Privileges and immunities

The Mission's Section of Privileges and Immunities is responsible for applying the system of diplomatic benefits to 264 permanent representations and 45 international organisations. Its registration service issues FDFA legitimation cards. The Office oversees an international community of around 43,000.

The Section of Privileges and Immunities administers the special legal status granted to 264 permanent representations in Geneva, as well as to 45 Swiss-based international organisations which have concluded an agreement on privileges and immunities with the Federal Council.

The Section manages the application of the system of privileges and immunities, as well as other benefits, granted to the representations, organisations and their members under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and individual agreements with the organisations themselves. For example, it handles issues relating to the status of entities and their members, social legislation, labour law, labour disputes, requests for the suspension of immunity, tax law, and employment conditions for the private domestic staff of members of the international community, as well as the opening of new missions and organisations.

With its registration service for the international community, the Section is also responsible for issuing FDFA legitimation cards to, and withdrawing them from, members of representations and organisations with a headquarters agreement in Switzerland, as well as their families and domestic staff. A legitimation card serves as a residence permit, certifies the holder’s privileges and immunities, and exempts the holder from any visa requirements for entering Switzerland. The registration service operates in the same way as a cantonal residents' registration office, and oversees an international population of around 43,000.