As of now, many non-EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Europe. This is set to change in 2021. Non-EU citizens will need an ETIAS visa waiver for Switzerland in order to enter the country and travel throughout the Schengen Area.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System or ETIAS is a visa waiver program that intends to strengthen the borders of the Schengen Zone. This is done by screening and keeping a record of non-EU visitors who travel to Switzerland.
The information that applies to Switzerland for the ETIAS visa waiver is the same for all EU countries found within the Schengen Area. Once visitors are approved they are able to move freely throughout the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days.
Switzerland, the EU, and the Schengen Area
Switzerland is found in Central Europe surrounded by various mountains and lakes that make up the country’s landscape. The official languages include French, German, Italian, and Romansh. Zurich is the largest city and the currency used is the Swiss Franc.
Switzerland is not actually part of the EU; although it does use some of the European Union’s laws. Since 2009, Switzerland became part of the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area is made up of 26 countries. The purpose of this area is to function as one jurisdiction for international travel.
Once the area is entered, a visitor can travel around without hard borders or additional passport controls. As a part of the Schengen Zone, tourists who have a Swiss ETIAS can travel around Switzerland and to any of the other Schengen countries.
Who Needs ETIAS to Travel to Switzerland?
Once the system is in place, citizens of non-EU countries must have an approved ETIAS before they visit Switzerland or any of the other Schengen countries. Currently, there are over 60 countries that are required to apply for an ETIAS if they wish to travel around Europe.
Even those who are currently allowed to travel to Europe visa-free will need an ETIAS beginning in 2021. The ETIAS Switzerland allows people to visit Switzerland and the countries found within the Schengen Zone for tourist, business, medical, and transit purposes.
How Can I Apply for a Swiss ETIAS?
The ETIAS application is quick, easy, and inexpensive. The application can be accessed completely online and only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Meaning there is no time wasted making appointments or waiting in long lines at a local embassy or consulate.
Once the ETIAS requirements for Switzerland are met, the application process begins. Expect to provide the following to complete the request:
- Biometric information
- First and last names
- Last name at birth
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Current address
- Email address and phone number
- The name of the first EU country that will be visited
- A credit or debit card for the application fee
Passport and Document Requirements for Swiss ETIAS
The requirements for ETIAS are as follows:
- A valid passport
- Issue and expiry dates
- Minimum validity of three months from date of arrival
- Brief medical history
- Education and work experience
- Previous visits to war zones (if any)
- Criminal record (if applicable)
- Prior countries one was deported or rejected from (if any)
Minors are required to have guardians complete an application for them. Those with family members who are EU citizens will have to submit proof of relationship, residence card, and/or other background details.
Travel Information about Switzerland
Switzerland is a country that is sure to please a wide range of travelers. Visitors stand in awe of the medieval landmarks such as the chapel in Lucerne or the Old Town in Geneva.
Zürich is the largest city and known to be the banking headquarters of the world. The city boasts a mix of old and new with a quaint Old Town that is split by the Limmat River. Furthermore, Switzerland is second behind Japan for the longest life expectancy in the world.
Since the Swiss Alps are found there, Switzerland is full of world-renowned ski resorts and hiking trails. Whether tourists choose to ski the slopes of the high mountain peaks, canoe on one of the many lakes or get lost in nature, the options are nearly endless.
Visitors with a sweet tooth will be happy to hear that Switzerland is famous for its chocolate. This is because the country is the birthplace of milk chocolate. Since its birth in 1857, Swiss people take pride in continuing the legacy by producing some of the most delicious chocolate treats in the world.