Visas for foreign nationals can be issued by the Swiss representation covering their place of residence. Basically, there are two types of visa. Both can be applied for by completing a visa application form submitted in good time.
Since Switzerland’s adherence to the Schengen and Dublin agreements came into force (12 December 2008) Swiss representations abroad are able to issue particularly two types of visa, depending on the purpose of the proposed stay:
- Schengen Visa, type C: for entry and a stay of up to 90 days within a period of 180 days, for example in the context of tourism, a visit, short-term language studies, etc.
For a stay involving gainful employment a work permit is also required.
- National visa, also known as type D: for longer term stays in Switzerland (more than 90 days). This visa is issued subject to authorisation from the cantonal migration authority competent for the intended place of residence in Switzerland.
The application must be submitted in good time: depending on the time of year/type of visa, the process can take several weeks or even months. For a Schengen visa, the visa application can be submitted no earlier than three months before the planned entry into the Schengen area.
The documents which must be submitted along with the visa application as well as the procedure differ depending on the applicant's country of residence. To find out which documents you need to submit, click on the link below to view the visa application conditions for your country.