Airport access and facilities granted to staff members of diplomatic and consular representations in Switzerland

The Federal authorities thank the diplomatic Missions for their strict compliance with the provisions set forth below:

a) General conditions for access to transit halls
The following persons may enter the transit halls upon presentation of a valid legitimation
card issued by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs:

  • Heads of Mission (legitimation card B)
  • Diplomatic staff members of embassies (legitimation card C)
  • Diplomatic staff members of permanent missions (legitimation card C)
  • Career heads of consular posts (legitimation card K with pink/black band)
  • Career consular officers (legitimation card K with pink/black band)

All other staff members of diplomatic and consular representations may only access the transit halls if they are in possession of a special access card. Diplomatic Missions may request these cards from the management of the particular airport concerned except in the case of Zurich-Kloten airport which ceased to issue such cards as of 1 February 2005.

b) Reclaiming a diplomatic or consular bag
In order to reclaim a diplomatic or consular bag, staff members of an embassy, consular representation or permanent mission are authorised to enter the transit halls upon presentation of a FDFA legitimation card or (with the exception of Zurich) a special access card issued by the airport authorities. For information on the procedure at Zurich-Kloten airport, please contact the “Operations / Airport Security” Service.
It depends upon the usual practice of the airline company concerned as to whether diplomatic and consular bags should be reclaimed from either the transit hall or their freight office.

c) Access to air traffic side (tarmac) at the arrival or departure of foreign personages

  • Vehicles with ordinary licence plates
    Such vehicles are not authorised to access the tarmac to collect passengers directly from an aeroplane. However, exceptions may be made, to allow vehicles to approach an aeroplane where it is necessary to collect or accompany personages requiring specific medical care. In such cases diplomatic or consular representations should, a minimum ot three days prior to the arrival in Switzerland of the personage in question, address a request to Protocol (Ceremonial and Visits Section) at the FDFA giving details as the function of the vehicle, its driver and its passengers.
  • Vehicles with “CD” or “CC” licence plates
    Tarmac access for vehicles with “CD” and “CC” licence plates is governed by the in-formation notice entitled (in English only) ”Access to aeroplanes for vehicles with “CD” and “CC” licence plates” to security-restricted zones of Swiss international airports (Zurich, Geneva, Bern-Belp, Lugano, Sion and Altenrhein) issued by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) on 20 December 2004.
  • Police Escort
    The categories of vehicles mentioned above may only be driven on the tarmac when escorted by a police car.
  • Official corteges
    It should be noted that no diplomatic vehicle may form part of an official cortege which involves limousines of the Confederation.

d) Security controls
Police and airport security bodies reserve the right to carry out security screening and identity controls. As a general matter, all persons meeting or accompanying foreign personages must comply with such controls.
Persons welcoming or accompanying foreign personages who are escorted by an officer of the airport police, following prior notification from Protocol of the FDFA, may, depending on the circumstances, be exempted from security controls.
Immigration and Customs regulations must be strictly complied with. In the event of contravention, as in any other exceptional circumstance, the competent authorities reserve the right to limit or even cancel certain of the facilities previously accorded to members of diplomatic or consular representations.

Last update 26.01.2022

Start of page