List of Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application Procedures

Do you want to travel to Switzerland? Do you know the Switzerland visa requirements and application procedures? If you want to travel to Switzerland, here are the things you need to know before traveling.

Switzerland, located in western, central, and southern Europe, is one of the world’s most developed countries. It is officially known as the Swiss Confederation and ranks first in the world in several national performance metrics.

The country covers 41,285 km2 and has a population of 8,508,898 people. It lacks an official capital, but the city of Bern serves as its de jure capital. Its two most populous cities, Zürich and Geneva, are global cities and economic powerhouses.

Although Switzerland is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, it is not a member of the European Union. It joined the Schengen Area in 2008, and since then, international visitors with a Schengen visa have been able to enter its territory.

Switzerland Tourist Visa Requirements
Switzerland-visa-requirements-and-application

Switzerland issued 451,528 uniform Schengen visas in 2017 based on 517,010 visa applications from Swiss consulates and embassies worldwide. The rejection rate for visas was 7.25%.

Surprisingly, Switzerland has not been involved in a war since 1815!

If you need to apply for a visa to Switzerland, there are a number of requirements you must meet as well as documents you must provide.

Switzerland Entry Visa Requirements

Because of the Schengen Zone’s common travel area, in which member states have abolished borders for their citizens, if you are an EU/EEA national, you will only need an identification document to enter Switzerland.

However, if you are a non-EU/EEA traveler and wish to visit Switzerland, you must present the following documents when you arrive at the Swiss port of entry:

  • A passport or travel document.Valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from Schengen, and issued within the last ten years.
  • A Visa. If you need a visa to enter Switzerland.

Aside from these documents, the Swiss border officer may question you about your trip to Switzerland, such as:

  • What is the reason for your trip to Switzerland?
  • How long do you plan on staying in Switzerland?
  • Where will you be staying in Switzerland? Etc.

Keep in mind that the border police have the final say on whether or not you are allowed to enter Switzerland. If the Swiss border officer determines that you pose no risk to Switzerland after reviewing your documents, you will be allowed to enter Switzerland and thus the Schengen area.

When entering Switzerland, please ensure that the Swiss border officer stamps your passport. You could be fined or detained if you do not have a stamp.

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Who Is Required to Have a Visa to Enter Switzerland?

If you fall into one of the following categories, you will need a short-stay visa to enter Switzerland and any other Schengen member country:

  • You are a citizen of a developing country with which the Schengen member states have not yet reached a visa-free agreement.
  • You are a third-world national who has signed a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states, but you have previously been denied entry into Switzerland or any other Schengen country.

Please note that these visas allow you to stay in Switzerland for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. If you need a visa to stay in Switzerland for an extended period of time, you should apply for a Swiss National Visa instead.

Switzerland Visa Requirements

visa Switzerland

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a Visa to Switzerland? Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application

As a Switzerland visa applicant, you must meet several Switzerland visa requirements in order to complete your application. The following are the statutory Switzerland visa requirements:

1. Switzerland visa application form.

You must download the Switzerland visa application form, complete it completely and truthfully, and submit it along with the rest of your documents.

2. Two passport photographs

The photos must be identical and meet the requirements for the Swiss Schengen visa application.

3. Your national passport.

This passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the return date, no older than 10 years, and contain at least two blank pages. You must also submit the following:

    • A copy of your passport’s personal details page.
    • Copies of any previous passports’ personal details pages.
    • Copies of any previous visas along with all entry/exit stamps.

4. Copies of your previous visas

If you have previously held a visa to Switzerland, the Schengen area, or another country in the world, please provide copies of those visas to the embassy/consulate.

5. Round-trip Flight Itinerary

A document proving that you have a booked flight to and from Switzerland. This document should include flight numbers, dates, and your contact information.

6. Proof of accommodation

You must provide proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay in Switzerland, whether through hotel reservations, an invitation from your host, or evidence of a pre-paid tour.

7. Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of your stay in Switzerland

A document proving that you have a booked flight to and from Switzerland. This document should include flight numbers, dates, and your contact information.

8. Cover letter

A personal letter in which you explain why you are applying to visit Switzerland, how long you intend to stay when you will depart, and other pertinent information.

9. Proof of civil status

This could be a marriage certificate, birth certificate/s of your children, death certificate of spouse, etc.

10. Schengen travel visa insurance

Purchase travel medical insurance that is valid for Switzerland and the entire Schengen Area, with a minimum of €30,000 coverage for medical emergencies.

11. Switzerland visa fees.

You must pay a non-refundable visa application fee when applying for your Swiss Schengen visa. Even if your application is rejected, you will not be reimbursed for this money.

Travel health insurance policies that meet Swiss Schengen Visa requirements for foreigners visiting Switzerland can be purchased online from Europ Assistance or Mondial Care. Both companies are recognized by Swiss authorities all over the world.

