Applying for a Swiss Schengen Visa from the UK

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but it follows Schengen rules through a special agreement signed in 2024.

After the UK left the EU on December 31, 2020, Switzerland and the UK made their own agreement regarding citizens’ rights, based on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP).

According to this bilateral agreement, UK citizens can visit Switzerland without needing a visa for short stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period) or longer stays.

While UK passport holders can visit Switzerland without a visa, UK residents with non-UK nationality may need a Swiss Short-stay visa (Schengen Visa) to enter for tourism, business, or family reasons, staying up to 90 days.

Our visa experts created this guide to help you apply for a Switzerland Schengen visa from the UK. Packed with valuable insights and expert information, this concise guide will assist you in preparing thoroughly for your Swiss visa application.

Applying for a Switzerland Visa from the UK - Step by Step Process

How to Apply for a Visa to Switzerland from the UK?

To apply for a Switzerland Schengen Visa from the UK, you have to follow these steps:

  1. Check if you need a visa
  2. Understand the type of visa you need
  3. Determine where to lodge your visa application
  4. Complete and Download the Visa Application Form
  5. Schedule your Swiss visa appointment
  6. Prepare the required documents
  7. Attend your visa appointment
  8. Wait for the visa to process
  9. Collect your passport

Check If You Need a Visa to Enter Switzerland

Not every person travelling from the UK to Switzerland needs a visa. Whether you need a visa for Switzerland depends on your nationality:

Who Needs a Visa?

You will have to apply for a visa when travelling to Switzerland if you are:

  • A legal resident of the UK, but you hold a passport from a non-EU country that has not reached a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU.
  • A UK citizen, but you were denied entry into Switzerland or any other Schengen country without a visa.
  • A citizen of a non-EU country that has reached a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU, but you were rejected from entering Switzerland or any other Schengen country visa-free.

Exemptions from Visa Requirements

You are exempt from applying for a visa to enter Switzerland if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • You are a UK passport holder.
  • You are a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.
  • You hold a passport from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, or any other country with a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU.
  • You possess a valid residence permit from any country within the Schengen area.
  • You hold a British Travel Document with a blue or red cover (Convention of 28 July 1951 and Convention of 28 September 1954).

For those exempt from a visa, check out the required documents for entry into Switzerland. It’s always good to be prepared!

Understand the Type of Visa You Need

If your plan involves a short trip to Switzerland, lasting up to 90 days, whether it’s for tourism, visiting friends and family, or business purposes, you should apply for a short-stay visa, commonly referred to as a C-type or Schengen Visa.

However, if your visit involves other purposes or you plan to stay in Switzerland for more than 90 days, you’ll need a long-stay visa, also known as a D-type visa.

Short-Stay Visa (C) Types

  • Transit visa. If you plan to transit in a Swiss airport, on your way to a third destination. You need an onward flight ticket as well as a visa for the destination country (if applicable).
  • Tourism visa. This visa is for people who plan to travel to Switzerland solely for tourism, sightseeing, etc.
  • Visiting family or friends visa. If you will visit family or friends in Switzerland; you will need an invitation letter from them.
  • Medical treatment visa. If you will receive medical treatment in a Swiss medical facility.
  • Business visa. If you will be travelling for business-related activities, such as attending meetings, conferences, etc.
  • Cultural, religious, or sports events visa. If you will be travelling for a cultural event, such as attending an art show or festival, attending a religious event, or for sport-related activities.
  • Official visit visa. If you are travelling for an official visit as a representative of your country.
  • Short-term study visa. If you have been accepted into a short-term study program (up to three months),

As you complete the application form, you must specify the purpose of your visit.

Long-Stay Visa (D) Types

If you plan to stay in Switzerland for more than three months and your reasons include working, studying, or reuniting with family, you should apply for a D-visa, also known as a national visa.

