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International Office


Entry to Switzerland


You will need appropriate ID (passport or identity card) to enter Switzerland. Depending on your country of citizenship, you may need to finalize your work visa before you arrive.

Visa and Immigration

Get information about current entry- and visa regulations from your local Swiss embassy or consulate. Give them time to process your visa (up to 8 weeks).

  • Citizens of EU countries may travel to Switzerland without a visa (exception: Croatia / stay longer than 90 days).
  • A residence permit is required for all stays longer than 3 months or if you intend to work.
  • Generally, citizens of non-EU countries need to obtain a visa in advance in order to work in Switzerland. It is not possible to enter Switzerland on a tourist visa if you plan to work or go to school.



Swiss embassies and consulates abroad

Residence permit

Be sure to sign in and apply for a residence permit at your local Office of Migration within two weeks of arriving in Switzerland (and before you start work!).

Bern residents register at the Amt für Einwohnerdienste, Migration und Fremdenpolizei (EMF). For information on what to do when you arrive or change your address, see:

Stadt Bern (in German)

Predigergasse 5, 3000 Bern 7 (open Mon. - Fri. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.)

Remember to take along:
Passport or ID, apartment lease, employment contract
or letter from your employer, two passport photos, cash to cover possible fees.

Work permit

Please contact your academic department!

Your academic department serves as your liaison both to the personnel department and to the Swiss government on work permit matters. You need not contact the personnel department directly.

If you need a visa to enter Switzerland:
You will receive your visa from your local Swiss embassy or consulate only after your work permit is finalized. Be sure to plan ahead and talk to your institute. Processing a work visa takes at least 8 weeks.

Schengen Zone

For non-EU citizens:
Switzerland joined the Schengen Zone in 2008. Your current Swiss residence permit entitles you to travel freely within the Schengen Zone for stays of three months or less.

If you are not sure whether your destination is inside the Schengen Zone, be sure to check.

University of Bern | International Office | Hochschulstrasse 4 | 3012 Bern, Switzerland |
© University of Bern 2010/11/16 | Imprint


The FDFA is the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs. Here you can find for example ’Swiss embassies and consulates abroad’.

Federal Office for Migration

Under ’topics’ you can find information on ’work permit’ or ’residence’ for example.