If you are planning to visit the country of Switzerland, you may be required to apply for a visa beforehand. The Swiss Schengen Visas allow the holder to stay in Switzerland (or another Schengen-area country) for a maximum of 90 days within six months. They are also called C-Visas.
Switzerland is one of the 26 Schengen-Area countries which have visa-free and border control-free travel between them. This means that anyone who is from a Schengen-area country can freely travel to Switzerland without a visa for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month frame.
It shows the dates when you can enter, when you need to leave, as well as the duration that the visa is valid for.
Switzerland Visa Application
To obtain a Swiss visa you will need to go through these simple application steps:
- Find out if you need to apply for a visa for Switzerland.
- Determine what type of Switzerland Visa you need.
- Find out where you can apply.
- Find out when you should apply.
- Book a Switzerland Visa appointment.
- Fill in the Switzerland Schengen Visa application form.
- Gather the required documents.
- Show up to the appointment to apply.
- Pay the Switzerland Visa fees.
- Enter the visa interview.
- Wait for processing.
Find out if you need to apply for a visa for Switzerland
Whether or not you need a Switzerland Visa to visit it, depends largely on your nationality.
If you are a national from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, you also do not require a visa to enter Switzerland for a stay of up to 90 days.
There are nationals from other countries as well who have been granted visa-free travel to Switzerland and other Schengen-area countries.
Schengen-area, EU, and EEA nationals may not need a visa if they want to stay longer than 90 days either.
Determine what type of Switzerland Visa you need
For what reason do you want to travel to Switzerland? Is it to visit family? For a business trip? Or maybe you just want to see the country for pleasure.
Well, you will need to apply for a Switzerland visa based on your purpose of travel accordingly. The different types of Switzerland visas could be:
- With the Swiss Transit visa, the holder can change planes at a Swiss airport in order to continue travels to a non-Schengen area country.
- The Swiss Tourist/Visitor Visa allows you to visit Switzerland (and other Schengen area countries) for 90 days within a six-month frame for tourism purposes or to visit family or friends
- With the Swiss Business visa, you can enter Switzerland (and other Schengen area countries) to conduct business for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month period.
You should determine what your purpose of travel is because the requirements can vary based on that.
Find Out Where to Apply for the Switzerland Visa
In most cases, you will need to apply to the Swiss representation in your country. This could be a Swiss embassy or consulate. However, not all countries have their own Swiss embassy/consulate.
In those cases, you need to find out in which other Schengen-area country’s embassy/consulate Switzerland has outsourced visa applications to. It may even be that you need to travel to a neighboring country.
Find Out When You Should Submit Your Swiss Visa Application
You can’t just get a visa the day you apply for it. The Swiss visa application process can sometimes be pretty lengthy. As such, you should apply some time before you actually plan to take your trip.
You cannot apply too late or too soon. The length of time before you apply is:
- The earliest: 90 days before your trip
- The latest: 15 working days before your trip
Book a Switzerland Visa appointment
You also cannot just walk into the Swiss embassy/consulate and submit a Swiss Visa application. You will have to book an appointment first. Some countries allow you to book an appointment online. Others require that you go to the Swiss embassy/consulate to book it.
Fill in the Swiss Schengen Visa Application form
There is an application form everyone has to fill when they apply for the Swiss Schengen visa. You can download it online, and you must fill it completely and truthfully.
The application form requires information like:
- Your personal information.
- Information about your background.
- Your purpose of travel.
- Other details in regards to your trip.
- You must fill in all the gaps.
- If one section does not apply to you, do not leave it empty. Write N/A (Not Applicable).
- Print it twice and sign both copies.
- For minors: The parent has to sign.
Gather the documents
After you have booked an appointment, you need to begin gathering any documents that you will need in order to complete your application. Again, different purposes of travel often require additional and specific documents.
Show up at the Appointment to Apply
Once the Swiss visa officers have set up an appointment for you, you must be there in person and on time at the required Swiss embassy/consulate.
You must bring your completed and signed application form, all your documents, and come prepared to pay the visa processing fees.
You will meet with a visa officer to whom you will hand your application. Next, you will need to enter a visa interview.
