Although not a part of the EU, Switzerland is a Schengen country and shares a visa policy with the other 25 countries in the Schengen passport-free zone. Therefore, all foreign citizens visa-exempt for the Schengen Area can travel to Switzerland without a visa for short stays.
However, from 2024, it will be mandatory for these same foreign citizens to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Switzerland and the Schengen Area. ETIAS Switzerland is an electronic visa authorization being introduced to pre-screen visa-exempt visitors to Europe in order to strengthen Schengen borders.
An approved ETIAS Switzerland visa waiver will be a multiple entry travel authorization and permit a total stay of 90 consecutive days with each entry to Schengen countries. It is valid for 3 years from the date of issue, or until the associated passport expires.
Those not eligible for apply for ETIAS, or those who wish to spend longer consecutive periods will need a visa for Switzerland and the Schengen Area. Unlike the ETIAS, which permits travel to all of the Schengen Area, a Schengen visa is normally issued for one individual country.
In order to apply for a Schengen visa for Switzerland, it is necessary to make an appointment at the nearest Swiss diplomatic mission. Applicants must then download, print and complete a Switzerland Schengen visa application to bring along to the appointment.
Switzerland visa requirements state that the applicant must also bring their passport, which must be valid for at least 3 months from the intended date of entry to the Schengen zone. It is also necessary to supply additional supporting documentation depending on the type of Swiss Schengen visa the applicant requires.
A Schengen Switzerland visa can be issued as a multiple, single, or double-entry visa, and the period of stay granted depends both on the issuing embassy and the intended purpose of the stay in Switzerland.