A SWISS aircraft outside Zurich Airport.
The international airports in Geneva and Zurich have different rules concerning access to certain areas and VIP lounge facilities. © Fabian Joy/Unsplash

Airports in Switzerland are not state-run but private, which explains the different procedures in place at Geneva (GVA) and Zurich (ZRH), two international airports on Swiss territory. This is also why different airports have their own rules concerning access to certain areas and VIP lounges. 

Access at Geneva Airport

Access to the transit/departure area

For persons entitled to receive or accompany VIPs, Geneva Airport provides facilitated access via Gate C1 located at the end of the corridor between check-in desks no. 49 and 51.

Gate C1 can also be used by holders of legitimation card type B, C, KB or KC, or an airport identity card (AIC).

Access with an AIC

AICs provide the following facilities to representation and mission staff responsible for the diplomatic courier and/or accompanying VIPs:

  • unrestricted access to departure lounges, and
  • access to apron areas to reach the required aircraft's parking spot, only if accompanied by a GVA security or handling agent the entire time.

GVA is permitted to issue up to six AICs per mission in Switzerland. The first two cards are free of charge; additional cards cost CHF 250 per year.

For more information on AICs and the documents that need to be submitted, please contact the Geneva Airport Security Administration Service.

Tel. 022 717 80 60

Email: laissez-passer@gva.ch

Access at Zurich Airport

Access to the transit/departure area

Zurich Airport does not issue AICs. Holders of a diplomatic legitimation card (B, C, KB or KC) can access the air-side transit zone to receive or accompany VIPs without a VIP service or airport police escort. 

VIP lounge

Categories of dignitary

FDFA Protocol arranges VIP services free of charge for the dignitaries listed below. Arrangements are based on a scale and the nature of the visit to Switzerland. 

1. Travelling on a private basis or in transit to/from UN Geneva or the international organisations (see VIP services at Zurich Airport)

1.1 Monarch

1.2 Head of state

1.3 UN secretary-general

1.4 Member of royal or princely house

1.5 Head of government (national level)

1.6 President of a national parliament 

1.7 Foreign minister

2. Bilateral visit (at the invitation of a Swiss federal authority)

2.1 Monarch

2.2 Head of state

2.3 UN secretary-general

2.4 Member of royal or princely house 

2.5 Head of government (national level) 

2.6 President of a national parliament

2.7 Vice president, deputy prime minister (national level) 

2.8 Minister (member of a national government), governor of a national bank 

2.9 President of the European Parliament 

2.10 President or member of the European Commission

2.11 Deputy minister, secretary of state

2.12 Senior religious dignitary

2.13 Senior military officer

2.14 Senior judicial officer

2.15 Secretary general or director general of an international organisation recognised by Switzerland 

2.16 Secretary general of the Council of Europe

3. Participation in a multilateral event in Switzerland at/within UN Geneva or the international organisations (for transiting: see VIP services at Zurich Airport)

3.1 Monarch 

3.2 Head of state 

3.3 UN secretary-general 

3.4 Member of royal or princely house 

3.5 Head of government (national level) 

3.6 Deputy prime minister (national level) 

3.7 Minister (member of a national government) 

3.8 President or member of the European Commission

3.9 President of a national parliament 

3.10 Senior religious dignitary

3.11 Senior military officer 

3.12 Senior judicial officer 

3.13 Secretary general or director general of an international organisation recognised by Switzerland 

4. Taking up and leaving office in Switzerland

Head of diplomatic mission 

Diplomatic missions may request VIP airport services for persons not listed above. Please contact the airport authorities concerned, who will decide on a case-by-case basis and in line with the airport's standard practices if such services can be offered and, if so, whether free of charge, at a preferential rate or at the full rate (charged to the embassy concerned).

VIP services at Zurich Airport

Charges for VIP services at ZRH for dignitaries travelling in a private capacity or in transit are only covered for a maximum of two persons, i.e. the VIP and one accompanying person (spouse, etc.). If an embassy would like other members of their delegation to be given VIP services, arrangements can be made accordingly – although the costs must be covered by the embassy.

All requests for VIP services at ZRH must be submitted to FDFA Protocol via the eVIP platform.

The FDFA would also like to inform the diplomatic missions in Switzerland that it will not assume any costs in the event of:

  • a no show (VIPs who do not turn up at the airport's VIP Service)
  • an express surcharge because FDFA Protocol was informed of the request for VIP services less than 72 hours before arrival and/or the airport was informed less than 24 hours before arrival
  • check-in allowing access to the VIP lounge for persons who are not holders of a pink FDFA legitimation card (for diplomats)
  • information on charges for meeters and greeters or additional passengers is available here: Zurich Airport VIP Service


Diplomatic missions requiring VIP services for a person or persons listed above are required to submit a formal request to FDFA Protocol via the secure eVIP platform only.

The platform is only available in English. To request permission to access the platform, email evip@eda.admin.ch for further information.

FDFA Protocol must receive the diplomatic note at least 72 hours before the arrival or departure of the person in question.

If the person is scheduled to arrive at the weekend, please inform FDFA Protocol by Friday 3pm at the latest or VIP services cannot be guaranteed.

The persons listed above must have a valid passport and, if required, an entry visa into Switzerland.

Accompanying persons who have also been accorded VIP services must undergo a security check and pass through passport control if required to do so by the customs authorities. 

Special flights

Regarding special flights, requests for flying over and landing on Swiss territory can be made directly to the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) or via the FDFA’s eVIP platform.

FOCA diplomatic clearances

Last update 17.07.2023


Visits and Ceremonies

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