Up to now, the consular services of the FDFA have been shared between the Directorate for Resources and the Political Directorate. A merger of these units seemed appropriate as a means of expanding the public service, exploiting synergies and being prepared for future challenges. The newly created Consular Directorate (CD) headed by Ambassador Gerhard Brügger came into being at the beginning of June 2011. This means that Swiss citizens will have a direct contact partner for consular questions. Swiss representations abroad will now be supported by a single organisation which will enable them to deal with their diverse and demanding consular tasks in an efficient and client-friendly manner.
The CD consists of three sections: the Citizen Service Centre, the delegate for relations with the Swiss Abroad and the Consular Strategies, Developments and Agreements section.
The Citizen Service Centre runs the Helpline EDA (+41 (0)800 24 7 365; firstname.lastname@example.org), which since January 2011 has been the central contact point for consular information and has already dealt with over 6000 enquiries in this period. It also comprises Consular Protection for Swiss nationals who are in difficulties abroad (this support is provided in about 1,000 cases per year). Finally the Representation Support consists of consular specialists who provide support to the foreign representations.
Within the federal administration, the delegate for relations with the Swiss abroad represents the interests of the 700,000 Swiss citizens abroad. He promotes their political, economic and cultural interests by working together with institutional actors that deal with their concerns, in particular with ASO, the organisation for the Swiss abroad.
The Consular Strategies, Developments and Agreements section is responsible for providing the instruments with which Swiss representations abroad carry out their consular services. It attaches great importance to future-oriented and citizen-friendly solutions (e-government) and for example in the visa area works closely together with selected Schengen states.
Address for enquiries:
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47