Obtaining a Visa for Switzerland

Obtaining a Visa for Switzerland

Updated on Friday 23rd October 2015

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Obtaining-a-Visa-for-SwitzerlandWho needs a visa to enter Switzerland?

Switzerland has joined the Schengen area and is now part of the visa-free moving agreement which allows citizens of EU countries to enter the country without applying for a visa. For non-EU citizens, on the other hand, there are certain visa requirements when coming to Switzerland.

EU or EFTA (European Free Trade Association) citizens must register with the local authorities within 14 days from their arrival, while non-EU/EFTA citizens must apply for a Swiss visa prior to their arrival in the country. Our lawyers in Switzerland can advise you on the visa application procedure.

Types of visas in Switzerland

The Swiss authorities will issue the following types of visas:

  • -          type C visas, also known as short-term visas, which are issued for a limited period of up to three months and are usually used for visit purposes,
  • -          type D visas, or long-stay visas which are intended for those staying more than three months in Switzerland,
  • -          Swiss employment passes,
  • -          residence visas.

Employment visas and residence passes for Switzerland are subject to different criteria and must be obtained prior to the arrival of the foreign citizen in the country.

How to obtain a Swiss visa

Depending on the applicant’s country of residence, one can apply for a Swiss visa when arriving in the country or before coming to the country. For those requested to apply for a visa prior to their visit, it must be taken into account that it takes about 15 days for a Swiss visa to be approved or denied. In certain cases the duration of the visa application process could take as long as 60 days. When applying for a type D visa, the procedure will depend on the Swiss canton issuing the visa. The following documents are required when applying for a visa for Switzerland:

  • -          a visa application form,
  • -          the applicant’s valid passport,
  • -          a passport-sized photograph,
  • -          the applicant’s identity documents,
  • -          proof of visa fee payment.

Students applying for a Swiss visa will also be required to have a health insurance and sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.

If you need assistance with the visa application you can request the services of our law firm in Switzerland. You can also contact us for details about obtaining a Swiss residence permit.