The FDFA provides information only on a periodic basis and does not guarantee the accuracy or comprehensiveness of the information provided. Article 5 of the Swiss Abroad Act stipulates that every individual shall exercise personal responsibility when planning or undertaking a stay abroad or when working abroad.

 The picture shows a geothermal spring, the symbol of Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the world. World famous for its geothermal springs, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. © Unsplash

Thanks to the visa waiver programme (VWP), Swiss nationals can travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes (visitor visa purposes) for stays of up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa. VWP travellers must apply for authorisation through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). Swiss nationals require a visa for stays in the context of gainful employment (also temporary), internships, further education, training (incl. language schools), and participation in exchange programmes, research, etc. The procedure is time-consuming and usually involves a personal interview at the US embassy in Bern. 

Visa for the United States

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) generally distinguish between immigrants and non-immigrants. Immigrant visas are only granted to persons who meet the conditions for permanent residence in the United States. Non-immigrant visas are issued to people who are going to reside temporarily in the country. 

Global Entry programme

Swiss nationals in Switzerland and abroad can apply to the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) for admission to the Global Entry programme, which speeds up the entry procedure to the US by carrying out a prior police check in Switzerland and the US. These inspections are subject to a fee.

Global Entry speeds up the entry procedure into the US, but does not change the entry requirements. Consequently, Global Entry does not replace a US visa or ESTA travel authorisation for visa-exempt countries such as Switzerland. 

Please note that the length of stay granted by the immigration authorities upon entry should not be exceeded, otherwise you will be in breach of US immigration law and liable to prosecution. In addition to financial penalties, entry bans may also be imposed. 

Registration with the Swiss representation abroad 


Swiss nationals who are relocating abroad must register with the competent Swiss representation (embassy or consulate) abroad. They must do so within 90 days of the date on which they deregistered from their last commune of residence in Switzerland. You can register directly at the representation or via the online desk. To register as a Swiss citizen abroad, you need a valid passport (or a valid ID), a deregistration certificate and, if you have one, a certificate of origin.


Registration is free of charge. Registering will enable the Swiss authorities to contact you in an emergency and facilitate speedier processing of administrative matters such as issuing an identity or civil status document. Registering is also a good way to stay in touch with Switzerland. Swiss citizens who are registered with a Swiss representation abroad receive the Swiss Review – the magazine for the Swiss community abroad – free of charge. If you are over 18, you can also register to vote on initiatives and in referendums and elections in Switzerland.

Vaccination and health

The Healthy Travel website provides vaccination recommendations and up-to-date information on infectious diseases. Please check vaccination recommendations before you travel.


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