Visa – Entry to and residence in Switzerland

Corona update

Various regulations apply for entering Switzerland. A basic distinction is made between citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and those of other countries. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is the responsible authority in Switzerland.

SEM

In light of the current Covid-19 crisis please be informed of the following:

Entry restrictions:

1. persons who cannot enter Switzerland:

a. those who are coming from high-risk countries or regions.

2. persons who can enter Switzerland are the ones who meet at least one of the following requirements:

a. have Swiss/EU citizenship (and their family members)
b. hold a Swiss residence permit (L/B/C)
c. possess an FDFA legitimation card
d. have a D visa issued by Switzerland
e. possess a C visa issued by Switzerland after March 16, 2020 in a valid exceptional case

Corona: Schengen and Swiss national visas

  1. Long-term stays D visa (more than 90 days) - taking office/family/reunification/student
    Ordinary procedures prior to the Covid-19 situation apply to persons subject to National D visa requirements who are taking up office, for family reunification purposes or student.                                                   
  2. Short-term stays C visa (up to 90 days) - In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Council (Government) of Switzerland has decided to suspend the issuing of Schengen visas to third-country nationals as of March 19, 2020. Persons form third countries, including Saudi Arabia, are not allowed to enter Switzerland even if they have a valid Schengen visa.

The visa counters of the Embassy and of our partner VFS Global remain closed and no Schengen visas are being issued for the time being.

Cases of special necessity:

In case of special necessity, it is possible to enter Switzerland despite the entry ban.
Persons who require a visa must apply at the Embassy of Switzerland in Riyadh, explaining why they need to travel.
The Embassy will allow entry only in the following cases

  • entry because a close family member in Switzerland has died or is dying;
  • entry to continue essential medical treatment that began in Switzerland or abroad;
  • entry on essential official visits in terms of Switzerland's international commitments;
  • entry by crew members of scheduled and charter flights and crew members on cargo, aerial work and air-ambulance flights, flights for maintenance checks and private flights (business and general aviation) carrying persons authorized to enter Switzerland;
  • entry to visit grandparents, parents, siblings, children or grandchildren in a medical emergency;
  • entry to visit grandparents, parents, siblings, children or grandchildren who live in Switzerland if there is an important family reason for doing so (birth, wedding, serious illness);
  • entry for court appearances, urgent business appointments that cannot be postponed or practical training courses;
  • entry by professional sportsmen and women and their coaches etc in order to participate in competitions;
  • entry to accompany persons entering or leaving Switzerland where their entry is permitted under Art. 3 COVID-19 Ordinance 3 and the persons concerned require special support, e.g. minor children, elderly people, disabled people, sick people;
  • entry by the immediate family members of a Swiss citizen registered with a Swiss foreign representation who are entering Switzerland with that Swiss citizen for a stay here that does not require authorization. Immediate family means the Swiss  citizen's spouse or registered partner and minor children (including step-children);
  • entry to visit a partner to whom one is not married or in a registered partnership with and with whom one does not have children.

For such special cases, please contact the Visa Section of the Embassy by email:
riyadh.visa@eda.admin.ch

General Information

The Embassy of Switzerland in Saudi-Arabia have outsourced the application process for short-term visas (so called Schengen visas) to the external service provider VFS Global 

Our external service provider will support you during the application process. VFS Global is responsible for receiving your visa application, checking the completeness and acceptability of your application form and application documents, collecting biometric data, receiving the visa fee and other fees (service fee and optional fees) and returning your passport. The decision whether or not to issue a visa is taken by the Swiss Embassy, VFS Global is not involved in the decision. 

The earliest you can apply for your visa: 6 months before your intended trip. 

The latest you can apply for your visa: at most 15 days before your intended trip. 

Where to apply for Schengen visas: VFS Global 

We however recommend you to start the application procedure as early as possible, but not earlier than 6 months prior to your entry date to the Schengen states, in order to avoid any inconvenience with your travel dates. 

We wish you a pleasant stay in Switzerland! 

Schengen visa for a stay of up to 90 days

For persons wishing to enter Switzerland for a short stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period: for example, in a context of tourism, a visit to relatives or friends, short-term language studies, participating in a conference or in sporting/cultural events, etc.

National visa for a stay of more than 90 days

For persons wishing to enter Switzerland for a stay of more than 90 days within a 180-day period. It is subject to the authorisation of the cantonal migration authority competent for the intended place of residence. For example: long-term student, family reunification, marriage in Switzerland, etc.

Airport transit visa

For citizens of certain countries who need a transit visa even if they are staying in the international transit area of the airport and do not enter the Schengen territory.

Labour / Work permits

Admission of foreign workers to an employer in Switzerland is subject to the authorisation of the competent cantonal authority. The entry visa is granted only when the requested authorisations have been delivered.