You can choose from different types of Switzerland long-stay visas based on your purpose:

  • Study Visa: If you plan to study in Switzerland and have been accepted by a Swiss educational institution.
  • Work Visa: If you want to work legally in Switzerland.
  • Family Reunion Visa: If you have a family member who is a Swiss citizen or permanent resident and you want to join them.
  • Retirement Visa: If you’re considering spending your retirement in Switzerland.

Starting January 1, 2021, the application process and requirements for Swiss residence, student, and work permits for UK citizens have changed. If you’re looking to get the right permit for living, studying, or working in Switzerland, contact directly the appropriate cantonal immigration and labour market authorities, rather than the Swiss Embassy in the UK.

Determine Where to Lodge Your Swiss Visa Application

See below to find out whether you need to submit your visa application directly to the Swiss Embassy/Consulates in the UK or through TLS Contact, a visa application centre authorized by the Swiss government.

Finding the Right Submission Location

  • Individuals residing in the UK can submit their Switzerland Schengen visa applications through the visa application centres in LondonManchester, or Edinburgh, which are operated by the accredited provider, TLScontact.

You can apply through TLScontact as specified above only if you are applying for the following Swiss visa categories:

  • Schengen A (airport transit) visa
  • C (short-term) visa

If you’re applying for a different type of Swiss visa (like a long-stay visa), please apply directly at the Swiss Regional Consular Centre in London, which is part of the Swiss Embassy in the UK. Remember to schedule an appointment.

To schedule an appointment for Visa D categories such as Studies, Family reunion, Marriage preparation, or Work permit, please email [email protected] with the following details:

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of British Residence Permit (BRP)
  • The reason for your extended stay in Switzerland
  • The authorization letter from the migration office in Switzerland (if applicable).

Who Should Apply for a Schengen Visa at the Swiss Embassy/Consulate/VAC?

If Switzerland is the only Schengen Area country on your itinerary, the process is straightforward – submit your application at one of the three visa application centres in the UK.

However, if your trip involves Switzerland and at least one additional Schengen state, apply at the Swiss embassy/consulate/VAC in your country of residence only if:

  1. You plan to spend more days in Switzerland than in the other Schengen countries.
  2. You intend to spend an equal amount of time in each country, but you are initiating your Schengen journey by entering through Switzerland.

You can’t apply for a Switzerland Schengen visa from the UK if you are currently on a short-stay/visitor visa. You must hold a valid UK residence permit. Issued as a biometric card (BRP) or endorsed in the passport. Additionally, the permit must remain valid for at least one month beyond the conclusion of your trip to the Schengen Area.

For more detailed information, please consult: How to Choose the Right Embassy/Consulate/VAC to Submit the Visa Application

Swiss Misions in the UK: Address & Opening Hours

Switzerland does not have separate consulates in the UK. Consular services for the entire UK are handled by the Regional Consular Centre London, which is located within the Embassy of Switzerland in London.

Regional Consular Centre London

c/o Embassy of Switzerland
16-18 Montagu Place
London W1H 2BQ
United Kingdom

Map

Consular district
England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Channel Islands, Ireland, and British territories, all territories where Switzerland doesn’t have a separate representative except Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Reception hours: The Regional Consular Centre (RCC) is open weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, but only for appointments regarding marriage preparations, naturalization interviews, and legalizations

Phone: +44 20 7616 6000
Fax: +44 20 7724 7001
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.eda.admin.ch/rcclondon

Complete the Swiss Visa Application Form

To complete the Swiss Visa Application Form, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the TLScontact website.
  2. Choose the Visa Application Center (London, Manchester, or Edinburgh).
  3. Log in or create a new account, activate it, and then log in again.
  4. Begin and finish filling out the Swiss Schengen visa application form.

Remember to fill in all fields marked with an asterisk. These are mandatory, and once completed, you can proceed to schedule your appointment.

Schedule Your Swiss Visa Appointment

You can book an appointment to submit your Swiss visa application only after you complete the registration form through TLScontact. Once you’ve completed the form, you will be redirected to the next step, which is to schedule a visa appointment.

