A surveillance camera on a wall.
In security-related emergencies, do not hesitate to call 117. © Arno Senoner/Unsplash

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 form the legal basis for Switzerland's duty, as a receiving state, to protect diplomatic and consular representations and their members on its territory. 

Under these two conventions therefore, the FDFA has a particular obligation to take all appropriate measures to protect the premises of foreign diplomatic and consular representations against intrusion, damage, disturbance of the peace or impairment of its dignity. According to most legal commentators and based on prevailing practice, the above obligations are not absolute; appropriate means within the meaning of the Vienna Conventions depend on the scale of the foreseeable threat. However, host states are obliged to identify heightened risks for a particular representation, to respond to any indications made by a representation, and to make appropriate arrangements for protection (due diligence). 

In Switzerland, this is carried out by federal and cantonal authorities in charge of security, which exchange information and coordinate closely to optimise security measures. 

Standard channels

The following diagram sets out the standard channels to follow in the event of a security incident: 

Gun permit application

Embassy and consulate security personnel accredited to FDFA Protocol must apply for a gun permit with FDFA Protocol. The application must give a reason and be duly completed, dated and signed by the person concerned and the head of mission (embassy), and bear the official stamp.

The head of mission should declare that the information contained in the application is accurate and certify that the person concerned is suitably qualified and able to handle a firearm.

A photograph (good quality, passport size, less than three months old) and copy of the applicant's FDFA legitimation card must be attached to the form.

Gun permit holders must be able to identify themselves with their legitimation card at all times when performing their duties.

Application for a permit to carry weapons for foreign members of diplomatic missions, consular posts, permanent missions and special missions (PDF, 1 Page, 26.5 kB, English)

Last update 07.06.2023


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