowing visa-free entry into Switzerland for a maximum stay of 90 days in any 180-day period:
List of residence permits issued by member states

Please note that people who hold a valid residence permit from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada or who have a Green Card from the USA and wish to enter Switzerland may be subject to visa requirements. These requirements have been in effect since 12 December 2008.

If you have any questions, please contact the Swiss Embassy nearest to you:
Swiss representations

On 5 April 2010, Type C and Type D visas were given parity of treatment as far as freedom to travel within the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period is concerned.

Persons holding a residence permit from Great Britain, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Croatia and Canada or a Green Card from the USA may require a visa to enter the Schengen area. Applications for a Schengen visa can be submitted to a Swiss Embassy.

For details, contact the Swiss Embassy responsible for the area in which you live:
Swiss representations

You require a visa to enter Switzerland. You can obtain the visa free of charge. 
Annex 1, list 1: Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality

If you want to travel to any other Schengen state, you will need to check with the diplomatic representation (consulate) of that country to find out if you need a visa.

The UK is a EU member state but not a Schengen state; therefore, my British residence permit (EEA Family member Residence Documentation) is not listed in the Annex 2 to the Schengen Manual.

Annex 2: List of Residence Permits issued by the Member States

The free issue of visas is regulated in Art. 13 of the Ordinance on Federal Charges under the Foreign Nationals Act (Gebührenverordnung AuG; SR 142.209). For example, children under the age of 16 who are listed in the passport of their parents and are travelling with them are issued visas free of charge (Art. 13 para 1 Bst a Geb-V-AuG):
Gebührenverordnung AuG; SR 142.209

For charges, please compare the "Weisungen Visa":
VII. Weisungen Visa

The directive of 4 September 2013 on the easing of visa requirements for relatives of Syrian nationals living in Switzerland expired on 29 November 2013. However, applications submitted before 29 November 2013 are still processed according to the directive of 4 September 2013.

Detailed information can be found on our website::

Press release, 29 November 2013
Temporary visa facilitation for Syrian nationals lifted

People seeking information about SIS data should contact the following federal office:

Federal Office of Police (fedpol)
Data Protection Officer
Nussbaumstrasse 29
3003 Bern

Please note that only people directly concerned by an entry in the Schengen Information System (SIS) may file a request for information. This right does not apply to public or other authorities.

Requests for information, deletion, or rectification of personal data stored in the SIS may be submitted in writing either in German, French, Italian, or English and be accompanied by a high-quality photocopy of an official identification document.

Official documents are:

  • passport
  • Identity card

Further information see Information about SIS data.
 

People seeking information about the reason they are subject to an entry ban are asked to contact the following federal office:

State Secretariat for Migration
Admission and Residence Division
Quellenweg 6
3003 Bern-Wabern
Tel:  +41 (0)58 465 11 11
Fax: +41 (0)31 325 93 79
aufenthalt@sem.admin.ch

Foreign nationals must have adequate financial resources to cover the duration of their stay. The adequacy of these financial resources shall be determined on the basis of the duration and purpose of the stay.

Sufficient financial resources can be demonstrated by showing cash, traveller’s cheques, credit cards or other collateral (e.g. bank guarantee).

Foreign nationals who remain in Switzerland at their own expense must be able to demonstrate that they have enough financial resources to cover at least CHF 100 per day of their stay. The reference amount for students with a valid student permit is CHF 30 per day.

If a stay in another Schengen country is planned, the calculation of adequate financial resources shall be based on the reference amounts established by national authorities:
Annex 18: Reference amounts required for the crossing of the external border fixed by national authorities

If the entry takes place through a Schengen country that is not the main destination, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) recommends that foreign nationals carry traveller’s cheques, debit cards or credit cards as well as cash with them.

No, you are not. Neither a valid residence permit nor a work permit issued by another Schengen member state gives you the right to work in Switzerland. The Swiss statutory provisions on labour apply.

For details, please see chapter 7, question «I would like to work in Switzerland»

No. While the expulsion order remains in force, you are not permitted to enter or stay in Switzerland.

The expulsion order cannot be revoked or suspended in order to allow you to visit Switzerland.


