Entry visas for Switzerland

Meeting document | 22 May 2019
Nationals of many ILO member States require visas to enter and remain in Switzerland for the period of the Conference. Please note that Switzerland applies the European Schengen regulations concerning the issuance of visas.

Entry visas for Switzerland are issued primarily by Swiss diplomatic representations abroad. Delegates to the Conference who require an entry visa should submit a request, well in advance, to the Swiss embassy or consulate in their country of residence. However, certain countries do not have a Swiss consulate/embassy, in which case the visa request might have to be made in another country where the competent representation is located. Switzerland has signed agreements with certain countries where it is not represented by a diplomatic or consular entity. Under certain conditions these agreements allow for the issuance of visas by a Schengen member State in a country where Switzerland is not represented.

Additional information may be found at the following websites:
Generally, a Uniform Schengen visa issued will be valid for entering the territory of all States belonging to the Schengen area. Likewise, persons already holding a Uniform Schengen visas issued by other Schengen States will in principle be permitted to enter Switzerland.

Delegates of member States and representatives of observer organizations are solely responsible for ensuring that they obtain the necessary entry visas for Switzerland.

Please keep the following in mind:
  • The time for processing visa requests may vary from case to case, but usually takes at least 15 days from once a complete application has been registered. Governments are strongly encouraged to communicate their credentials to the Office as soon as possible, so that the necessary steps for visa application can be taken well in advance (appointment scheduled at least 20 days prior to departure,but no earlier than three months before the departure date), and the visa can be issued in a timely manner.
  • All Swiss embassies and consulates are connected to the Visa Information System (VIS), which is used to store biometric data (ten fingerprints and facial image) of Schengen visa applicants. The visa applicant must therefore make an appointment with the Swiss embassy/consulate in his/her country of residence and present him/herself in person to submit and register the biometric data. This data remains valid in the VIS system for a period of five years.
  The following documents must be submitted by each member of the delegation:
  • a valid travel document issued within the previous 10 years and which will remain valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from Switzerland, as well as a copy;
  • a visa application form for short stays (duly filled out and signed by the applicant), together with two photos;
  • supporting documents concerning the purpose of the journey, for example, a communication from the Government, together with an authorization to undertake the mission, a copy of credentials, etc.;
  • a proof of health and repatriation insurance valid for the Schengen states and covering a minimum amount of €30,000 (for holders of ordinary passports only); and
  • any other document that the representation considers necessary (e.g., hotel reservation, outbound and return flight reservation).
The International Labour Office can only intervene with Swiss authorities if a visa request is not granted by them. Such interventions can normally be made only on behalf of the following categories of participants in national delegations: delegates, advisers, and persons designated in accordance with article 2(3)(i) of the Standing Orders of the Conference. For all other participants (“other persons attending the Conference” and “support staff for delegations”), member States should contact the Swiss representation in their country directly and arrange their visas without any ILO involvement. The ILO has no authority either to intervene with the Swiss or French authorities regarding the issuance of entry visas for individual or group visitors.

Please note that for the Office to intervene with Swiss diplomatic representations on behalf of the categories of participants listed above, their credentials must have been received in Geneva by Monday, 20 May 2019.

The following conditions must be met:
  • the first and last names of the person concerned must be included in the official credentials of the delegation within one of the above categories of participants, as submitted to the International Labour Office;
  • the visa application must have already been processed by a Swiss diplomatic representation.