Additional Requirements for a Swiss Visa Based on Your Employment Status

The following are the additional Switzerland visa requirements based on your occupation/employment status:

If employed:

You have to provide the following:

  • Employment contract
  • Leave permission from the employer
  • Current bank statement for the latest 6 months
  • Income Tax Return (ITR) form

If self-employed:

You have to provide the following:

  • A copy of your business license
  • Company bank statement for the latest 6 months
  • Income Tax Return (ITR)

If a student:

You have to provide the following:

  • Proof of enrollment
  • No-objection certificate from school or university
  • Advertisements

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If retired:

  • Pension statement of the latest 6 months

If applicable:

  • Proof of regular income generated by a property, for the last 6 months

Please keep in mind that a NOC (No-objection certificate) can be issued by either your employer or your educational institution.

Additional Swiss Visa Requirements for Minors

Minors seeking a short-stay visa to Switzerland, or parents seeking a visa for their minor child, must include the following additional Swiss Visa Requirements in their application file:

  • Birth certificate of the minor traveling to Switzerland.
  • Switzerland application form duly signed by both parents.
  • Family court order. This is in a case where only one parent has full custody of the child.
  • Certified copies of ID/passport of both parents
  • If the minor will be traveling alone with another person: The following must be attached: 
    • An original and copy of the accompanying person’s passport page containing the holder’s data, expiry date, a recent/current photograph, and a valid visa copy.
    • A notarized parental authorization to travel to Switzerland, this must be signed by both parents/guardians.

Note: Underage children should be accompanied by a guardian or parent when applying at the Swiss embassy/consulate in their home country.

Additional Requirements Based on the Purpose of Travel to Switzerland

You will be required to provide additional documents depending on your reason for entering Switzerland. The additional Switzerland visa requirements based on your purpose of travel to Switzerland are listed below.

Switzerland Airport Transit Visa Requirements

If you need to land at a Swiss airport to wait in the international terminal for a connecting flight to your non-Schengen destination country, you must apply for a Switzerland Airport Transit Visa.

Required Documents for an Airport Transit Schengen Visa to Switzerland

When applying for a Switzerland Airport Transit visa, you must also provide the following documents:

  • A valid visa (if required) for the final country that you are traveling to.
  • The flight ticket for the final country you are traveling to.

Switzerland Tourist Visa Requirements

Switzerland Tourist Visa Requirements

If you are visiting Switzerland for tourism purposes, such as vacations or sightseeing, you must obtain a Switzerland Tourist visa for short stays.

Documents Required for a Tourist Schengen Visa to Switzerland

When applying for a Swiss Tourist visa, you must also provide the following documents:

  • Bank statement. Preferably for the last 6 months.
  • A Travel Itinerary. A description of your trip day-to-day.
  • Proof of how you intend to fund your trip to Switzerland.

Switzerland Visitor Visa Requirements

In order to visit a family member or a friend living in Switzerland on their invitation, you must apply for a Swiss Visitor Visa when applying for a short-stay visa to Switzerland.

Documents Required for a Schengen Visitor Visa to Switzerland

When applying for a visa to visit friends or relatives in Switzerland, you must also provide the following documents:

  • Duly signed invitation letter from the host. The invitation must include the following information for each invited person: name, first name, date of birth (exactly as it appears on the passport), as well as the purpose and duration of the visit.
  • Host’s passport, identity card, or residence permit.
  • Proof of relationship with the host/person residing in Switzerland.

Switzerland Business Visa Requirements

If you plan to visit Switzerland for business and stay for no more than 90 days, you should apply for a Business Schengen Visa.

Required Documents for a Business Schengen Visa to Switzerland

When applying for a Swiss Business visa, you must also provide the following documents:

  • Invitation letter from the inviting company/organization in Switzerland, including their complete address and the dates of your visit.
  • Evidence of business ties with the inviting company
  • A letter from your employer. It should be stated in this letter why you will be traveling to Switzerland.
  • Proof of trip financing In terms of the applicant’s expenses while in Switzerland, either the employer or the partner company must state coverage of expenses on the letter or invitation.

Switzerland Study Visa Requirements

If you intend to travel to Switzerland for a study course, training, or internship that will last less than three months, you may apply for a Schengen Study Visa to Switzerland.

Documents Required for a Student Schengen Visa to Switzerland

When applying for a Swiss student visa, you must also provide the following documents:

  • No objection letter from your current educational institution (if applicable).
  • Internship contract/agreement Signed by the company in Switzerland, the origin establishment, and the trainee.

Switzerland Medical Visa Requirements

If you intend to travel to Switzerland for medical treatment, such as medical therapies or surgery, you must apply for a Switzerland Medical visa before your trip.

