Heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Swiss Federal Council (Swiss Government) must have their residence in Berne, seat of the political authorities of the Swiss Confederation; they can also live in the capital of another State to which they have also been accredited.
Generally speaking it is not possible for a Head of mission accredited to the international organizations in Geneva and resident in that city to be accredited to the Swiss Federal Council. In exceptional cases however, a country may be authorized to accredit the same Ambassador in both Geneva and Berne, with residence in Geneva, on condition that :
- The said country belongs to the category of least developed countries – LDC (see list compiled by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – UNCTAD)
- Switzerland is not represented in the said country (see list of Swiss representations abroad).
The double accreditation Geneva – Berne has to fulfill the following requirements :
- The diplomatic mission is located at the same address as the permanent mission; if the diplomatic mission shares the premises with the permanent mission, one or two separate rooms must be exclusively dedicated to the diplomatic mission’s activities;
- The diplomatic mission must have a consular section dealing with the tasks as defined in Article 5 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 (Rs 0.191.02), as well as a consular district for which it is responsible;
- One or two persons at least must be attributed to the tasks of the diplomatic mission (staff members of the diplomatic mission);
- Staff members of the diplomatic mission must have their residence on Swiss territory, within the consular district;
- Distinct boards must be affixed on the main door of the representation and on the main entrance of the building, indicating, on one side, “Permanent Mission (…) ” and, on other side, “Embassy (…) ”.
A Head of diplomatic mission accredited to the Swiss Federal Council and resident in Berne may at the same time be accredited to the international organizations in Geneva. In this case, the country concerned must have a permanent mission in Geneva and a diplomatic mission in Berne to which distinct staff members must be attributed.
Nomination of a member of a permanent mission to the international organizations as Head of a consular post with residence in Geneva
Pending delivery of exequatur (approval) of the Swiss Federal Council, the Swiss federal authorities will allow a diplomatic staff member of a permanent mission to be named as head of a general consulate or of a consulate located in the same premises as the permanent mission. This case has to fulfill the following requirements :
- The head of the consular post has his residence on Swiss territory, within the consular district.
- The consular post has to cover a consular district.
- At least one distinct room is exclusively dedicated to the consul post’s activities.
- Distinct boards must be affixed on the main door of the representation and on the main entrance of the building, indicating, on one side, “Permanent Mission (…) ” and, on other side, “Consulate (…) ”.
- The head of the consular post will have only limited access to federal authorities, i.e. only for matters that concern the performance of his consular tasks as defined in Article 5 of the Vienne Convention on Consular Relations. He should not expect to be entitled to the same courtesies as those reserved for Heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Swiss Federal Council.