3. Border-crossing / Travel documents

Anyone who wishes to enter Switzerland is required to hold a valid travel document made out in his/her name (a passport, emergency passport, temporary passport, ID card, or a special travel document issued to children up to a certain age). Please note that citizens of countries listed in Annex 1, List 1 may enter Switzerland on various expired travel documents:
Annex 1, List 1: Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality

Persons wishing to enter Switzerland without a valid travel document will be admitted if citizenship can be proven or shown to be plausible. The burden of proof rests with the person concerned and the person(s) accompanying children. Proof of citizenship may be furnished by any appropriate means. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) suggests carrying along the following documents to furnish proof of one's citizenship:

  • Photocopy of a valid travel document
  • An expired travel document.
  • An official document proving the identity and/or citizenship of the holder (e.g. driver’s licence).
  • Children: an extract of the entry of a child's personal data contained in an official register (e.g. the register of births, marriages, and deaths); if no such official register exists in the parents' EU or EEA member state, or if no extract could be issued for lack of time, then the original of the child's birth certificate will also do.

In all cases it is strongly suggested that travellers always apply for a travel document as soon as possible.

Please note that a number of airline companies will not transport people without valid travel documents. Check transport conditions with your airline.

Essentially, Swiss citizens wishing to enter an EU or EEA member state are required to have a valid travel document (e.g. passport, emergency passport, or ID card). However, it is possible to leave Switzerland on a passport that has expired no more than five years previously:
European Agreement on Regulations governing the Movement of Persons between Member States of the Council of Europe

People who can prove or plausibly demonstrate that they have Swiss citizenship are allowed to exit Switzerland and enter a neighboring country even if they do not have a valid travel document. The burden of proof rests with the person concerned and parents or other person(s) accompanying children. Proof of Swiss citizenship may be furnished by any appropriate means. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) suggests carrying along the following documents to furnish proof of one's citizenship:

  • An expired travel document; and for children in particular, an ID card.
  • An official document proving the identity and/or citizenship of the holder.
  • Children: an extract of the entry of a child's personal data in an official register (e.g. the register of births, marriages, and deaths); if no extract could be issued for lack of time, then the original of the child's birth certificate will also do.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) wishes to warn travelers that that some countries may depart from these regulations.

A number of European countries, such as Germany, require people staying on their territory to carry a valid travel document (passport, emergency passport, ID card) at all times. While it may be possible for people to enter and remain in such countries without a travel document, they may become liable to criminal prosecution if they do not carry a valid travel document while staying there.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) strongly suggests always applying for a travel document as soon as possible.

Please note that a number of airline companies will not transport people without valid travel documents. Check transport conditions with your airline.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) does not give any information on the entry policy of non-EU or EEA member states. These countries are autonomous in deciding on their entry provisions.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) suggests that travelers contact the destination country's diplomatic/consular mission in Switzerland  (Diplomatic/consular missions in Switzerland) or the website of the corresponding Swiss diplomatic/consular mission in the destination country (Swiss diplomatic/consular missions abroad).

Click on the link for the country that you are interested in to display general information on this country along with travel advice. You will also find the addresses of foreign diplomatic/consular missions in Switzerland.

The usual Internet search engines may also be helpful in finding information on entry requirements.

Entry into and stay in Switzerland will be approved if upon request the following documents can be presented:

  • A passport expired or annulled containing a valid visa

and

  • an officially recognized and valid passport (without visa).

Refusal of entry for other reasons remains explicitly reserved.

No. The F and N permits are not travel documents. They only confirm that you are authorised to stay in Switzerland temporarily. For this reason you are not allowed to travel abroad or to the Schengen area with either of these permits.

If you hold an F or N permit and would like to travel abroad, you should contact the migration office of the canton in which you live.

Schoolchildren resident in Switzerland
Schoolchildren from third countries whose travel documents and/or residence permits do not entitle them to enter a member state of the EU or EFTA without a visa can nevertheless travel without a visa if a separate list of the schoolchildren is presented in the context of school excursions. For travel to Great Britain, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus, those responsible for the schoolchildren should enquire with the respective embassies whether the country in question recognizes the school list issued by Switzerland.