Documents Required for a Medical Schengen Visa to Switzerland

You must provide the following additional documents when applying for a visa to receive medical care in Switzerland:

  • Original letter from a local doctor stating the diagnosis and accompanied by a medical report.
  • Confirmation from the Swiss hospital/doctor stating the agreement to treat the patient and the expected duration of treatment, as well as a cost estimate.
  • Proof of 50% advance payment – receipt from Swiss hospital/doctor.

Switzerland Cultural/Sports/Religious Events Visa Requirements

If you intend to visit Switzerland solely for the purpose of attending a cultural, sporting, or religious event, or as a member of a film crew, you must apply for a Switzerland Cultural/Sports/Religious Events Visa.

Documents Required for a Schengen Visa to Switzerland for Cultural, Sports, Film Crew, or Religious Activities

When applying for a Swiss visa to attend a Cultural/Sports/Religious Event in Switzerland, you must also provide the following documents:

Journeys made to attend sporting events:

  • Original letter from sports federation/association.
  • Proof of sporting ability. CV, world rankings, trophies, an invitation to the national team, national caps, proof of personal records, and so on.

Journeys embarked to attend cultural events:

  • Evidence of participation in cultural events:
    • For recording: studio contract & transfer slip for the first installment of studio fees.
    • lessons: contract stating duration and payment.
    • For festivals or concerts: detailed concert schedule, a contract stating duration and payment.
  • Introductory letter, musician card, and proof of musical activities/performances.

Journeys undertaken for Film Crew:

  • Letter from the Film Company – Specifying the title, synopsis, and filming locations.
  • A complete list of the names and roles of the traveling crew members.
  • Letter from a Swiss agency confirming film permit arrangements.
  • Certificate of registration with the Motion Picture Association.

Switzerland Visa for Official Visit

If you are traveling to Switzerland as part of an official delegation representing your country’s government, an organization, or another institution, you must apply for a Swiss Schengen Visa for Members of Official Delegations.

Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application:

Swiss Schengen Visa for Official Delegation Members

When applying for a Swiss visa as a member of an official delegation, you must also submit the following documents:

  • The official invitation copy.
  • Evidence of the purpose of the journey (negotiations, meetings, events by intergovernmental organizations, consultations).

Switzerland Visa for Spouse of Swiss National Requirements

If you are the spouse (husband/wife) of a Swiss national and wish to visit Switzerland for a short period of time, you must apply for a special visa designed specifically for this group of visa applicants.

Documents Required for a Swiss Schengen Visa for a Swiss Citizen’s Wife/Husband

You must provide the following additional documents when applying for a Swiss visa as the spouse of a Swiss national/citizen:

  • Proof of Swiss citizenship/nationality (ID card or consular card or certification of Swiss nationality or naturalization order).
  • Swiss marriage certificate/license.
  • Swiss family record book.

How to Apply for a Switzerland Short-Stay Visa

Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application:

To complete the application process for a short-stay visa to Switzerland, you must complete the following steps:

Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application:

  1. Figure out which visa type you need to enter Switzerland.
  2. Check out where you need to submit your visa application.
  3. Complete the application form for a Switzerland short-stay visa.
  4. Collect the documents required for a Swiss visa.
  5. Book a visa appointment.
  6. Attend the interview at the appropriate Swiss Embassy/Consulate/VAC of your choice.

After completing the steps outlined above, you must wait for your visa application to be processed.

Where Can I Apply for a Swiss Short-Stay Visa?

Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application!

This depends largely on how Swiss authorities in your country of residence have regulated visa admission. Therefore, you may have to apply at one of the following Switzerland diplomatic representations in your country:

  • The Swiss Embassy
  • A Swiss consulate
  • A Visa Application Center to which Switzerland has outsourced visa submission
  • The Embassy or Consulate of another Schengen country to which Switzerland has outsourced visa submission.

Who is Eligible to Apply for a Schengen Visa at a Swiss Embassy/Consulate/VAC?

Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application:

If Switzerland is the only country you intend to visit within the Schengen Area, you should apply to the Switzerland representative body in your country of residence for visa admission.

On the other hand, if you plan to visit more Schengen countries, submit your application to the Swiss Embassy/Consulate/VAC only if:

  • In Switzerland, you will spend more days than in the other countries.
  • You will spend the same number of days in each country, but you will enter the Schengen Zone via Switzerland.

Furthermore, you will be able to apply for a Switzerland short-stay visa at a Swiss Embassy / Consulate / VAC if you are a:

  • A citizen of the country from which you are applying.
  • A foreign citizen with a permanent/temporary residence permit in the country from which you are applying.

Note: You cannot apply for a short-stay Swiss visa from a country where you are currently on a visa. Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application!

How Long Does It Take to Get a Swiss Visa?

