Seeing as Switzerland is part of the Schengen area, a lot of the rules on who does or doesn’t need a visa to enter it are the same as for the other Schengen countries.
If you were planning on taking a trip to Switzerland, but found yourself thinking, “Do I need a visa for Switzerland?”, then this article will clear any doubts.
Do I need a Switzerland Schengen Visa?
A Switzerland Schengen visa, also known as a Swiss C-visa, allows the holder to stay in Switzerland and other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days within a six-month frame. Nationals of some countries do not need a Schengen visa for Switzerland, while others do. You only need a Switzerland Schengen Visa if your country is mentioned on this list.
You do not need a Switzerland visa if you are:
- A national of a Schengen-area country. Schengen countries are 26 European countries who have established visa-free and border control-free travel amongst them.
- A national from a member state of the EU (European Union) or EEA (European Economic Area).
Other than the above-mentioned categories, several other countries are exempt from a Swiss Schengen visa if they want to enter Switzerland or any other Schengen area countries.
Who is eligible for an accelerated Switzerland Schengen Visa procedure?
You are eligible to get a Swiss Schengen visa faster if you fulfill the following conditions:
- You are a family member of the first degree (wife/husband or a child under 21 years of age) of an EU/EEA national.
- You are travelling with your EU/EEA national family member to Switzerland or you are planning to join him/her there.
- You must be able to provide proof of that.
If you have more than one nationality
If you have more than one nationality, whether you need a Switzerland visa or not depends on which passport you are travelling with. If you intend to travel with the passport issued from a country who is exempt from the Swiss Schengen visa, then you do not need to apply for one.
If you are travelling with a passport from a country who does require a Switzerland visa, then you need to apply for one.
See here for a more detailed guide about the Switzerland Schengen Visa.
Do I need a Switzerland Airport Transit Visa?
An Airport Transit visa for Switzerland (A-visa) allows the holder to enter the transit area of a Swiss airport in order to catch a connecting flight to another country. The Swiss airport transit visa does not allow the holder to leave the transit area of the airport.
If you are changing planes in a Swiss airport, you will generally not need a visa if you meet a set of conditions. Only nationals from a select list of countries will need a Swiss Airport Transit visa.
The conditions you have to meet to change aircrafts at a Swiss airport are:
- You must have a valid passport/travel document issued in the past 10 years.
- You cannot leave the transit area of the airport.
- You must have the travel documents and visa required to enter the country which is your final destination.
- You must already have the airline ticket for your destination country.
- You are not a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of Switzerland.
- You do not have an alert issued against you which refuses you entry.
Note: You only need a Swiss airport transit visa if you are catching a flight to a country that is not in the Schengen area. If your final destination is a Schengen-area country, you will need a regular Schengen visa (C-visa).
Do I need a Switzerland Long-Stay Visa?
If you want to stay in Switzerland for longer than three months, you will need a Swiss long-stay (D-visa), also known as a national visa. The reasons for wanting to stay for longer than three months could be due to work, study, or family reunification. Depending on the country, different rules apply in regards to who needs to apply for a long-term visa before they enter Switzerland.
Switzerland is not part of the EU, but follows a lot of its similar rules. That’s because Switzerland, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The EFTA is united with the EU through the EEA and all the member countries of the EU and EFTA enjoy free market between them.
As such, other EU/EFTA member countries can travel to Switzerland freely without a visa. However, after 90 days have passed, they will need to obtain a residence permit and authorisation to work.
Newer EU members like Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia have additional, specific rules.
Nationals of countries who are not part of the EU/EFTA, all have to apply for a long-stay Swiss visa. In addition to that, they need to apply for a residence permit as well. Non-EU/EFTA nationals have to apply for the Swiss long-stay visa and residence permit before entering Switzerland.
So, everyone, regardless of their nationality, has to apply for a Swiss residence permit for stays that are longer than 90 days. They also have to apply for a Swiss work permit to be allowed to work.