Visa – Entry to and residence in Switzerland

Visa information regarding entry/travelling to Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Council has decided, that entry at the Schengen external borders is generally restricted (with few exceptions).

For that reason the Regional Consular Centre (RCC) in Pretoria is no longer accepting any Schengen visa applications until further notice. 

New: The State Secretariat for Migration will allow Schengen visas for life partners to travel to Switzerland from 3 August 2020. As the borders to/from South Africa are officially closed, there will be no commercial return flights The journey back to South Africa will not be granted and this new regulation will not apply.

Interesting links are:

Entering Switzerland – New Quarantine regulations

As per decision of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), from 6 July 2020, travelers entering Switzerland from South Africa and Eswatini will have to spend 10 (ten) days in quarantine.

For further information please click here


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.


Since Switzerland’s adherence to the Schengen and Dublin agreements came into force (12 December 2008), Swiss representations abroad are able to issue certain types of visa, depending on the purpose of the intended stay in Switzerland. Please select one of the following options.

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.

Introduction of biometrics

On 11 October 2011 the Schengen member states introduced the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS will also be used to store the biometric data (10 fingerprints and the facial image) of the visa applicants.

The Schengen Member States introduced the biometric visa on the 06.06.2013 in the Region of Southern Africa.

Therefore, the biometric data of all visa applicants older than 12 years will have to be registered. All visa clients have to apply in person according to the information published on where to apply.