A Switzerland short-stay visa can take up to 15 days to process. However, depending on your specific circumstances, this period may be extended up to 30 days. In exceptional cases, the Swiss embassies may need to consult with other Schengen consulates, which can take up to 60 days.

To avoid any delays in the issuance of your Swiss short-stay visa, submit your application as soon as possible, but no later than three months before your trip.

How Much Does It Cost to Apply for a Swiss Visa?

Fees are specified in the Fee Ordinance under the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (SR 142.209) and the Visa Code. The amounts are payable in the currency determined by the Swiss representation.

Switzerland Visa Requirements and Application – Swiss Short-Term Visa Fees in a Nutshell:

S/No. Swiss Schengen Visa Category Fee in EUR Fee in USD
1 Adult 80€ 96$
2 Children between 6-12 years of age 40€ 48$
3 Children younger than 6 years of age Free Free
4 Holders of diplomatic, official, or service passports traveling for official purposes Free Free
5 A family member of an EU/EEA national Free Free
6 Pupils, students, and accompanying teachers during a school trip Free Free
7 Researchers traveling to perform scientific research Free Free
8 Nationals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. 35€ 42$

Note that the applicable visa fee in USD (US Dollar) is determined by the current exchange rate. However, it is subject to change without notice.

The visa fee is due at the time the application is submitted and is non-refundable. If you withdraw your application or it is rejected, you will not be reimbursed.

The Swiss representation reserves the right to adjust the fee amounts at any time in response to exchange rate fluctuations.

Switzerland Tourist Visa Requirements
Switzerland-visa-requirements-and-application

How Long Can One Stay in Switzerland Without a Visa?

If you are a national of a country that has not yet signed a visa-free agreement with the Schengen countries, you will be unable to enter Switzerland or any other country (aside from transiting).

Whereas, if you are a national of a visa-exempt country, you may enter and remain in Switzerland and the other Schengen states for up to 90 days within six months.

Take Note: Make sure you understand the 90/180 Schengen Visa Rule. If you break this rule, even for a day, you will pay a price. The consequences of overstaying are depicted in this section.

Can I Extend My Schengen Visa in Switzerland?

Yes, you can extend your Swiss Schengen visa, but only in exceptional cases where new facts and special circumstances arise after entering Switzerland, such as humanitarian or force majeure reasons. Here is a list of the Migration Offices in each canton where you can apply for a stay extension in Switzerland:

  • Argovie (AG) – Migrationsamt Kanton Aargau
  • Appenzell Rhodes-Intérieures (AI)
  • Appenzell Rhodes-Extérieures (AR)
  • Bâle-Campagne (BL) – Amt für Migration
  • Bâle-Ville (BS) – Sicherheitsdepartement BS Dienste
  • Berne (BE) – Migrationsdienst des Kantons Bern
  • Fribourg (FR) – Service de la population et des migrants
  • Genève (GE) – Office cantonal de la population
  • Glaris (GL) – Fachstelle für Migration
  • Grisons (GR) Amt für Polizeiwesen – Fremdenpolizei GR
  • Jura (JU) – Service de la population
  • Lucerne (LU) – Amt für Migration des Kantons Luzern
  • Neuchâtel (NE) – Service des migrations – Section séjour et établissement
  • Nidwald (NW) – Amt für Justiz Migration
  • Obwald (OW) – Amt für Arbeit Obwalden – Abteilung Migration
  • Saint-Gall (SG) – Ausländeramt des Kantons St. Gallen
  • Schaffhouse (SH) – Kantonales Ausländeramt
  • Soleure (SO) – Amt für öffentliche Sicherheit des Kantons Solothurn
  • Schwytz (SZ) – Amt für Migration
  • Tessin (TI) – Sezione dei permessi e dell’ immigrazione
  • Uri (UR) – Amt für Arbeit und Migration – Abteilung Migration
  • Valais (VS) – Service cantonal de l’état civil et des étrangers
  • Vaud (VD) – Service de population – Secteur Etrangers
  • Zoug (ZG) – Amt für Migration
  • Zurich (ZH) – Migrationsamt des Kantons Zürich

Please read How to Extend a Schengen Visa in Switzerland to learn about the circumstances and conditions that allow you to extend your Swiss Schengen Visa.

Can Swiss Schengen Visa Be Revoked?

Yes, your Switzerland visa can be revoked if the competent Swiss authorities determine that the requirements for issuing the visa have changed.

If you are in Switzerland when the decision to revoke your visa is made, you will be given a deadline to leave the country. If you do not leave Switzerland or the Schengen area within this time frame, you will be considered an illegal resident in Switzerland.

Please keep in mind that failure to provide the border officer with the entry requirements may result in a decision to cancel or revoke the visa, though not automatically.

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