You will be shown a real-time calendar displaying the available appointments for your visa type for the next four weeks. New appointments are released daily for the week starting one week from now. Make sure you book several weeks in advance because appointments fill up quickly.

After you select a date for your appointment, you will move to the next page, where you can choose how to pay (online or in person). Finally, the system will confirm your successful appointment reservation.

When Should I Set an Appointment?

The Swiss authorities advise you to set an appointment for your application as early as you can. The latest you can apply is 15 days before you plan to travel; the earliest you can apply for a visa is six months.

Can I Make an Accelerated Appointment?

Appointment scheduling and the application review process can be accelerated for individuals seeking entry into Switzerland for humanitarian or medical purposes by completing the online form for an urgent appointment. The representation will promptly provide information on the visa application procedures to be followed.

Prepare the Required Documents for a Swiss Schengen Visa

To meet the short-term stay visa requirements for Switzerland, applicants must submit the following documents to the Swiss embassy or consulate:

  • Swiss Schengen visa application form.
  • Documents generally required for any Schengen visa application.
  • Valid UK Residence permit (original). Issued as a biometric card (BRP) or endorsed in the passport. A visitor visa is not acceptable.
  • One photocopy of the BRP (front and back) or endorsement
  • Travel insurance from a UK or Schengen-based company. The insurance should have a minimum coverage of €30,000 for medical emergencies and include repatriation in the event of death.

    UK residents applying for a Swiss Schengen visa can get travel insurance from either Europ Assistance or vti.travel, a European insurance comparison website, comparing insurance policies of AXA, Allianz, Europ Assistance and Mutuaide.These insurance providers are acknowledged and accepted by Swiss authorities in the UK. Moreover, you can cancel the insurance at no cost by submitting proof of a visa rejection.

  • Travel Itinerary. Confirmed reservation of return ticket to the UK or onward travel such as confirmed overseas ticket. (Not applicable to Swiss Spouse/dependant)
  • If your visit is sponsored by a friend or family member in Switzerland, you may be required to submit an official declaration of guarantee signed by your host and certified by the immigration officials in Switzerland if you cannot prove you have sufficient financial means.

Download the official checklist

In the following links, you can download the official checklist of required documents in PDF format for various travel purposes:

Each visa application undergoes a personalized review, so the required documents may differ. The Swiss authorities may also ask for additional documentation in some cases.
Upon applying for the visa, you will receive the required form along with detailed instructions.

BRP must be valid for at least one month after the end date of the trip to the Schengen member states. If your BRP expires on 31 December 2024: please submit the UKVI outcome letter confirming until when you have been granted permission to stay in the UK. Please also provide the share code for your “right to work” or “Prove your immigration status”.

How Much Money Do I Need to Apply for a Visa to Switzerland?

To obtain a Swiss visa, you must have at least €105 per day to cover your expenses in Switzerland for the duration of your stay.

Attend Your Visa Appointment

You must submit your document file on the day of your appointment at the Swiss embassy or TLScontact. During the appointment, you may be required to enter a short interview and pay the visa application fee (if you haven’t paid already).

Paying the Application Fee

If you did not pay the required fee during the online application process, you have to pay the visa fee in GBP. If you are applying through TLScontact, you may also need to pay an additional service fee.

How Much Does a Swiss Schengen Visa Cost in the UK?

The Swiss Schengen visa fees for UK residents vary depending on the applicant, as listed below:

Applicant Fee in EUR Fee in GBP
Adult 80.00 68.00
Children between 6 and 12 years old 40.00 34.00
Children under six years old Free Free
Swiss/EU/EEA Spouse or Dependant Free Free
UK residents holding a passport from Armenia, Azerbaijan, or Belarus 35.00 30.00
UK residents holding a passport of Capo Verde 60.00 51.00

* The visa fee, which is set in EUR, can only be paid in GBP (British pound). It may vary due to changes in currency exchange rates. 

TLScontact service fees (to be paid for any visa application): 28 GBP.