Enter the Swiss Visa Interview
The visa interview is a very important part of the Swiss visa application process. In the interview, you will have to convince the visa officials that you are a worthy candidate to give a visa to.
It is of utmost importance that you answer all of their questions completely, truthfully, and without hesitation. You must also be presentable, on time, and have a friendly and appropriate behaviour.
The interview lasts between 10-15 minutes and you may be asked questions about:
- Your personal life (relationships, children, family).
- Your education and professional life.
- Where you plan to travel to.
- The reason for your visit.
- How you intend to finance your trip.
- Where you plan to stay once you get to your destination.
No matter what questions they ask, do not hesitate to answer them and do not give incomplete and incorrect answers.
Pay the Switzerland Visa Fees
When you submit your Swiss visa application and attend the visa interview, you will also need to pay a non-refundable visa fee. So, even if your application is rejected, you won’t get your money back.
The Schengen visa fees are the same for all Schengen countries and are reviewed twice a year. They are subject to change.
Children under six and other specific categories may not be required to pay a fee at all, and others can have reduced fees.
Wait for processing
Once you have submitted your application, attended the interview, and paid the fee, all you can do is wait and see whether you will get the visa.
The Switzerland Visa application will normally process within 15 working days. However, this is not an exact number and it can take longer or even shorter in some cases.
You will have to ask the visa officer in charge of processing your application for a more correct time.
Receiving the answer to your application
If your Swiss visa application is accepted, you will receive a visa sticker on your passport which shows the entry and exit dates as well as the validity of the visa.
If your Swiss visa application is rejected, you will receive a letter with your rejected application stating the reasons why. It also lets you know whether you are eligible for an appeal to the decision and how to do that.
How Long is the Switzerland Schengen Visa Valid For?
The Schengen visa for Switzerland is valid for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month period. Because the Schengen visa allows you to travel among all other Schengen-area countries, you could spread out the days in other countries as well.
Then, based on what type of Schengen visa you were issued (single-, double-, or multiple-entry), you can also leave the Schengen area and return within those six months.
However, the total amount of days you spend in the Schengen area, Switzerland included, within those six months must not exceed 90 days.
How Many Times Can I Enter Switzerland With a Schengen Visa?
Other than based on purpose of travel, there are also Swiss Schengen Visas based on how many times you plan on entering the Schengen area. If you are issued a Uniform Schengen Visa for Switzerland (USV), it can be a:
Single-entry Swiss Schengen Visa
If you have a single-entry Schengen visa, you can only enter Switzerland (and any other Schengen-area country) once during the time the visa is valid. If you leave the Schengen area, you cannot re-enter, even if you haven’t spent the total amount of days you are permitted.
Double-entry Swiss Schengen Visa
As the name suggests, with a double-entry Schengen visa, you can enter Switzerland (and any other Schengen-area country) twice within the amount of days the visa is valid.
Multiple-entry Swiss Schengen Visa
With a multiple-entry Schengen visa, you can leave and re-enter Switzerland and any other Schengen-area country as many times as you want within the allowed time. You also cannot surpass the amount of days you are permitted to stay in the Schengen area.
In some particular cases, someone can be issued a Limited territorial validity Schengen Visa (LTV). With the LTV, the holder can only travel to Switzerland and any other countries specifically mentioned in the visa. They cannot enter another Schengen country that is not specified.
Can I Stay in Switzerland for More Than 90 Days?
Depending on your nationality, you may need a long-stay Swiss visa if you want to stay in Switzerland for more than 90 days. Long-stay visas are also known as D-Visas. The long-stay, or National, visas for Switzerland are similarly divided based on the purpose you want to stay in Switzerland:
- The Switzerland Student Visa is issued to foreign nationals who wish to study in Switzerland.
- With the Swiss work visa (or work permit), the holder can work in Switzerland.
- The Switzerland Family Reunion Visa is issued to foreign nationals who wish to join their family members who are Swiss citizens or residents.
Quick facts about Switzerland
Switzerland is a country in Central Europe known for its beautiful mountain ranges, the clear lakes, and its delicious chocolates!
With its beautiful Medieval landmarks, breathtaking nature, and skiing resorts, Switzerland is a popular tourist destination.
In addition to that, Switzerland’s known high quality of life also makes it a popular destination for anyone wishing to immigrate.