Practical Manual of the regime of privileges and immunities and other facilities

The permanent missions in Geneva, the international organisations in Switzerland and their staff members benefit from a certain number of privileges, immunities and facilities. The purpose of the following instructions is to provide them with information about the administrative rules and the procedures that apply in certain areas.

The Host State Division of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the Office of the United Nations and to the other international organisations in Geneva has created a manual on the regime of privileges, immunities and other facilities. These instructions are intended for the permanent missions, the international organisations and their staff members. The information is provided purely as an aid and is not legally binding on the Host State.

Beneficiaries

The following qualify as “permanent missions”:

  • the permanent missions to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva and to the other international organisations, 
  • the permanent missions to the World Trade Organisation,
  • the permanent missions to the Conference on Disarmament,
  • the permanent delegations of international organisations 
  • the observer offices, as well as the special missions.

“International organisations” refers to organisations that have signed a headquarters agreement with the Swiss Federal Council.

Legal framework

In Switzerland the regime of privileges, immunities and facilities applicable to permanent missions and international organisations has a legal structure based notably on the following:

  • the Federal Act on the Privileges, Immunities, and Facilities and the Financial Subsidies granted by Switzerland as a Host State (Host State Act, HSA) and its implementation ordinance (Host State Ordinance, HSO),  
  • the headquarters agreements concluded with various international organisations,
  • the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on Diplomatic Relations, applicable by analogy, and
  • the customary practices of Swiss authorities with regard to questions not covered by the above mentioned texts.