The application fee is collected on behalf of the Swiss General Consulate in the United Kingdom, and the service fee is collected for the TLScontact procedure.

Payment modes

  • Debit card;
  • Credit card (American Express is not accepted).

Biometric Data

At the appointment, you have to submit your visa photo and fingerprint scans. If you have provided these during the last five years, you may be exempt. The purpose of collecting and storing biometric data is to verify identities and prevent document fraud.

Your biometric information will be stored in the Visa Information System (VIS).

Visa Interview Questions

When attending your appointment, the consular or visa officer might ask you questions relating to your trip to Switzerland, such as the purpose of your trip, travel itinerary, and accommodation, as well as personal information about yourself, such as your work, studies, family background, etc.

Make sure you answer all questions truthfully and without hesitation. These questions are to determine the genuineness of your visit to Switzerland.

Can Someone Else Apply For a Schengen Visa on My Behalf?

Yes, someone else can apply for a Schengen visa on your behalf, but only if you’ve granted them authorization to do so and you’re not required to submit your biometric data.

Wait for the Visa to Process

Your Swiss visa will be processed in 15 working days. However, depending on the specific circumstances of your application, the processing time can be prolonged up to 30 days or more.

Track Your Application

To check the status of your Swiss visa application, simply login to your TLS website using your personal account and click on the Tracking button.

If Your Visa Is Refused

If your Swiss visa is refused, you have two options:

  1. You can re-apply for a new visa. If you believe the reasons for refusal are justified, then you can fix the mistakes and apply for a new visa.
  2. If you believe your application was unjustly rejected, you can appeal the decision. Your right to appeal the decision is valid for 30 days from the date you receive the refusal.
    The appeal will have to be addressed and sent to the Federal Administrative Court (P.O. Box, CH-3000 Bern 14) within 30 days of receiving the rejection.

The reason why your visa was rejected will be stated in the rejection letter.

Can I Get a Refund of the Visa Fee in Case of Visa Denial?

No, you will not. Both Swiss visa fees and TLScontact service fees are non-refundable even if the outcome is negative.

Collect Your Passport

After a decision is made, you have to collect your passport from the Swiss embassy or TLScontact. At the time of application, the visa officer in charge will let you know how you can get your passport back: either pick it up in person or you can pay for a courier service to deliver it to you.

FAQ

What is the validity of a Schengen Switzerland visa?

A Schengen Switzerland visa is typically valid for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. However, it can be issued for a shorter duration, depending on the decision of the consular office. You can use the Schengen calculator to correctly count your days.

Can I extend my Schengen visa?

You can request an extension of your visa, but only for specific reasons, such as force majeure or humanitarian reasons. Visa extension requests have to be made while you are in Switzerland, before your visa expires. You must direct them to the relevant Migration Office of the Swiss canton where you are in.

What if I overstay my visa?

If you exceed your visa’s allowed stay in Switzerland, you could face serious repercussions such as fines, deportation, entry bans, or even arrest. You must follow your visa’s rules to avoid these consequences.

Can I visit other Schengen countries with a Switzerland visa?

Yes, you can visit other countries within the Schengen Area with a Switzerland visa (unless you have a Limited Territorial Validity Visa). However, your primary destination must be Switzerland, and the days spent in other Schengen countries will count towards your 90-day limit.

Can I work in Switzerland with a Schengen visa?

No, you cannot work in Switzerland with a Schengen visa. This visa is typically for short-stay visits such as tourism, business, or other non-employment purposes.

Other Information:

Data Protection

Your personal data during the Swiss visa application process is protected and stored in accordance with Articles 13 and 14 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation).

If you have any concerns about the security of your data, you can contact the Federal Foreign Office Data Protection Commissioner as follows:

  • State Secretariat for Migration SEM
  • CH-3003 Bern
  • Switzerland
  • Email:
  • Tel: +41 58 465 11 11
  •  Fax: +41 58 465 93 79

UK-Switzerland Agreement on acquired citizens’ rights

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