The list is only valid for schoolchildren under 18. They are required to travel as a member of a group and need to be accompanied by at least one teacher.

The names of the schoolchildren who are holders of a residence permit type N, F or S can also be added to such a list. If a schoolchild does not hold a valid travel document, the list is accepted in lieu of a travel document, provided it contains a photo of that child.

The list and further information can be obtained from the competent cantonal immigration authorities:
Cantonal immigration authorities

 
Schoolchildren resident in an EU or EFTA member state
Schoolchildren from third countries resident in an EU or EFTA member state may enter Switzerland without a visa if a separate list with the names of the schoolchildren, issued by the competent authorities of the respective EU or EFTA member state, can be presented.

The list of schoolchildren is recognised as a valid travel document by Switzerland if it contains a passport photo of the schoolchild in question.

As of 26 June 2012, Switzerland no longer recognises the names of children listed in passports from Schengen countries as being valid for entry. Each child needs to have his or her own travel document.

However, Switzerland continues to recognise the names of children listed in passports from third states as long as the travel document is recognised as valid for entry:
Annex 2, Part 1 Add. 1–4 and Parts 2, 3 and 5

Infants travelling without a passport made out in their name are admitted to Switzerland if each of the following requirements has been met:
(cf. Visa Directives, Annex 1, List 2, Section 2.15)

  • The infant is not older than six months
  • The infant has been officially registered (for example, in a register of births, marriages and deaths)
  • The infant is travelling accompanied by one parent or both its parents
  • One of the infant's parents or both are citizens of an EU or EEA member state
  • The infant's parent or parents identify themselves with their passports or ID cards and present an extract of the entry of their child's personal data contained in an official register (for example, a register of births, marriages, and deaths).

If no such official register exists in the parents' EU or EEA member state, or if for lack of time no extract could have been issued, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) advises parents of infants to carry with them their child's birth certificate when travelling abroad.

Parents are recommended to apply for travel documents as early as possible after their baby has been born.

In principle, yes. To forestall any suspicion (e.g. abduction of children), the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) suggests that these minors carry a note of consent from their parents or custodian. This note should contain the particulars and telephone number of the parents or custodian. In addition, we recommended the note also contain the date of travel, the destination, the duration of travel/stay and the reason for travel.

SEM does not have a special form for this purpose. Nor are there any requirements what form such a note should take. The note may be written in the form of a letter.

Paper ID cards bearing an official stamp on the reverse to signify that they have been renewed are considered valid documents entitling their holders to enter Switzerland.

ID cards in credit card format that have been renewed by means of a separate confirmation of extension of validity are not formally recognised by Switzerland and thus do not authorise entry into Switzerland.

However, entry into Switzerland will be granted if proof of a person's Italian citizenship can be provided.
See also chapter 3, question «May citizens of an EU or EEA member state who are travelling on a non-valid travel document or without a travel document made out in their name enter Switzerland?»

Bulgarian, Croation and Romanian nationals may enter Switzerland with a valid passport or identity card.

They do not require a visa for short stays in Switzerland (i.e. up to 90 days in any 180-day period).

How to proceed if a travel document is lost in Switzerland:
Lost travel document

Regardless of their visa obligation status, third-country nationals wishing to enter Switzerland for a short-term stay not exceeding 90 days per 180-day period must be in possession of a travel document that:

  • will remain valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from Switzerland; and
  • has been issued within the previous 10 years.

The date of issue of the travel document shall be the determining factor, notwithstanding any decision by the authorities to extend the period of validity of the travel document.

The aforementioned provisions on the validity of travel documents also apply to travel documents issued to the following British citizens who are not citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as defined in EU legislation and who wish to remain in Switzerland for a period not exceeding 90 days per 180-day period:

  • British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC), who have no right of abode in the United Kingdom;
  • British Overseas Citizens (BOC);
  • British Subjects (BS), who have no right of abode in the United Kingdom;
  • British Protected Persons (BPP);
  • British Nationals (Overseas) (BN(O)s).

The aforementioned provisions on the validity of travel documents do not apply to travel documents of third-country nationals who hold a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen country (Annex 22 Schengen Handbook) or who have been issued valid category D visa for a longer-term stay in a Schengen country. In such cases, the travel document must be valid at the time of entry and remain valid for the entire duration of the planned stay in Switzerland or other Schengen country.

