Under the Federal Act on Swiss Persons and Institutions Abroad – Swiss Abroad Act (SAA) – which came into force on 1 November 2015, Swiss citizens are expected to rely on their own means to support themselves during a stay abroad. The legislation requires individuals to assume personal responsibility in preparing for and carrying out a stay abroad or in exercising an activity abroad, to behave in a manner commensurate with the risks involved and to use their own resources to overcome any difficulties that arise.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) may offer support to people who cannot reasonably be expected or are unable to protect their interests themselves or with the help of third parties. Consular assistance (applying to the FDFA for help) is only an option when a person has done everything in their power to handle the situation on their own or with the help of the local authorities, insurer(s) and other potential providers of assistance. There is no legal entitlement to assistance from the Swiss federal government.