Heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Swiss Federal Council (Swiss government) must reside in Bern, where the political authorities of the Swiss Confederation sit. They may also reside in the capital of a third state to which they are also accredited.
Dual accreditation in Geneva and Bern
A Head of mission accredited to the International Organisations with residence in Geneva cannot be accredited to the Swiss Federal Council. In exceptional circumstance and under pre-defined conditions, the Swiss authorities may authorise a country to accredit the same ambassador both to the UNOG and to the Swiss Federal Council with residence in Geneva. It is incumbent upon the sending State to initiate the following proceedings:
- The sending State sends an official request for double accreditation to FDFA Protocol.
- The FDFA Protocol examines whether the conditions for a double accreditation are met.
- In case of a positive response, the sending State is invited to submit a request for (bilateral) agrément to the FDFA Protocol.
Geneva-Bern dual accreditation must meet the following criteria:
the diplomatic mission must be located at the same address as the permanent mission; if the diplomatic mission shares the same location with the permanent mission, one or more separate rooms must be exclusively reserved for the diplomatic mission's activities;
the diplomatic mission must have a consular section which fulfils the tasks set out under Article 5 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 and a consular district for which it is responsible;
a minimum of one or two persons must be tasked exclusively with the diplomatic mission's activities (diplomatic mission staff);
diplomatic mission staff must reside in Switzerland within the consular district;
there must be two separate signs for the missions (one indicating the 'Permanent Mission of...' and the other the 'Embassy of...') on the door of the representation and at the entrance to the building.
Bern-Geneva dual accreditation
Heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Swiss Federal Council and residing in Bern may at the same time be accredited to the international organisations in Geneva. In such instances, the state concerned must have a permanent mission in Geneva and a diplomatic mission in Bern, both of which must have separate staff.
Appointing a staff member of a permanent mission to the international organisations as head of consular post with residence in Geneva
Subject to the exequatur approved by the Swiss Federal Council, the federal authorities allow for diplomatic staff members of a permanent mission to be appointed head of consulate general or of a consulate situated within the permanent mission. Such cases must meet the following criteria:
the head of consular post has their private residence in Switzerland within the consular district;
the consular post must cover a consular district;
at least one separate room must be exclusively reserved for activities of the consular post;
there must be two separate signs for the missions (one indicating the 'Permanent Mission of...' and the other the 'Consulate (General) of...') on the door of the representation and at the entrance to the building;
heads of consular post only have limited access to the federal authorities, and are restricted solely to conducting activities that are relevant to the consular functions set out under Article 5 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963. They are not therefore entitled to the same privileges accorded to heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Swiss Federal Council.