Europe Travel Guidelines : Switzerland


Switzerland, travel, guidelines, visa, baggage, custom laws, health insurance



Switzerland is a great place to visit. It’s one of the most popular destinations in Europe that travelers love to explore.  If you’re planning a tour to Switzerland, make sure you know the basic rules and regulations before getting in there. Here are some handy tips:


Visa Overview


  • Visitors from any other country apart from the European countries need to fulfill the passport requirements while entering in Switzerland. European Nationals except Bulgaria and Romania,  holding a valid national ID card do not need passport. Citizens from Bulgaria and Romania are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.
  •  Visitors from Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain can enter in Switzerland with normal passports, expired for up to five years, providing not taking up employment, for stays of up to three months. Citizens of Germany can get in with passports expired for up to one year.
  •  Tourists and business visitors who travel repeatedly to Switzerland but stay less than three months each time must apply for a residence permit if their total stay exceeds six months within a period of 1 year.
    Visas for Switzerland  may take between 24 hours and several weeks to process depending upon the nationality of the applicant and the type of Swiss entry clearance being sought.
  •  Visa applications for short stay tourist visas and business visas must include the following:
    a)A passport from the country of residence, which is valid for at least three months beyond the duration of the grant of leave. The passport must also have at least one blank page.
    b)A fully completed application form with the appropriate fee and proof of the applicant’s occupation.
    c)Documentary evidence of sufficient funds to support the applicant for the duration of the trip.
    d)Evidence of the intention to return to the country of residence or continue to another destination
    e)Two passport sized photographs.
  •  Visitors, other than EEA state members, are advised to hold a return or onward ticket, documents for next destination and proof of financial means.
  •  Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travelers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

Baggage Guidelines

  • A number of regulations apply for luggage while flying to Switzerland.  You have to register your luggage before flying. Properly closed and locked suitcases or other solid sealable baggage are accepted as checked baggage for carriage.
  •  New security regulations have come into force since 2006, governing how much liquid you can carry with you when going through a security check.  These regulations apply to all persons flying to European Union countries including Switzerland.
  •  While flying to Switzerland, you have to be careful if you’re flying with liquids. Only small quantities of liquids are allowed in your cabin luggage. The term ‘Liquids’ includes syrups, perfumes, body lotions, oils, creams, hair and shower gels, semi-solid items like shaving foam and toothpaste and any other items that fall in the similar consistency.
  •  These liquids must be in individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100 ml each. All the containers carrying liquids must be packed in one transparent, re-sealable plastic bag (20 cm x 20 cm = about 8″ x 8″) like freezer bags. Larger quantities of liquids can still be carried in checked-in luggage with a capacity not exceeding one liter.
    Liquids for medicinal purposes or due to special dietary requirements, including baby food can be taken on board but make sure that make sure they do not exceed the quantity required for the flight. There is a possibility that you are asked to taste the items like baby food, if you’re carrying one with you.
  •  In case, you’re carrying medicines then you must produce a medical certificate or a prescription in your name. Fully collapsible wheel chairs for disabled persons, which are placed in the baggage compartment for space reasons are carried free of charge.
    Gas, flammable liquids, explosives, corrosive and radio-active substances, magnetized objects, poisons, matches and lighters (selected destinations only) must never be in your possession or packed in your baggage.
  •  Before you pass through the metal detector at the security checkpoint on any Swiss Airport, do not forget to take all metal items and electronic devices out of your pockets such as mobile, laptops.
    In case of the hold baggage, you should check your heavy, oversize items. Individual items may be no heavier than 32 kg each.
    In addition to the hold baggage you check in, you are entitled to take one item of hand baggage plus one personal item (eg. laptop, handbag/purse, camera) into the cabin provided they weigh no more than 12 kg.
  •  New size limit on hand luggage is specified as 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (approximately 22×17.7×10 inches).
  •  You need to inform your Airline when booking your ticket if you intend to travel with sports items such as surf boards or bikes.
    This is only generalized information and may differ from airline to airline. Kindly confirm with your airline before hand. Click here for airlines’ toll- free numbers and websites.

Prohibited/ Permitted Items

  • Weapons, ammunition, knives, toys that look similar to the real weapons such as pistols, grenades, infectious materials, caustics and compressed gasses are strictly prohibited.
  •  Food Products: Strict import sanitary conditions apply to meat and milk and meat or dairy products being imported into the European Union.
  •  Flammable items like gas, combusted liquids, explosives, corrosive and radio-active substances, magnetized objects, poisons, matches and lighters (selected destinations only) should never be carried or packed in your baggage.
  •   Edible Oils are allowed in the cabin provided they are hermetically sealed and placed under the seat in front of you. Check with your usual travel agent or the local health authorities.
  •  Perfumes and Aerosols are permitted in the cabin or the baggage hold. The maximum  weight : 2 kg or 2 items per person and 0.5 kg or 0.5 kg or 0.5 litre per item.
  •  Medical syringes are allowed only with a proof of documents and medical needs in the cabin. Disposal of the syringes is completely an individual responsibility. One should avoid leaving them aboard the aircraft.

