Visas for Switzerland

Important message: private companies offering services to visa clients

Private entities not related to the Consulates or any other government body offer appointment services to visa clients. The visa clients who employ the services of such a company pay a fee to the company for making an appointment at the relevant Consulate for them. This fee does not include the actual visa fee, which has to be paid to the Consulates directly. The Consulates do not ask for an appointment fee and do not give preference to clients who employ the services of a private company to make the appointment on their behalf.  

Entering Switzerland

Only persons who have a legal residence status in Canada can apply for a visa at Swiss representations in Canada. Holders of a Canadian residence permit are no longer exempt from the visa obligation for short stays in Switzerland. Persons not residing in Canada must apply in their country of residence.

In order to apply for a visa, your passport must have been issued within the last ten years and must have two empty pages. A passport older than ten years that has been extended for a period exceeding ten years from the time of issuance cannot be accepted. The validty of the passport or Blue Travel Document must exceed 3 months after the expiry date of the visa.

Nationals who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen States (e.g. Canadians, Americans) and wish to travel to Switzerland as a tourist or visitor can stay in all Schengen areas, included Switzerland, for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-days period with no visa. The passport must be valid for 3 months after exiting the Schengen area. In order to avoid paying an overstay fine when leaving Europe, e.g. Swiss-Canadian dual citizens who intend to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen zone are strongly advised to present their Swiss passport at the border when entering and leaving the Schengen area. In any case, dual citizens who enter the Schengen zone to take up employment in Switzerland, even for less than 90 days, are required to identify themselves with their Swiss passport as with another passport they are not allowed to work in Switzerland without a proper working visa.

As a general rule, the applicant must appear in person to submit a visa request. Please consult the information below to find out which visa desk is responsible for your place of residence and whether you may apply by mail.

Tourism, Business, Visiting family or friends, Airport transit:

If you are applying for a Schengen visa (type C, for stays up to 90 days) you have to submit an online visa application and book your appointment online with the respective representation (Vancouver or Montreal; see paragraph “Where to apply?”). Please note that you will be required to bring your complete application with the supporting documents to the respective visa desk for your interview.

To start your online application and to book your appointment, please visit swiss-visa.

Each individual applicant requires an appointment. Prior to making your appointment, you are strongly advised to read the requirements relating to the visa type you wish to apply for.

Work, Student and Family reunion: 

Visa applications for stays longer than 90 days do not require fingerprinting and, therefore, may be submitted by mail. Please note that you might still be invited for an interview. Please read the requirements:

Where to apply? Swiss visa desks in Canada

Applications have to be submitted to the Swiss representation competent for your state of residence. Please consult the links below for specific information regarding the application process.

Who needs a visa?

All persons, including Canadian citizens who intend to stay in Switzerland for more than three consecutive months, will need authorization from the cantonal authorities and a visa from the responsible Swiss visa desk. The same rule applies for all persons who intend to engage in gainful activity in Switzerland. Special regulations apply for the citizens of EU/EFTA member countries.

Work Visa for Canadian citizens and other nationals for whom an authorization has been given directly in Switzerland

If your employer has applied for your visa in Switzerland and it has been granted, you still must contact the competent Swiss representation abroad to have your visa affixed to your passport.

You must submit the following documents to the competent Swiss representation:

  1. Your visa authorisation sheet from Switzerland or your SYMIC number
  2. One passport photo per applicant (photo requirements)
  3. Allicant's valid original passport, plus a copy
  4. Visa fee (only money order or cash)
  5. If applying by mail: please include a self-addressed Xpresspost envelope for the safe return of your passports

Youth Mobility Program (YMP)

Please click here

Processing time

Short stay visas (tourists, visitors, business) 
You may not apply more than 3 month before your intended date of travel.

Your application will generally be processed within 15 days.

Please note that "short stay work visas" (more than 8 days but less than 90 days) are treated as long stay visas and processed in Switzerland (review time, up to 4 months)

Long stay visas (work, study, residence) initiated at the visa desk abroad

Up to 4 months.

Visa for persons who have already received an authorization from a Swiss cantonal authority (initiated by the employer in Switzerland).

Up to 15 days.

Important:
Any inquiries on the status of your application must be directed to the competent immigration office in Switzerland only. They will inform you on whether your visa has been authorized or not and disclose your file number (SYMIC number).
 
Addresses of cantonal immigration and labour market authorities in Switzerland : 

Important communication concerning Schengen Visa applications as of May 15, 2014

Dear Visa Applicants,

As a result of the introduction of the Visa Information System (VIS) for all Schengen Member States representatives in Canada, the biometric data (fingerprints and facial image) of all Schengen visa (short stay) applicants must now be recorded. For this reason, as of May 15, 2014, the personal interview for all Schengen visa applicants is mandatory - except for children under 12 years of age who are exempt from this requirement. This procedure is not required if you apply for a National (type D) visa (for long-term stays (more than three months) in Switzerland subject to authorization (e.g. gainful employment, family reunification).

An information leaflet of the European Union relating to the introduction of the VIS and the capture of the biometric data can be found onour website:

New rules as from 18 october 2013

New travel document requirements to enter the Schengen Area

Citizens of third states who enter the territory of the Schengen states will have to be in possession of a travel document which is valid for a further three months after their departure date from Schengen state and must have been issued within the past ten years. 

Residence in Liechtenstein

Generally speaking, Liechtenstein's policy on admission of foreign residents is as restrictive as that of Switzerland. To find out the requirements and procedure, applicants with close ties should contact the authorities of Liechtenstein:

Ausländer und Passamt
Heuweg 6
FL-9490 Vaduz
Tel.: +423 236 61 41