Please read the information below carefully to find answers to your questions.
The Schengen Area is composed of 26 countries.
The six other European Union Member States still outside the Schengen Area are the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.
The EU Member State - Cyprus, is not yet a fully-fledged member of the Schengen Area. Border controls between Cyprus and the current members of the Schengen Area are to be maintained until the EU Council decides that the conditions for abolishing internal border controls have been met. However, Cyprus considers the Schengen visa, as well as residence permits from other EU Member States, as equivalent to its national visa for the purpose of a transit that does not exceed 5 days. The Principalities of Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and Holy See (Vatican City State) allow entry to their territories without any formality to Schengen visa holders.
The following is the list of countries that are currently members of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
Domestic passport holders - All domestic nationals must have a valid visa to enter the Schengen area, regardless of the duration of their stay and no matter what kind of travel document they have, except if they have a valid residence permit which enables them to stay in the Schengen area.
Nationals of other countries - Citizens of some countries are exempted from the requirement for a visa to enter the Schengen area for a short stay or transit, for details please check the following website.
Special visa requirement for Georgian nationals
Effective from March 28th 2017, Georgian nationals are exempted from visa requirement for short stay visit (less than 90 days within a 180 day-period). The visa requirement exemption applies only to holders of biometric passports.
However, if you are going to perform any paid activity (even if the occupation does not exceed 8 days within a calendar year), you still need to apply for a visa unless you hold a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen member state or a valid type D visa.
Schengen visa (short stay)
For citizens of some countries, a Schengen visa (Type C) issued by one of the member countries is required when staying in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days.
With a Schengen visa, you may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen Area. Short stay visa allows the traveller, assuming all other conditions are met, to enter the territories of any Schengen country to pay a single continuous visit or multiple visits, the duration of which does not exceed 90 days in any 180 days period.
A short stay (Schengen) visa can be issued for either single entry or multiple entries into the Schengen zone.
National visa (long stay)
If you wish to stay longer than 90 days you will need a national long stay visa (Type D) or a residence permit.
Any stay longer than 90 days falls under national jurisdiction and is not part of the Schengen Agreement.
Airport transit visa
An airport transit visa is required depending upon the country of your citizenship and whether you have residence permits or visas of certain countries. The visa allows the travelers transiting the Schengen territory and who will not leave the transit area of the airport.
Airport transit visa does not apply to Russian citizens. However, if the transit involves a change of airport, a regular transit visa is required.
Please consult the European Union’s website of the Migration and Home Affairs to know if your country of citizenship requires an airport transit visa in order to transit through a Swiss airport.
Please check the following picture.
DURATION OF STAY ... DAYS indicates the number of days you may stay in the Schengen area. The days should be counted from the date you enter the Schengen area (the entry stamp) to the date you exit the Schengen area (the exit stamp), i.e. both days included.
The period of time between “FROM … UNTIL” is usually longer than the number of days printed in the “DURATION OF STAY” field. The difference in period is meant to give you flexibility to plan your entry into and exit from the Schengen area, but your stay in the Schengen area must never exceed the exact number of days in the “DURATION OF STAY …DAYS” field.
No matter how many days you have stayed in the Schengen area, you must leave no later than the date printed in the “UNTIL” field.”
Visa applications from non-residents, including Russian nationals, who are settled in another country, can only be processed if applicants prove that they have an urgent and unforeseen need to travel to Switzerland whilst visiting Russia and thus are unable to apply in their country of residence.
Applications Processed By TLScontact Russia
By agreement with the Embassy of Switzerland, people residing permanently inRussia, applying for the short-stay visas listed below should submit the documents at TLScontact Centre:
All non-Russian citizens living in Russia have to be legal residents of the Russian Federation and need to present the relevant documents (copy of residence permit, long-term visa or FMS registration). These documents need to be valid for at least 3 months beyond the planned return from the Schengen area or a document is to be submitted that the holder has applied for the renewal of proof of legal residence.