 


4. For hosts in Switzerland

Our information sheet describes the general visa procedure. Further information can be found in our regulations.

Information Sheet:
Information sheet for entry to the Schengen Area / Visa Procedure

Regulations:
General entry and visa requirements (2 Entry to Switzerland)
Staying in Switzerland (3 Staying in Switzerland)

Our information sheet describes the general visa procedure. Further information can be found in our regulations.

Information Sheet:
Information sheet for entry to the Schengen Area / Visa Procedure

Regulations:
General entry and visa requirements (2 Entry to Switzerland)

No formal requirements are to be met for writing an invitation letter. However, it must be written in one of Switzerland’s official national languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansh) and contain at least the following information:

  • Confirmation by the host (business enterprise or private person), stating that the applicant has been invited
  • Contact number(s) and address(es) of the host and applicant (first and last name, date of birth, and citizenship)
  • The letter must be duly dated and signed (invitation letters by business enterprises must be signed by a person listed in the Companies Registry as authorized to sign)

The invitation letter may include additional information:

  • A note saying that the host will provide food and accommodation
  • Any further information on the reasons for the applicant’s visit to Switzerland

When applying to an embassy for a visa, applicants are required to prove (payroll voucher, bank statement) that they have sufficient money to cover travel expenses. If the host provides for travel expenses, accommodation and food, mention must be made too.

Letter of Invitation and Declaration of Sponsorship

A declaration of sponsorship is an official document by which the signees certify that they are willing and in a position to meet the expenses caused by foreign nationals who wish to enter Switzerland. The sponsorship form will be provided at the authorities’ own motion. It is not available online.

The Swiss foreign missions may declare the issuance of a visa dependant on a declaration of sponsorship. And Swiss border authorities may require a declaration of sponsorship for foreign nationals irrespective of whether they are subject to visa requirements or not.

The guarantor – a natural or a legal person residing in Switzerland or Liechtenstein – engages to meet uncovered costs for living expenses, including accident and illness, as well as for the return trip, which arise for public welfare or private medical service suppliers due to the presence of the foreign national.

Costs for people traveling alone, traveling groups, or families of not more than ten are covered up to 30,000 Swiss francs.

Letter of Invitation and Declaration of Sponsorship

Hosts who receive a declaration of sponsorship from guests subject to visa requirements can find the addresses of the cantonal authorities in the factsheet on declarations of sponsorship:

Letter of Invitation and Declaration of Sponsorship

There is no need to send the declaration of sponsorship to the cantonal authority if it has already been requested at the border (at a Swiss airport).

The competent authorities require persons visiting Switzerland to have travel insurance that covers the costs of emergency rescue, repatriation for medical reasons, or emergency medical assistance, as well as emergency hospital care in case of accident or sudden illness during the stay. The minimum insurance coverage is set at EUR 30,000.

Travel insurance must be taken out with an insurance company that

  1. is headquartered , or has branch offices, in Switzerland, in the Principality of Liechtenstein, or in an EU or EFTA state;
  2. is authorised to issue travel insurance policies by the supervisory body competent for its head offices.

Please visit the FINMA website (www.finma.ch) for a list of insurance companies offering recognised travel medical insurance (go to category "Institutions > Authorised institutions", the document "Insurance companies under FINMA supervision" can be found under the title "Insurers"). Insurance companies listed in categories B1, B2 and/or B18 are authorised to offer travel medical insurance.

For questions about this list or whether the insurance companies listed offer travel medical insurance, please refer directly to FINMA.

In addition, visa applicants are advised to inquire with the Swiss representation abroad (where a visa request is submitted) about the type of insurance they accept and, therefore, recommend.

Swiss diplomatic missions never advise nor require visa applicants to request money from people in Switzerland. Whoever transmits money to people abroad does so at their own risk and responsibility.


5. Travelling in the Schengen area with a Swiss residence permit

Third state nationals in possession of a Swiss permit B, C, L and Ci may visit the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa, providing they carry with them their residence permit and a valid travel document.

