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To exercise your democratic rights abroad as a Swiss citizen, you must have permanent residence abroad and be registered to vote at the Swiss embassy or consulate responsible for your place of residence. To receive the ballots and the Federal Council's explanatory leaflets on popular votes and elections by post, you must first register to vote in your last commune of residence. Swiss Review, the magazine for the Swiss community abroad, regularly provides information on upcoming federal votes.

Please find further information on the webpages of ch.ch and of FDFA.

Consular assistance

Under the Swiss Abroad Act (RS 195.1) of 26 September 2014, Swiss diplomatic and consular representations are required to provide assistance to Swiss nationals abroad if they cannot reasonably or are not in a position to safeguard their interests on their own or with the help of third parties. This means that the individuals concerned must assume personal responsibility and make every possible effort to contact available services and seek assistance locally (police, ambulance and medical services, banks, etc.) or file a claim with their travel insurance company. The FDFA can only provide consular assistance when the persons concerned have tried everything reasonably possible to overcome the emergency situation themselves, in organisational terms and financially. There is no legal entitlement to assistance.

Swiss associations

More than 650 Swiss associations and institutions worldwide are recognised by the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), the legislative body of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA). Swiss associations and institutions pursue different objectives. They include humanitarian organisations, traditional Swiss clubs, sports clubs and many other types of organisations. The OSA website lists all Swiss associations abroad and provides information on how to set up a new Swiss association and the documentation needed to have it recognised.

The OSA website contains a wealth of information on Swiss associations abroad. 

Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA)

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad has represented the common interests of Swiss nationals abroad in Switzerland since 1916, and is recognised by the authorities as the mouthpiece of the Swiss community abroad. The OSA is composed of the Council of the Swiss Abroad – also known as the Parliament of the Swiss Abroad – and the Secretariat of the Swiss Abroad, which offers a wide range of services for Swiss nationals living abroad. 

Contact

Innovation and Partnerships

Consular Directorate CD
Effingerstrasse 27
3003 Bern

Phone

Helpline +41 800 24-7-365 / +41 58 465 33 33