Visits to Switzerland by foreign dignitaries

For the Federal and cantonal authorities to be able to make the appropriate arrangements for each visit, it is crucial that Protocol of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Ceremonial and Visits Section) be informed at the earliest possible opportunity, and no less than seven working days before the arrival of the foreign dignitaries on Swiss territories, regardless as to whether the visit be official, courtesy, private or in transit (Sovereigns; Heads of State; Heads of Government; Ministers [members of a national government]; members of royal families etc.)

To enable Protocol to advise in a timely manner the various organisations responsible for risk assessment, and, if necessary, to put in place the appropriate security measures, to issue permits for the carrying of arms by personal protection officers and to arrange airport VIP treatment (circular No. 19/06 dated 7 December 2006, addressed to embassies) it must receive the following information (for official and equally for private visits) by verbal note:

  • family name(s) and first name(s), title and function/position of the foreign dignitary
  • date, time and place of arrival and departure (airport or border post)
    a) in the case of arrival and departure by air: name of airline and flight number
    b) in the case of arrival and departure by road: make of car(s) and licence plate details
  • reason and schedule for visit in Switzerland with details of all movements
  • complete details of accommodation whilst staying in Switzerland (in particular, hotel names and addresses)
  • name(s), title(s) and function(s) of all persons accompanying the dignitary.

All such information with be treated with the utmost confidentiality by the Swiss authorities.

In order to ensure the best possible treatment for foreign dignitaries visiting Switzerland, the Federal authorities hope to be able to rely upon the cooperation of the diplomatic Missions in respecting the requirement to notify Protocol within seven working days prior to the visit in the manner described above; the Federal authorities thank them in advance for their invaluable understanding.

Failure to provide notification within the required time period could make it difficult or even impossible for the Swiss police authorities to take the security measures deemed necessary for the protection of certain important dignitaries.

To order to accelerate the process, diplomatic Missions are advised to send a copy of the note (and the VIP form) directly by fax to Protocol: 031-324.02.28.

Note:The Protocol would appreciate being informed about all visits of high ranking foreign visitors, even in the cases where no VIP courtesies or particular security measures are planned.