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VIP treatment in Swiss airports

Last update: March 2013

Swiss Protocol makes the necessary arrangements to provide for the appropriate level of no-cost VIP treatment for the dignitaries listed under points 1 to 4 here-below, taking into account the nature of their stay in Switzerland.

The Airport of Zurich, however, grants only a restricted VIP treatment to dignitaries travelling for private reasons or in transit as follows:

Beginning on 18 March 2013, the costs for VIP treatment at the Airport of Zurich accorded to dignitaries who are making a private visit or are transiting through Switzerland will be assumed for 5 persons at the most, that is to say for the VIP, his/her spouse, and a maximum of 3 accompanying persons. In the event that the embassies wish that the VIP treatment be extended to other members of their delegations, arrangements can be made accordingly. The embassies however, shall be required to bear the costs.

a) Categories of dignitaries

For any other persons not listed under points 1 to 4, the Diplomatic Missions are authorized to address a request for “VIP” services directly to the competent airport authorities who will decide according to the individual case and in accordance with their usual practice whether VIP treatment can be granted and, depending on the circumstances, whether such treatment will be either free of charge, at a preferential rate or at full cost (to be borne by the embassies).

 

1. Private travel or in transit (cf. specific treatment granted Zurich Airport)

1.1 Sovereign
1.2 Head of State
1.3 Secretary-General of the United Nations
1.4 Member of a royal or princely family
1.5 Head of government (at national level)
1.6 President of a national parliament
1.7 Minister of foreign affairs

2. Bilateral Visit (at the invitation of a Federal authority)

2.1 Sovereign
2.2 Head of State
2.3 Secretary-General of the United Nations
2.4 Member of a royal or princely family
2.5 Head of government (at national level)
2.6 President of a national parliament
2.7 Vice-President
Deputy Prime-Minister (at national level)
2.8 Minister (member of a national government)
President of the National Bank
2.9 President of the European Parliament
2.10 President of the European Commission or a European Commissioner
2.11 Deputy Minister
Secretary of State
2.12 High religious dignitary
2.13 High-ranking military leader
2.14 High-ranking judiciary official
2.15 Secretary-General or Director General of an international organization
officially recognized by Switzerland

3. Participation at a multilateral event in Switzerland

3.1 Sovereign
3.2 Head of State
3.3 Secretary-General of the United Nations
3.4 Member of a royal or princely family
3.5 Head of government (at national level)
3.6 Deputy Prime Minister (at national level)
3.7 Minister (member of a national government)
3.8 President of the European Commission or a European Commissioner
3.9 President of a national parliament
3.10 High religious dignitary
3.11 High-ranking military leader
3.12 High-ranking legal official
3.13 Secretary-General or Director General of an international organization
officially recognized by Switzerland

4. Assumption and termination of an official function in Switzerland

4.1 Head of a diplomatic mission

The persons accompanying a foreign dignitary mentioned under points 1 to 4 and who are travelling on the same flight can also benefit from VIP treatment.

b) Procedure

In order to obtain VIP treatment at a Swiss Airport for a dignitary listed under paragraph A), the Diplomatic Missions are required to present a formal request to Protocol at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs using the form “Request of VIP Service at an Airport” (hereto annexed).The form is available only in English and can be downloaded from the FDFA site. This form is also to be used in cases of private travel or transit of dignitaries at the airport of Zurich.

This form is in any and every case to be transmitted by Diplomatic Note. The Diplomatic Note must be received by Protocol at least 48 hours prior to the arrival to, or the departure from Switzerland of the dignitary concerned.

For arrivals expected over the weekend, the Diplomatic Note must be received by Protocol by
Friday at 16h00 at the latest; otherwise VIP treatment cannot be guaranteed.

FDFA

c) Particularities

  1. Identity documents
    The dignitaries listed under paragraph a) are in all cases obliged to be carrying their passports and, if necessary, a valid visa to enter Switzerland.
    All accompanying persons also benefiting from VIP treatment must submit themselves to the security controls and to passport control whenever they are required to do so by the customs authorities.
  2. Special flights
    As concerns special flights, the requests for flying over and landing on Swiss territory shall continue to be addressed to the competent authorities in accordance to the procedures currently in force.

Last update 26.01.2022

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