Departure to Geneva

Passport, Visa & Permits to Geneva

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In order to go to Switzerland, foreigners must show a valid ID. In specific cases a visa is also mandatory. Eventually they must have sufficient income to pay for their living during their stay in Switzerland, or be able to get it legally.

The Federal Office for Migration (FOM) provides legal information for immigration and entrance.

A visa is often required to stay/live in the country of your destination. You must request the form and get the information to the Swiss Consulate when you are still in your country of origin.

Do not mix consulate and embassy. The embassy is the representation of the State in a foreign country and is in charge of all the relations with the government of the country where located. The consulate protects and administrates the community coming from his country. However, you must usually live in the country for 6 months before you can register. You will learn all the information by asking the Consulate.

The different residence permits

B permit (livret B): This permit is for foreign nationals who are resident in Switzerland for a longer period of time for a certain purpose with or without gainful employment. For EC/EFTA nationals, this authorisation is valid for five years if they are in possession of an employment contract of at least twelve months' duration or of unlimited duration. For other foreigners, the permit does not exceed 1 year initially, usually.

C permit (livret C): Settled foreign nationals are foreign nationals who have been granted a settlement permit after five or ten years' residence in Switzerland. The right to settle in Switzerland is not subject to any restrictions and must not be tied to any conditions.

Ci permit (livret Ci) is intended for members of the families of intergovernmental organisations and for members of foreign representatives. This concerns the spouses and children up to 21 years of age.

G permit (livret G): This permit is for cross-border commuters (resident in a foreign border zone and are gainfully employed within the neighbouring border zone of Switzerland). The EC/EFTA cross-border commuter permit is valid for five years, provided there is an employment agreement of unlimited duration or of more than one year's duration.

L permit (livret L): This is a short term authorisation, usually less than a year, for a certain purpose with or without gainful employment. Trainees and au pairs are also granted short-term residence permits.

F, N, S permits: F permit is for foreign nationals admitted temporarly, N permit is for asylum-seekers, and S permit for people to protect.

You can transfer your L permit to a B-CE permit (residence permit, see above) if you are granted a work contract for 1 year at least, and if they have a total duration of more than 30 months, or in G-CE if you live in a cross-border zone.

For more information:
Office Cantonal à la Population :
[Tel : +41 22 327 40 30/+41 22 327 51 36]

Update 31/10/2005


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