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Visa for Switzerland
In 2011, member States of the Schengen Agreement introduced the Visa Information System. The Visa Information System requires that visa applicants record their biometric data.
As of 15 May 2014, and as part of the international rollout of the Visa Information System by all member States of the Schengen Agreement:
- Fijian, Samoan, Tongan and Tuvaluan citizens;
- and foreign nationals residing in New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu who need a visa for travels to a member State of the Schengen Agreement;
must apply in person at the Schengen Agreement’s member State’s representation, i.e. the Swiss Embassy in Wellington for travels to Switzerland, to have their biometric data recorded (10-digit finger scans and a digital photograph). They must make an appointment in advance.
Fijian citizens and foreign nationals residing in Fiji can also apply at the Embassy of France in Suva.
An information leaflet of the European Union provides more details about the introduction of the Visa Information System.
Foreign nationals wishing to visit Switzerland for a short period (less than 90 days) may require a visa, depending on the individual’s nationality.
New Zealand citizens are allowed to stay in Switzerland without a visa for a period of up to 90 days, for tourism or business purposes, irrespective of other periods spent in other Schengen countries. Switzerland is one of several Schengen countries that have concluded a bilateral visa waiver agreement with New Zealand. These agreements override certain Schengen area restrictions otherwise imposed on New Zealand passport holders. For more details, see the website of the EU Delegation to New Zealand.
New Zealand citizens who wish to study, work or simply stay more than 90 days in Switzerland can also enter Switzerland without a visa but require a residence permit and need to directly contact the cantonal migration authority of the canton (states) where they wish to study, work or stay. For further information, please see the document "Visa Waiver for New Zealanders for long-term stays in Switzerland".
Citizens of EU/EFTA countries do not need a visa and can find all the necessary information regarding the implementation of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons on the Website of the Swiss Federal Office for Migration in Bern.
Please note that Switzerland requires non-Schengen visitors, including New Zealand citizens, to provide official identity documents, such as passports, that have been issued within the past 10 years and that will be valid for three months after the traveler’s planned departure from the Schengen area.
The Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington only accepts applications from residents (i.e., persons residing in, but not necessarily nationals) of New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu. Fijian citizens and residents can also apply for a short-term Schengen visa at the Embassy of France in Suva.
There are two types of visa:
- Short term Schengen visa (visa C) <90 days
- Long term national visa (visa D) >90 days
1. Short term Schengen visa (visa C) <90 days
The short term Schengen visa C allows the holder to move freely within the entire Schengen area (Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Greece, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Sweden) for up to ninety days within a period of six months provided that the person does not take up work.
The Schengen visa must always be applied for at the Embassy/Consulate of the Schengen state in which most of the time will be spent (for ex.: if somebody plans to stay five days in Switzerland and ten days in Italy, the visa application needs to be submitted to the Italian Embassy/Consulate).
The application must be submitted at the Embassy/Consulate responsible for the applicant's place of residence (for ex.: a tourist visiting New Zealand needs to apply for the visa in his/her home country).
Processing time is at least ten working days and sometimes may take considerably longer depending on the nationality of the applicant. It is suggested that the visa be applied for at least one month prior to departure, but not more than three months before the planned entry. Additional information and/or documentation and/or a personal interview may be required. There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued.
2. Long term national visa (visa D) >90 days
The long term national visa D is generally linked to a specific purpose (e.g. study, work, family reunion). It entitles the holder to remain in Switzerland for an extended period of time (90 days or longer).
Processing time: The application including all required documents has to be submitted in person two to four months prior to the beginning of the stay in Switzerland.
There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued.