Visa – Entry to and residence in Switzerland

Various regulations apply for entering Switzerland. A basic distinction is made between citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and those of other countries. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is the responsible authority in Switzerland.


Since Switzerland’s adherence to the Schengen and Dublin agreements came into force (12 December 2008), Swiss representations abroad are able to issue certain types of visa, depending on the purpose of the intended stay in Switzerland. Please select one of the following options.

Change of service provider

Please note that as per 11th June 2018 the external visa service provider for Switzerland in the UK will be TLScontact.

Accordingly, if you wish to submit your Schengen visa application

  • on or before the 7th of June in London,
  • on or before the 6th of June in Edinburgh, Manchester and Cardiff,

you will need to book an appointment with VFS Global.

If you wish to submit a Schengen visa application on or after the 11th of June, you can book an appointment from the 29th of May 2018 onwards with TLScontact.

No appointments are available on the 8th of June 2018.

Information from the Regional Consular Centre London

Applications for Schengen visas with Switzerland as the main destination can be submitted through VFS Global offices in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester. Charges apply for these services.

VFS Global

To book an appointment at the Regional Consular Centre, Embassy of Switzerland, in London please call the VFS Global helpline on +44 (0)20 3411 06 90.

Applications for the following permits and visas can be submitted in person at the Regional Consular Centre London, without prior appointment (Monday to Friday 10.00am to 11.30am, except on British and Swiss public holidays):

National visa for a stay of more than 90 days

  • Spouse permit
  • Student permit
  • Authorised work permit
  • Diplomatic permit
  • Visa for internship in an international organisation (e.g. United Nations)

Schengen visa for a stay of up to 90 days

  • Diplomatic visa
  • EU Spouse visa
  • Visa for invitations through international organisations (e.g. United Nations)

For requirements visit VFS Global

With the introduction of biometric visas all visa applications must be submitted in person as fingerprints have to be taken.

Schengen visa for a stay of up to 90 days

For persons wishing to enter Switzerland for a short stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period: for example, in a context of tourism, a visit to relatives or friends, short-term language studies, participating in a conference or in sporting/cultural events, etc.

National visa for a stay of more than 90 days

For persons wishing to enter Switzerland for a stay of more than 90 days within a 180-day period. It is subject to the authorisation of the cantonal migration authority competent for the intended place of residence. For example: long-term student, family reunification, marriage in Switzerland, etc.

Airport transit visa

For citizens of certain countries who need a transit visa even if they are staying in the international transit area of the airport and do not enter the Schengen territory.

Labour / Work permits

Admission of foreign workers to an employer in Switzerland is subject to the authorisation of the competent cantonal authority. The entry visa is granted only when the requested authorisations have been delivered.