Information regarding entry into Switzerland and residence

Photo of famous Swiss mountain the Matterhorn
The Matterhorn, a 4,478-metre peak, is one of Switzerland’s most famous mountains. © GammaCygni - CC BY 2.0

Various regulations apply for entering Switzerland. A basic distinction is made between citizens of EU and EFTA countries and those of other countries. The State Secretariat for Migration is the responsible authority in Switzerland.

Information/reminders for entering the Schengen area can be useful if you are planning to visit Switzerland, expecting a visitor from abroad, or wish to invite someone from abroad. You will find information about entering into Switzerland (requirements, short-stay calculator, visa obligation, etc.) on the webpage of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

SEM – Do I require a visa?” with “Information sheet for entry to the Schengen Area/Visa Procedure” and “Declaration of Sponsorship”

State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) webpage – Entry to Switzerland

European Commission webpage – List of travel documents (on the right under « Info »)

Third-country nationals, regardless of their visa obligation status, can use the short-stay calculator to calculate the number of days available for short stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-days period within the Schengen Area.

State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) webpage – Calculation of short-term stays / short-stay calculator

Entry to Switzerland and residence for citizens of EU/EFTA countries

You may enter Swiss territory without a visa if you are a citizen of the European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and in possession of a valid recognised identity document.

For a stay over 90 days you will require an authorisation from the migration authority of the canton concerned. An application for authorisation accompanied by the relevant documents should be submitted to the said cantonal authority. Within 14 days after the arrival in Switzerland and before starting an employment, citizens of EU-25/EFTA have to announce themselves at the municipality of the place of residence and apply for residency permit.

State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)

SEM – List of cantonal immigration and labour authorities

SEM – Nationality Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality

Entry to Switzerland and residence (also Schengen Area) for non-Swiss citizens and nationals of countries outside the EU/EFTA

If you are not a citizen of Switzerland or of a country in the EU or EFTA, the conditions for entry to Switzerland will vary in relation to your nationality, the reasons for your proposed stay (tourism, visit, employment, studies, family reunification, etc.) and the length of your stay (short or long duration).

The website of the State Secretariat for Migration SEM below will inform you whether or not you require a visa to enter Switzerland and on the travel documents that are recognised.

SEM – Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality

Persons who require a visa should submit their application to the Swiss representation competent for their place of residence.