People visiting Switzerland in an official capacity (government delegates and/or those invited by international organisations having concluded a seat agreement with Switzerland) should consult the Swiss Mission's document “Entry Visas for Switzerland” (refer to “Documents” here).
A facilitated visa application procedure is available for these persons who are subject to visa requirements and invited to participate in international conferences and meetings. Organisations, diplomatic missions/representations and sending States (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MOFA) are nonetheless expected to respect visa application deadlines and processing requirements. These may vary and it is therefore highly recommended that applicants begin the application procedure well in advance (at the latest 20 days but no earlier than 6 months before the date of departure). It is important to note that the processing of a visa application cannot begin until a complete application file with all required information has been submitted. It may not be possible to process an incomplete or late visa application.
a. Short-stay visa/Schengen visa (up to 90 days maximum)
These are type C visas for short stays (90 days maximum within a period of 180 days). They are issued with either single or multiple entries. Delegates travelling to Switzerland within the “International Geneva” context, usually have single-entry visas valid for the duration of the event they are attending. Requests and reasons for multiple-entry visas must be stipulated in the inviting party’s invitation letter.
It is the applicant's’ responsibility to pay special attention to both the validity of their visa and the length of stay allowed in the Schengen area. This may differ and depends on the number of days spent in the Schengen area during previous visits. Holders of a valid Schengen visa should therefore use this tool to calculate the number of days they are authorised to spend in the Schengen area based on their previous visits. The Embassy or Consulate where the visa was issued can also be contacted with all queries regarding this matter.
Government representatives, international civil servants, interns, consultants, experts, etc. who have a contract with an organisation having concluded an agreement with Switzerland or are nominated by their government to work for a diplomatic mission for a period of up to 90 days, will usually receive a type C short-stay visa.
Under exceptional and urgent circumstances, Swiss Embassies or Consulates may issue visas with limited territorial validity (LTV) in accordance with Schengen regulations. This only applies to individual cases that are duly justified. A holder of an LTV visa which is only valid for Switzerland, cannot visit nor transit through another Schengen State (enter and exit the Schengen area via Switzerland only).
In general, the following documents must be submitted with a type C short-stay (official visit) visa application:
- A valid travel document recognised by Switzerland (must be valid for at least three months after the return date and issued within the last ten years) and a copy thereof ;
- If necessary, a valid residence permit or equivalent thereof (e.g. entry and/or exit visa) which authorises the applicant to exit and return to her/his country of residence ;
- A recent passeport photograph ;
- An invitation letter from an organisation having concluded a headquarters agreement with Switzerland stating the applicant’s family and first names (as in passport) and the purpose and length of stay. This letter must also specify if the inviting party covers travel, accomodation and any other costs related to the stay ;
- A note verbale from the sending State (for officials only) ;
- Proof of travel health insurance covering a minimum of 30’000 euros valid for all Member States having signed the Schengen Agreements (for ordinary passport holders only) ;
- The Swiss Embassy or Consulate may request additional documents. Hotel reservations and travel itineraries are often required.
It is the responsibility of all visa holders to ensure, before their departure, that their visa is valid for the entire duration of their stay as it is generally not possible to extend its validity after their arrival in Switzerland.
b. Long-stay/national visas (stay of more than 90 days)
Type D visas are national visas for stays of more than 90 days which are issued in accordance with the national regulations of each Schengen State.
Holders of a D type visa whose stay in Switzerland is regularised by a FDFA legitimation card, must refer to the guidelines regarding the issuance of FDFA legitimation cards. These guidelines also provide information about visa procedures.
In general, the following documents must be submitted with a type D (official stay) visa application:
- A national type D visa application form completed and signed by the applicant (it is available here);
- A valid travel document (must be valid for at least three months after the return date and issued within the last ten years) and a copy thereof;
- If necessary, a valid residence permit or equivalent thereof (e.g. entry and/or exit visa) which authorises the applicant to exit and return to her/his country of residence;
- Two recent passport photographs;
- A personal letter of invitation from an international organisation or an employment contract/note verbale from the sending State with all necessary employment details and the applicant’s family and first names (as in passport);
- Any additional documents as requested by the Embassy or Consulate.