Originally called Helvetia, Switzerland boasts 1,500 lakes, four official languages, the lowest crime rate in the world and the best quality luxury watches and chocolates! No wonder it was recognized as the Best Country in the World thrice in a row, according to an article on The Local. With up to 60-80 million visitors each year, generating €50 billion for the nation, Switzerland also contributes to a majority of the tourism income of Europe.
If you too are looking to visit the Alps, you first need to familiarize yourself with the procedure to procure a visa.
What is a Swiss Visa?
Since 2004, Switzerland has been included in the Schengen area. Therefore, you do not need a separate region-specific visa to visit the country. A Uniform Schengen Visa allows you to roam freely in 25 European countries, including Switzerland. The type of visa you are granted depends on the purpose of your visit. In 2017, a total of 5,51,528 Schengen visas were issued by Switzerland.
There are various types of visas meant for different purposes and the duration of your stay:
- Short Stay Visa
You are eligible to stay in Europe for 3 months at a stretch under a Short Stay Visa.
- Long Stay Visa
For a period of stay longer than 3 months, you need a Long Stay Visa. This is usually the National Visa of Category D, if you want to study, reside or work in Switzerland.
- Single Entry Visa
This allows you to enter each Schengen region only once for the period of time mentioned in the visa stamp.
- Double Entry Visa
This one allows you two entries into each Schengen country within a fixed period of time.
- Multiple Entry Visa
You can visit Switzerland as many times as you want with this visa. You can choose from 1, 3 and 5-year multiple entry visas.
The visas issued to you based on your purpose of the visit are:
- Visitor visa for tourism and meeting friends and relatives
- Business visa for business purposes
- Medical visa to receive medical treatment in the country
- Visa for attending various sports and cultural events
- Visas for official work, mostly for delegates
- Transit visa for changing means of transport in Switzerland
- Student visa for attending educational courses, internships and research
Read more: Types of Swiss visas
How to Apply for Swiss Visa
The visa application process begins with filling up the Schengen Visa Application Form. It is up to you whether you want to download and fill it up on paper or complete the form online and then take a printout later.
A visa fee of €83.59 needs to be paid online via credit/debit card or net banking.
Read more: Switzerland Visa Fees
If you are a first-time applicant, you need to be present personally at your nearest Swiss embassy to submit the form, with a prior appointment. Remember, it takes around 7-10 working days to process the application. You will need a set of specified documents as well.
Here are the set of documents required for Swiss visa.
Although the application process is fairly straightforward, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to visit the nearest Swiss embassy.