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Excerpted from the Switzerland Career Guide

Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Convention whose purpose is to eliminate controls at common borders and promote free movement of people within the Schengen area. The countries covered under the Schengen Agreement include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Schengen Convention facilitates the free movement of persons in the territory of the EU. Therefore, border checks, for example, have been abolished at internal borders of the EU area. All the old EU member states, apart from Great Britain and Ireland, have acceded to the Schengen Convention. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are not member states of the EU, but they have made an associate agreement, on the basis of which it is possible to travel to these countries under the same conditions as when traveling to other EU countries.

Business Visas

A business visa is required to enter Switzerland for all commercial purposes, such as attending business or sales meetings, except for citizens of visa waiver countries. In order to obtain a business visa, an applicant must submit:

  • Passport with at least three months validity beyond the expiration date of the Swiss visa
  • Completed and signed visa application
  • Two recent passport photos (sized 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm) (see Resources section for photo requirements)
  • Proof of residency for the country in which the traveler is applying
  • ...more

Student Visas

Citizens of visa waiver countries may study in Switzerland for up to 90 days without a visa. In order to study in Switzerland for more than 90 days, a traveler must obtain a student visa and residence permit. As with the work permit process, the Swiss diplomatic mission must wait for approval from the immigration authority in the canton in which the school is located. This process takes at least six to eight weeks.

Citizens of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have a somewhat more simplified application process.

Work Permits

Switzerland has a dual system for the admission of foreign workers. Gainfully employed nationals from EU/EFTA states can benefit from agreements on the free movement of persons. Only a limited number of management-level employees, specialists and other qualified employees are admitted from all other countries

Since April 2013, the Swiss government requires salary information for the registration of European Union (EU) employees posted to Switzerland for periods shorter than 90 days. This requirement applies to nationals of EU and European Free Trade Association member states, as well as to non-EU nationals who have been working in the EU for at least 12 months.

This is just a sample of what you'll find in the complete Switzerland guide.

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