Custom Laws

  • Items for personal use like clothing, toilet articles, sports gear, photographic and amateur movie or video cameras,  (including film), musical instruments, and camping equipment are allowed by the Custom laws in Switzerland.
  •  You can also take 2 liters of alcohol (up to 15% proof) or 1 liter of more than 15% proof. You are also allowed 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars, or 500 grams of tobacco if you’re flying in from outside Europe. Those entering from other European countries are allowed 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco.
  •  Penalties for illegal drug possession are more severe in Switzerland. You could go to jail or be deported immediately.
  •  Driving while intoxicated, particularly if it results in damage to property or persons, brings swift and severe punishment involving sizable fines and possible imprisonment.
  •  A value-added tax (VAT) of 7.6% is added to bills. In addition, drivers entering Switzerland are required by law to purchase a windshield sticker for 40F, valid for travel on Swiss roads for 1 year. Stickers are sold at all Customs posts upon entering Switzerland. Before making a purchase, ensure that the shop has the required paperwork for you to make a claim. Refunds are given at main border crossings and at Geneva and Zürich airports, or you can claim later by post.
  •  Live animals – only to those destinations where valid regulations permit Some animals can be carried for applicable charges in the passenger cabin or as checked baggage in the aircraft baggage compartment, if placed in a sufficiently large and solid container with a leak proof bottom.
  •  Small animals can be carried in the passenger cabin, if placed in a container with a maximum size not exceeding a length of 48 cm, a width of 32 cm and a depth of 29 cm. Total weight of the container with an animal must not exceed 8 kg.


Health/ Medical

  • No endemic contagious diseases exists in Switzerland since medical care and health facilities are considered the best in world.
  •  Still, a comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all travelers. Travelers can either purchase it  from their respective countries or from the Insurance agencies in France. Remember, doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
  •  Also, make sure that you have adequate health insurance. There is no free state health service in Switzerland (Swiss citizens and residents are all obliged to take out some form of private health insurance) and all treatment must generally be paid for. The EU and Switzerland have a reciprocal agreement on basic health-care provisions.
  •  EU citizens should see the website of their national health system for travel advice and what the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles them to in Switzerland. In the case of the UK citizens, they should check what NHS (National Health Service) provides them while in Switzerland.
  •  Some common ailments in Switzerland include symptoms of altitude sickness that leads to severe headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite and lack of sleep.
  • Rabies is present. Beware of the snakes as snakebites are dangerous. Seek immediate help in case you’re bitten.
  •  In winter, higher elevations might also cause frostbite. Wet clothes, wind chill factor, and extreme cold can cause frostbite. Some people with poor circulation, such as those who suffer from diabetes, are particularly vulnerable.
  •  Snow blindness often happens in Switzerland in conditions of great snow or ice, mostly at higher altitudes. It is usually prevented by wearing dark-lensed “glacier glasses” which are of the wraparound, side-shielded variety. Wear these glasses even if the sky is overcast, as ultra-violet rays can pass through masses of cloud formations. Don’t forget an extra pair of contact lenses or prescription glasses.
  •  If you get sick, consider asking your hotel concierge to recommend a local doctor. Emergency rooms at local hospitals provide appropriate medical services.
  • Many hospitals also have walk-in clinics for emergency cases that are not life-threatening; you may not get immediate attention, but you won’t pay the high price of an emergency-room visit.
  •  If you suffer from a chronic illness, consult your doctor before your departure. For conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, or heart problems, wear a ‘MedicAlert Identification Tag’, which will immediately alert doctors to your condition and give them access to your records through MedicAlert’s 24-hour hot line.
  •  Always pack prescriptions of your medicines in your carry-on luggage, and carry prescription medications in their original containers, with pharmacy labels to clear the airport security check points. Also, bring copies of your prescriptions in case you lose your pills or run out.  Carry the generic name of prescription medicines, in case a local pharmacist is unfamiliar with the brand name.

Travel safe and enjoy your Switzerland tour. Write back to us for more travel tips…


About ICICI Lombard

ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd. is the largest private sector general insurance company in India with a Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 3,694.7 crore for the year ended March 31, 2010. The company issued over 44 lakh policies and settled over 62 lakh claims and has a claim disposal ratio of 96% (percentage of claims settled against claims reported) as on March 31, 2010. The company has 4,305 employees and 350 branches as on July 31, 2010. The company has been assigned a domestic rating of ‘iAAA’ by ICRA (an associate of Moody’s Investors Service) for highest claim paying ability and a fundamentally strong position, for the fourth consecutive year. The company has been awarded CNBC Awaaz Consumer Award 2010 for being the ‘most preferred brand’ in the General Insurance category. ICICI Lombard Auto Insurance has been rated highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power Asia Pacific in India among 11 auto insurance providers. The company has been conferred the Golden Peacock- Eco Innovation Award of 2009 for weather insurance and the Customer and Brand Loyalty award in the ‘Insurance Sector - Non-Life’ at the 3rd Loyalty awards, 2010.
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7 Responses to Europe Travel Guidelines : Switzerland

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi I think this is a fantastic blog, keep up the good work…

    • Thanks Sarah!
      Keep reading… we’re going to post useful travel tips on various new destinations for people like you… You’ll also get to read interesting articles on Top 100 destinations in the world…

  2. Great article, Our book marked your own blog so we could pay a yet again about, Good

  3. of course health insurance is very much essential for your own sake’;:

  4. Socket Set says:

    health insurance should only be taken from reputable companies, you really don’t want to get it from fly-by-night companies “’

    • True! To be sure about the reputation of your preferred insurance company, visit their website and check them out online. This will give you an idea of their position in the industry.

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