This is one of the first questions you might ask when thinking about moving/relocating to Switzerland. In short – If you are a British Citizen you are not required a visa to visit Switzerland. If you are EU Citizen with a valid passport, you will not need to apply for a visa also. However, if you are moving your household goods to Switzerland, there are additional customs procedures that need to be followed.
Switzerland is outside of the European Union, but it’s a member of the Schengen area – therefore all the restrictions and requirements will apply only to non-EU citizens (even if you are a UK resident). The same rules will apply to a transit Visa. Although Switzerland has become more liberal in recent years, (almost 500.000 visas granted/year), there is still a number of residents that must apply for Schengen Visa when moving to Switzerland. You can find the full list here.
Who should apply for a Swiss visa?
If you are only traveling and not planning to stay for more than 90 days then you should apply if:
- Switzerland will be the only country that you are visiting.
- Switzerland will be the first “Schengen” country that you will visit
- Switzerland will be the country where you stay the longest.
Please note that if you are planning to stay longer in Switzerland (over 90 days), you will have to apply for a residency permit and not a visa.
You will need to be a UK resident for a minimum of three months before you can apply via the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK; otherwise, you should apply for the visa in your country of residence.
To apply, you will need:
- A valid passport or a travel document issued less than ten years ago and still valid a minimum of three months after your application.
- Minimum of three blank pages in your passport, for visa stamps.
- A valid ID card
- Your application form – filled by you. You can also use a third party assistance service to help you with your visa application process
- One photo (passport format), with a light background showing your full facial features. Do not staple it, just use a paper clip.
- Biometric data like fingerprints (children under the age of 12 are exempt from providing fingerprints).
- A cover letter describing your reasons and intentions for visiting Switzerland
- Proof off Stay – hotel booking, airport transfer service, any attraction bookings. If you are staying with friends or family, you will need to provide an invitation letter along with full contact details.
- Proof of return- your flight/train or bus return tickets.
- Your medical and accident Insurance states clearly that you are covered while visiting Switzerland. This cover should be no less than € 30.000
- Proof of funds. You will need to show that your bank account holds enough money during your visit to Switzerland (minimum of € 95 per person, per day).
- Proof of employment and last three payslips
Please note that all the documents shall not be older than 30 days.
Moving to Switzerland and arranging a Visa.
This is a complicated process, and all the above documents are only the beginning. Depending on your personal circumstances you might be required to provide additional information like:
- Leave permission from the employer
- Income tax return
- Business license (business only)
- Proof of enrolment (students only)
- Pension statements (retired only)
- Marriage certificate – with an official translation
It’s definitely much more comfortable for the EU citizens, but they still have to follow the customs procedure when moving personal goods to Switzerland.