Switzerland is well-known for its beautiful mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes, ski resorts, and picturesque villages. As such, Switzerland is a popular tourist attraction with millions of people from around the world visiting it each year.
Nationals of certain European countries can freely enter Switzerland with barely any restrictions. However, not everyone has a free pass for entering Switzerland.
Those who are not exempt will need to apply for a Switzerland tourist visa in order to enter this Alpine country. If you want to enter Switzerland to visit your family members or friends, you may have to apply for a Switzerland Visitor Visa.
If you are wondering whether you need a visa for Switzerland or not, and how you can apply, this article answers some of the most common questions.
What is a Switzerland Tourist Visa?
The Switzerland tourist visa is a type of short-stay visa for Switzerland. As the name suggests, it is issued to people who want to visit Switzerland for tourism purposes.
Do I need to apply for a Tourist visa for Switzerland?
Naturally, nationals of Schengen-area countries do not need a Tourist visa for Switzerland. Citizens of the EU or the EEA also do not have to apply for a visa to enter Switzerland.
In addition, there are other countries who are not part of the Schengen area, the EU or the EEA but who are also exempt from applying for a visa.
Where Do I Apply for A Switzerland Tourist/Visitor Visa?
You apply for a Swiss tourist visa in the Swiss representation in your home country. If there is no Swiss representation in your country, you have to find out in which Schengen country’s embassy Switzerland has outsourced visa submissions to.
What are the Requirements for a Switzerland Tourist Visa?
If you checked and found that you do need a tourist visa for Switzerland, you’ll need to know what the requirements are to apply for one are.
When it comes to Switzerland visas, the requirements are based on the purpose of travel. So, for a Switzerland tourist visa, you will need documents that prove you are really going to Switzerland for tourism purposes:
- A completed and signed Switzerland Tourist/Visitor Visa application form.
- Two passport-style photos that comply with the photo requirements for a Schengen visa.
- Your valid passport. Along with photocopies of current and previous passports/other travel documents
- Travel medical insurance that covers your entire stay in Switzerland.
- A cover letter that proves that the reason for going to Switzerland is for tourism or a short term visit.
- Proof of civil status.
- Proof of sufficient financial means. You must provide at least 100 CHF or €92.34 per day for every day you spend in Switzerland.
- Proof of paid Swiss Tourist/Visitor visa application fees.
- Proof of accommodation. When traveling to Switzerland for tourism purposes, you have to give evidence of where you will be staying during that time. This could be:
- Hotel booking which shows the complete name, address, phone and email of your hotel.
- Home rental agreement, in case you are renting a home for the duration of your stay.
- Documents which prove the travel is for tourism purposes.
- You will have to provide copies of your travel itinerary which include the dates and location of your stay, flight numbers, and when you will enter and leave Switzerland.
- If you are traveling with a travel agency, you have to show your reservation with the travel agency. You may also be required to provide a letter from your tour organizer.
- Letter from employer. If you are employed, you have to provide a letter from your employer which states your job description, your position in the company, and when you are expected to return to your work.
On the other hand, if you are visiting family or friends in Switzerland, you should provide:
- Letter of invitation from your host.
- The person you intend to visit in Switzerland has to write an invitation letter. This person will serve as your sponsor. The letter serves to prove that you are invited to stay with them and you will not stay in Switzerland illegally.
- The letter must contain the dates that you will stay with them, as well as detail your relationship. It must also state that if you are unable to provide for yourself financially, your family member/friend will cover for you.
- Your host has to include a copy of his/her passport along with the letter of invitation.
- Proof of family relationship. If the person who you intend to visit is your family member, you must include proof of this in your application. This could be done through marriage certificates or birth certificates.
- Proof of accommodation.
- If you are staying with your family member/friend during your stay in Switzerland, then your sponsor (family member/friend) has to state this in the Invitation Letter.
- If you aren’t staying with your sponsor, you may be asked to prove you actually intend to visit them in an alternate way.
- Proof your sponsor can financially cover for you (if applicable).
- If your sponsor will be covering you financially, they may need to provide proof of that. They may have to do this by presenting a copy of their employment contract (valid for at least 12 months), and their three most recent payslips.
- If they won’t cover for you financially, you have to present proof of your own income and sufficient funds.
Keep in mind that the Swiss authorities reserve the right to ask for any other documents that they feel are necessary.
Swiss Tourist and Visitor Visa Application Steps
The process of the Switzerland visa application goes as follows:
- Book an appointment with the Swiss embassy/consulate in your country.
- Download and fill in a Switzerland tourist visa application form.
- Gather all the necessary Swiss tourist visa documents.
- Submit the application in person at the appropriate Swiss embassy/consulate.
- Enter the visa interview.
- Pay the Switzerland tourist visa fees.
- Wait for the Tourist visa to be processed.
If your Swiss tourist application is accepted, you will receive a visa sticker on your passport which shows how long the visa is valid for. You are then cleared to travel to Switzerland.
Of your application is rejected, your rejection letter will include the reasons why. It also informs you whether you are eligible to appeal the decision and how to do that.
How Long is the Switzerland Tourist Visa valid for?
The Switzerland tourist visa, like other types of Schengen visas, is valid for a maximum of 90 days within a six month period.
If you receive a multiple-entry Tourist Schengen visa for Switzerland, you can enter and leave the Schengen area as many times as you like within six months, as long as the total amount of days does not exceed 90.
You also do not need to spend all your valid days in Switzerland. The Swiss Schengen visa allows you to travel between all the Schengen countries.