Visa & Passport
Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement.
- There are normally no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most of the European Union and a few other countries.
- There are usually identity checks before boarding international flights or boats. Sometimes there are temporary border controls at land borders.
- Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.
Switzerland is not a member of the EU, however. Therefore, travellers entering Switzerland are subject to customs controls even if there are no immigration controls, and persons travelling elsewhere in the Schengen Area will also have to clear customs.
As a tourist: Keep in mind that personal goods worth a total of more than CHF 5,000 and cash and all cash equivalents in excess of CHF 10,000 have to be declared. Also some amounts of alcoholic beverages, foodstuffs and tobacco goods are liable to duty. Note: The importation of animal products coming from countries other than EU states and Norway is prohibited. When you enter Switzerland, personal effects, travelling provisions and fuel in the tank of your vehicle are tax and duty-free. For other goods being carried, VAT and duty will be levied depending on their total value (over CHF 300) and according to the quantity. Also take care if you want to travel with your pets. And generally comply with bans, restrictions and authorisations regarding animals and plants, cash, foreign currencies, securities, weapons, pyrotechnic articles (fireworks), narcotics and drugs, transfer of cultural property, product piracy, counterfeits, medicines (medicinal products) and doping, radar warning devices, and citizens' band radio (CB radio).
Unaccompanied minors (travellers under the age of 18 years) are strongly advised to have a note of consent from their parents/guardian, as well as a copy of the parents' or guardian's valid passport or ID card. For more information, visit the FAQs section of the website of the Federal Office for Migration (under the 'Border-crossing/Travel documents' heading).
Minimum validity of travel documents
- EU and EEA citizens, as well as non-EU citizens who are visa-exempt (e.g. New Zealanders and Australians), need only produce a passport which is valid for the entirety of their stay in Switzerland.
- Other nationals who are required to have a visa (e.g. South Africans), however, must produce a passport which has at least 3 months' validity beyond their period of stay in Switzerland.
- However, EU and EEA citizens can still enter Switzerland without a valid travel document if their citizenship has been established. The burden of proof rests with the person concerned. Proof of citizenship may be furnished by any appropriate means (e.g. an expired passport, official document proving identity and/or citizenship of holder).
- More information about the minimum validity of travel documents, as well as entry for EU and EEA citizens without valid travel documents, is available at the FAQs section of the website of the Federal Office for Migration (under the 'Border-crossing/Travel documents' heading).