Switzerland has a lot to offer, including culture-crammed cities and sky-high drives, terraced vines and turreted medieval castles.

It is easy to enjoy everything Switzerland has to offer, but figuring out the country's entry requirements can be difficult. Our guide to entering Switzerland gives the lowdown on the different visa types available and the rules you'll need to navigate for trouble-free travel.

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Do I need a visa if I'm an EU citizen?

Austria, France, Spain, Italy and Germany do not need a visa to enter Switzerland because it is part of the Schengen area. Visitors from Europe can stay in Switzerland for as long as they want.

If you have a passport from the UK, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you don't need to apply for a visa. The citizens of other EU countries are able to enter Switzerland without a visa. There is a maximum stay of 90 days.

What about visitors from outside the EU?

If you are coming from a non-EU country, you will need your passport or EU identity card to clear customs. Non-EU travelers must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond their departure date from Switzerland.

Travelers from countries that aren't on the visa waiver list will have to apply for a short-stay visa in order to enter Switzerland. For a 90-day period, unlimited travel is allowed in the 26 countries in the Schengen zone. If you are going to visit other countries with Switzerland in the same trip, you should apply for a visa at the country's embassy.

Carry your passport with you in Switzerland. Swiss citizens are required to always carry identification, so they need to be able to identify themselves at all times.

An aerial view of historic Zurich city centre on a sunny day with the famous Fraumunster Church and river Limmat in the foreground.
Get your urban kicks in Switzerland's cities, including pretty Zurich © canadastock / Shutterstock

How do I get a visa for Switzerland?

You can apply for a visa at your nearest Swiss embassy. Two recent passport-size photographs and a valid travel document with an expired date at least three months longer than the visa requested are required.

It is possible that you will be asked to show a return ticket, as well as proof that you have full medical insurance for the duration of your stay and the financial means to support yourself during your visit to the country. Proof of civil status, details of your accommodations, and documents proving that your visit is for tourism are required.

There is no charge for children under six years of age. Visas can only be granted in exceptional cases.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs has a list of Swiss embassies in other countries. The embassies in Bern and Zrich have different locations.

EU citizens can work in Switzerland for up to 90 days a year without a permit. EU citizens on long assignments will need a permit. The state secretariat for migration can be found online.

Do I need proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter Switzerland?

Travelers don't have to show proof of vaccine when they arrive in Switzerland. There is no need for a proof of recovery. In crowded indoor spaces and on public transportation, masks are recommended.

The article was published in August of 2021.