Please note that neither Great Britain nor Ireland is a member of the Schengen area and you therefore require visas to visit any of these countries.

For further information on entry requirements, please contact the embassy of the appropriate country:
Foreign representations in Switzerland

Detailed information on Schengen/Dublin is available under the following link:
Schengen-Dublin

If your foreign national identity card is not available because it is currently with the competent authorities for renewal, please contact the migration authority responsible for the area where you live in and apply for a return visa if necessary. This visa is valid for travel both inside and outside the Schengen area.
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

If your passport has expired but you still intend to travel without a travel document, please apply to the diplomatic representation of your country in Switzerland for a new passport and inform the cantonal migration authorities responsible for the place of your residence.

It depends on whether you are subject to visa regulations or not.

  • If you are subject to visa regulations, you can apply for a visa to the competent diplomatic mission of the Schengen member state of your principal destination. Your application must be submitted no later than 15 days before expiry of your Swiss residence permit. If your principle destination is Switzerland, you can contact the cantonal migration office to extend your stay. The migration office will decide whether to extend your stay or grant you a visa.
      
  • If you are not subject to visa regulations, you are permitted to stay in Switzerland as a tourist for a further 90 days without authorisation. If you wish to travel to another Schengen member state, you should – in order to avoid possible difficulties - inquire from the competent authorities of that member state under what circumstance you may stay there.
    For further information please consult our visa directives. The information is only available in German, French and Italian.

6. Questions on granted or refused visas

If your visa application has been refused, you have the right to appeal (notification by means of a standard visa refusal form under Annex 10 of the Visa Provisions SEM) within 30 days of receipt of the refusal. The appeal must be made in writing (in German, French or Italian) with a statement of grounds. It may be submitted by the applicant’s host in Switzerland, or their legal representative, to the following address:

State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)
Quellenweg 6
3003 Bern-Wabern

If you do not have a host or legal representative, the appeal may be submitted to the Swiss representation abroad.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) requires an advance on costs before beginning the visa appeal process.

The Visa Directives provide that the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) acknowledge receipt of appeal and request the appellant to remit within 30 days an advance on costs of CHF 200.- (Art. 63 Administrative Procedure Act). The advance must be made using the pay-in slip annexed to the secretariates's acknowledgment notice.

Under the provisions of Article 47 of the Federal Act on Administrative Procedures (VwVG, SR 172. 021) and Articles 31–33 of the Federal Act on the Federal Administrative Court (VGG; SR 173.32) you may appeal against a decision within 30 days of receiving the decision. Your appeal should to be sent to the Federal Administrative Court at the following address:

Bundesverwaltungsgericht
P.O. Box/Postfach
9023 St Gallen

You should give the reasons for your appeal and submit any evidence you have. In addition, you should enclose a copy of the decision you are appealing against in one of the three official languages (German / French / Italian). The period for filing an appeal is 30 days. Appeals will be considered if submitted to the competent authorities, a Swiss post office, a Swiss Embassy or Consulate within the 30-day deadline. Appeals submitted after the deadline will not be considered (Art. 21(1) Administrative Procedure Act).

Border authorities check whether third-state nationals have sufficient means to support themselves while in Switzerland and pay for their return trip. All third-state nationals entering Switzerland with the view of staying for an extended period of time are to prove they have sufficient means, regardless of whether they are subject to or exempt from visa requirements. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) recommends that third-state nationals defraying the costs of their stay in Switzerland by themselves have at least CHF 100 at their daily disposal. Students staying in Switzerland on a student visa should budget at least CHF 30 for daily expenses.

The following are considered means of financial support or proof thereof: cash, traveler's cheques, bank and credit cards, or a declaration of sponsorship (for details, please see chapter 4, question "Declaration of sponsorship"). People submitting a bank or credit card as proof for sufficient funds may be officially required to make a cash withdrawal.

Swiss authorities cannot make any official statement about subsistence requirements other Schengen member states have set; therefore, third-state nationals are advised to contact the appropriate diplomatic mission of the country they intend to travel to.

To extend your visa, please contact the migration authorities of the canton in which you are staying:
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

Please note that, in general, you are only permitted to stay in Switzerland for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.

