Who needs a visa and how to apply
Foreign nationals wishing to travel to Switzerland may require a visa, depending on the individual’s nationality. Please check here if you need a visa.
- Fijian citizens;
- and foreign nationals residing in New Zealand, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Niue, Tonga and Tuvalu who need a visa for travel to a member State of the Schengen Area;
can apply with the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington.
Rules regarding New Zealand passport holders
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 has concluded a bilateral visa waiver agreement with New Zealand. These agreements override certain Schengen area restrictions. 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 require a residence permit and need to contact, directly or through the future employer or school in Switzerland, the cantonal migration authority of the canton (states) where they wish to study, work or stay.
In case of employment at an official international organization, the future employer in Switzerland will request the issuing of a FDFA legitimation card through the Swiss permanent mission in Geneva. The FDFA legitimation card replaces the Swiss residence permit.
Hefty fines might apply in case of overstay, as well as prohibition to enter Switzerland and the Schengen area for up to three years. For further information, please refer to the following document Visa Waiver for New Zealanders for long-term stays in Switzerland.
Please note that Switzerland requires holders of passports of non-Schengen countries, and therefore including New Zealand citizens, to provide a passport that has been issued within the past 10 years and that will be valid for 3 months after the travelers’ 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, American Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
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 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).
Applications for a short term biometric Schengen visa C (for max 90 days) can be done online as well as the booking of the appointment with the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington.
At the appointment, the applicant must bring to the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington (map: see here) a complete application with the supporting documents as per the applicable requirement list at the end of this page, including printed form from the online application website, original passport and cash/cheque for the visa fee. The applicant will be interviewed and the biometric data (10-digit finger scans and a digital photograph) will be registered.
Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on a first come, first served basis.
Visa processing time is ten working days and sometimes it 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.
2. Long term national visa (visa D) >90 days
Long term national visas (also called visa D) are generally linked to a specific purpose (e.g. study, work, family reunification) and entitle the holder to remain in Switzerland for an extended period of time. The long term national visas are subject to the approval of the Cantonal Authority of the future place of residence in Switzerland.
Long term visa applications do usually not require the registration of fingerprints and may, therefore, be lodged by post or in person at the Embassy of Switzerland responsible for the place of residence of the applicant. An exception to this point are applications for family reunion and for study purposes.
For student visas, an interview in the language in which the applicant will study will be held at the premises of the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington when submitting the application.
The visa desk of the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington does not accept walk-in visitors: an appointment is required.
For applications lodged by post, a personal interview might be requested in case additional information is necessary.
Applications can be submitted 2 to 4 months prior to the beginning of the stay in Switzerland. Applications are then forwarded to the relevant Cantonal Authority for decision, which may take up to 4 months. The applications for long term national visas cannot be submitted online.
Once the visa is granted, the applicant will be asked to submit the passport for issuing of the visa. Unless otherwise stated, the visa “D” is valid for the initial entry only. Within 14 days of arrival in Switzerland, the applicant must register with the relevant Cantonal Authority, where a permit will be issued.
Airport transit visa
Foreign nationals transiting through Switzerland may require a airport transit visa, depending on the individual’s nationality. Please check here if you need a airport transit visa and on this list.
An airport transit visa allows entry to Switzerland for the sole purpose of changing plane and does not allow the bearer to exit the terminal building.
Requirements for an Airport Transit Visa