Travel preparation

Entry formalities in Switzerland

The conditions of entry into Switzerland vary according to the reason behind the stay and its duration. 

Do you need a visa?

Depending on your nationality, a visa might be required to enter Switzerland. To find out, visit Switzerland’s online visa system.

How to request a visa?

The visa request must be lodged at the competent Swiss Representation (embassy or consulate) responsible for the applicant’s place of residence. Visa application form can be download here and fill out online.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) recommends submitting the application form 2 months before travelling in order to obtain an appointment with the relevant authorities 20 days before the departure at the latest.

The inviting organisation must vouch for the person it invites to Geneva. Please consult the Checklist for inviting participants to meetings in Switzerland at the invitation of an NGO in order to review the different steps to follow in that context.

The informative note for people travelling to Switzerland within “International Geneva” provides further information on the issuance of visas and movement within the Schengen area.

Documents to provide

An application form for short stays duly filled out and signed by the applicant. The form is available here.

Whether or not they are subject to the visa requirement, any national of a third country (non-EU/EFTA) must, for a stay not exceeding 90 days per period of 180 days (short-term stay), have travel documents meeting the following requirements ( SEM, item 3 ):

  • be valid for at least three months beyond the planned date of exit from the Schengen area,
  • have been issued for less than ten years (the date of issue concerns only entry into the Schengen area).

The inviting organization or the Secretariat of the conference must provide the delegate with a written invitation containing a certain amount of information.

The visa applicant must have purchased a travel insurance from an insurance company recognized by the consulate processing the application. The list of recognized companies is available on the Consulate’s website or can be obtained from the Consulate.

Such insurance can also be taken out by a third party, for example the person who signs a declaration of sponsorship, on behalf of the applicant, with a Swiss insurance company.

A certificate must be submitted when applying for a visa.

Check the list of insurance companies established in Switzerland authorized by FINMA.

  • Valid residency permit or equivalent document (e.g. exit/return visa) that allows the applicant to travel back to their residence country;

  • Two recent passport-sized photographs;

  • Proof of financial resources of the applicant: recent pay slip and a recent certified bank statement;

  • A hotel reservation;

  • A flight reservation/booking including return flight;

  • For employees: confirmation of employer stating the function, the basic monthly salary, duration of employment and confirming that the applicant will return to their job after completion of their stay in Switzerland;

  • For self-employed persons: confirmation of their registration documents;

  • Additional documents may be required by the Swiss embassy/consulate.

Import restrictions

Some products are prohibited in Switzerland. Please consult the recommendations of the Federal Customs Administration .

The delegate's practical guide

Budget preparation
Partner hotels
Arrival in Geneva
Useful information
Delegates Information Desk

CAGI services
for visiting delegates


Access by public transport (TPG): Line 5: Intercontinental stop; lines 8, 20, 22, 60: Appia stop. No parking on site.
Opening hours : Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm. Between noon to 2pm by appointment.
La Pastorale:

Founded by the Swiss Confederation and the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the International Geneva Welcome Centre is the single entry point for the support and integration of employees of International Geneva and their families, NGOs and visiting delegates.

Visiting delegates

Participating in conferences, meetings or training

The CAGI provides accommodation support and facilitates the stay of delegates during an international conference, meeting or free training in Geneva.

Representatives of civil society from developing countries and governments of least developed countries (LDCs) can benefit from our support during their stay in Geneva.