Note: The TLScontact procedure is not compulsory. Applicants can apply at the Embassy of Switzerland to submit their applications with prior appointment. Please contact the call centre to make an appointment.
Note: Without prior appointment, no application will be accepted by TLScontact nor the Embassy.
Applications Processed Directly by Visa section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Moscow.
The below visa applications must be submitted directly at the Swiss Representation with prior appointment:
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The Schengen Information System (SIS) is a highly efficient large-scale information system that supports external border control and law enforcement cooperation in the Schengen States. The SIS enables competent authorities, such as police and border guards, to enter and consult alerts on certain categories of wanted or missing persons and objects. An SIS alert not only contains information about a particular person or object but also clear instructions on what to do when the person or object has been found. Specialized national SIRENE Bureaux serve as single points of contact for any supplementary information exchange and coordination of activities related to SIS alerts.
Further information on SIS is available here.
Visa applications for Switzerland are received by TLScontact, except for some categories that are still received by the Embassy of Switzerland in Russia directlyplease check Document and Visa Types.
You are required to submit your visa application at the TLScontact Application Centre or at the Embassy nearby where you are currently living.
You may only submit your visa application within the 90 days period prior to the intended date of arrival in the Schengen Area.
It is advisable to lodge an application at least 15 calendar days before the intended visit.
However, it is also recommended that you lodge your visa application taking into account national holidays of the country of destination and Russia. Please note that during holidays the operation of certain Consular services may be reduced.
You can find more detail information on how to take an appointment on TLScontact website here.
The Visa Application Centre can also support applicants who wish assistance concerning the whole visa appointment process. Website registration, form filling, appointment booking are covered to make your visa journey easier.
For more information, please contact us or ask our representatives at the Reception for assistance, when you arrive at the Visa Application Centre.
Personal appearance is mandatory for all visa applicants unless you are exempted from biometric data capturing.
If you are exempted from biometric data capture, a representative can apply on your behalf.
Please note the following points if you are applying through a representative:
Applicant’s picture must fully comply with the strict regulations. In the eventuality that you need to provide a recent compliant photograph to complete your application, a self-service photo booth is at your disposal inside the Visa Application Centre. For more information, please click here.
The application might be submitted by:
The representative has to provide a signed letter of authorization as well as the original and copy of his/her ID card (one copy for each set of documents). The representative cannot be a minor.
Express Courier Return can be requested during the appointment in the Visa Application Centre in order to receive the passport directly to a convenient chosen address once it is back from the Switzerland Consulate Authority.
The Consulate may request you to provide additional documents or to attend an interview according to your personal situation, even after you have submitted your application at TLScontact.
If the minor needs to enrol his/her biometric data during the application, he/she has to come in person, please see the question “Personal biometric data capture in the Visa Application Centre”.
Please note that minors are not allowed to submit applications by themselves, they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
In the eventuality that the representative is not the parent or the legal guardian of the minor, the representative must present an authorization letter signed by one of the parents or the legal guardian.
About signature on minor applicant’s passport
For passports of underage applicants the following rules apply: for applicants under 14 years old the passport does not need to be signed, for applicants 14 years old and above the passport has to be only signed by the minor.
It is not allowed for the parents or guardians to sign the underage applicant’s passport. If the parents or legal guardians sign the applicant’s passport, this passport cannot be used anymore to apply for a Schengen visa to Switzerland.
Passports can be collected in TLScontact Visa Application Centres during the opening hours to the public.
Once your passport is back from the Embassy of Switzerland you will be notified online on your personal account page and by SMS notification.
There are three ways to get the passport back:
1. Express Courier Return
You may have your passport returned to you by express delivery service. It will be sent directly to your convenient chosen address. Please click here to check the service availability.
2. Passport self-pick up
Please provide the following documents if you would like to retrieve the passport by yourself:
3. Passport pick-up by a representative
A representative may retrieve your passport on your behalf. The representative must provide:
Please kindly note that passports which have been returned by the Switzerland Consular Authority to TLScontact and have not been collected from TLScontact within a period of 6 months from the moment of application submission will be returned to the Switzerland Consular Authority.