For information on the status of your application you can contact us either by e-mail, by telephone or by post:
Contact: topic Applications for entry visas (no return visas)

To provide you with accurate information, we require your exact personal data: Surname, first names, date of birth, nationality or ORBIS reference number of the embassy where you submitted your application.


7. Long-term residency in Switzerland (more than 90 days) / Employment in Switzerland

Due to a division of jurisdiction between the cantons and Confederation, cantonal migration authorities are responsible for issuing residence permits. Therefore, please address your inquiry directly to the migration authority responsible for your canton of residence. You will find a list of our cantonal migration partners in the following link (list available in German only):
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

You can also find more information regarding residence permits in Switzerland here:
Residence

Due to a division of powers between the cantons and the Confederation, cantonal migration authorities are responsible for issuing residence permits. Therefore, please address your inquiry directly to the migration authority responsible for your canton of residence. You will find a list of our cantonal migration partners in the link below (list available in German only):
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

For more information on Swiss residence permits, please visit:
Residence
Annex 1, List 1: Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality
Annex 1, List 2: ID and visa provisions: particularities regardless of nationality
Family reunification / (foreign) spouse of a Swiss citizen (6.2)
Family reunification / (foreign) spouse of a foreign national holding an unlimited residence permit (6.3)
Family reunification / (foreign) spouse of a foreign national holding a limited residence permit (6.4)
     (Information is available in German, French and Italian)

Due to a division of competences between the cantons and Confederation, cantonal migration authorities are responsible for issuing residence permits. Therefore, please address your inquiry directly to the migration authority responsible for your canton of residence. You will find a list of our cantonal migration partners in the following link (list available in German only):
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

You can also find more information regarding residence permits in Switzerland here:
Residence
Annex 1, List 1: Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality
Annex 1, List 2: ID and visa provisions: particularities regardless of nationality 
Family reunification / (foreign) spouse of a Swiss citizen (6.2)
Family reunification / (foreign) spouse of a foreign national holding an unlimited residence permit (6.3)
Family reunification / (foreign) spouse of a foreign national holding a limited residence permit (6.4)
     (Information is available in German, French and Italian)

Switzerland has a dual system for the admission of foreign workers. Gainfully employed nationals from EU/EFTA member states can benefit from the Free Movement of Persons Agreement. Only a limited number of management level employees, specialists and other qualified employees are admitted from all other countries.
For admission requirements for the appropriate nationality go to:
Labour / Work permits

For other valuable information on working in Switzerland go to:
FAQ – Frequently asked questions Labour / Work permits

Gainful employment
Legal bases: Residence and gainful employment (not available in English)

Free Movement of Persons:
Free Movement of Persons Switzerland – EU/EFTA

Due to a division of competences between Cantons and Confederation, cantonal migration authorities are responsible in the first place for the issuance of residence permits. Therefore, we kindly ask you to address your petition directly to the migration authority responsible for your Canton of residence. You will find a list of our cantonal migration partners in the link hereinafter (list available only in German language):
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

You can also find more information regarding residence permits in Switzerland here:
Residence

If you have any queries, contact the Swiss diplomatic mission responsible for your place of residence:
Swiss representations

Providing accommodation to foreign nationals against payment is subject to the obligation to notify the authorities immediately. If foreign nationals are accommodated free of charge, there is no obligation to notify the authorities. Cantonal provisions may differ. Please turn to the competent cantonal authorities for detailed information (only available in German):
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities


8. Other questions

You can find information on the statutory provisions regarding visa matters under the following link:
VII. Weisungen Visa

The information is available in German, French and Italian. List 1, Annex 1+2, also available in English.

Please direct all your questions to the Federal Customs Administration.

Phone +41 (0)31 322 65 11
E-Mail
Homepage

For information on the import of animals into Switzerland, please visit:
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO

For further questions, please contact the Federal Veterinary Office. Thank you.

Phone: +41 (0)31 323 30 33
E-Mail

For all questions on buying property in Switzerland, please contact the competent authorities:

Federal Office of Justice
Federal Land Registry and Real Estate Law Office
Taubenstrasse 16
3003 Bern
Phone +41 (0)31 322 41 20
Homepage

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