Provided your application is correct and complete, the average processing time for short-stay individual applications of Russian nationals traveling to Switzerland will take a minimum of three (3) working days. In addition, the time for transport from the Visa Application Centers to the Embassy and back to the centers, as well for direct appointments the submission day and the day of passport return needs to be taken into account.
In the following cases, the processing time can be longer:
If you have successfully provided your biometric data (10 fingerprint scan) for a Schengen visa application to a Schengen country within the previous 59 months, you can submit your complete application documents by post to the Visa Application Centre.
If you have not provided your biometric data during a previous visa application process, we kindly advise you to submit your application personally in the Visa Application Centre.
For more information on the postal application submission process, please kindly visit the following link.
The Schengen visa application form (visa type A and C) will be provided to you during the registration process and can be filled online.
The paper versions can also be downloaded here.
Any person appearing in your travel document must complete a separate application form. The visa application form for a child under 18 must be signed by a parent or guardian.
If you need support with the form or don’t have time to fill it, we have the Form Filling Assistance service available in some Visa Acceptance Centre, our experienced visa application staff will support you. Please click here to check the service availability.
Before applying for a visa you must make sure that your passport is valid.
It is advised that you do not apply for a visa on a passport issued for multiple persons (e.g. parent and children together).
The two photographs required for any visa application must be:
For more information, please visit the link here.
In the eventuality that you need to provide a recent compliant photograph to complete your application, a self-service photo booth is at your disposal inside the Visa Application Centre. For more information, please click here.
Due to a regulation of the European Union (Decision 2004/17/CE of December 22nd 2003), there is a requirement to hold travel insurance, which is a compulsory document.
The travel insurance should be:
Bank statements are supporting documents for a visa application.
Bank statements general requirements:
You have to provide an invitation letter if you apply for a short stay visa and a friend or a relative will host you in their apartment or house. Invitation letter should be provided in German, French, Italian or English language.
The following information should be mentioned:
The letter shall be signed by the inviting person(s) and sent to the applicant. In case of an invitation issued by a married couple, the signature of both partners is required.
If the applicant has no or insufficient financial means, the Visa Section might provide him/her with the “Declaration of commitment”, after having evaluated his/her visa application.
This “Declaration of commitment” must be sent by the applicant to the inviting person (host) in Switzerland. The inviting person/host will have to complete the declaration and submit it to the competent Swiss cantonal authorities.
In the case of a “Declaration of commitment” the visa-procedure takes several weeks. Applicants are therefore advised to submit their visa application well in advance.
Please take note that the Visa Section reserves the right to request a declaration of commitment in any case.
All applicants have to provide their biometric information when applying for a visa. This includes a digital finger scan of 10 fingerprints and a photograph. The finger scan procedure uses an electronic scanner. In order to ensure acceptable finger scans, please make sure that your fingertips are free from any form of decoration or cuts.
Only applicants who are within the following categories will be exempted:
Further information on VIS is available on the website of the European Commission.
All Schengen visa applications - independent of the place of issue - are stored in the Visa Information System (VIS) database. Refused applications are stored as well in VIS.
In the application form under field no. 27 you are asked whether you have provided fingerprint scans during a previous visa application process. If you affirm question under the field 27, please always attach a copy of your previous Schengen visa sticker. The consular authority will copy your fingerprint scans for your follow-up application from the central VIS database.
However, if the copy of your fingerprint scans is technically not possible, you might be required by the consular authority to submit the biometric data again.
There are 3 cases of exemption:
Further information on VIS is available on the website of the European Commission.
VIS is a system for the exchange of visa-data between Schengen countries. If fingerprints have been previously provided for a visa application to the US or UK, the fingerprints cannot be used for the Schengen-Visa application. Fingerprints that have been provided for a national visa can also not be transferred because of different databases.