Fire and rescue services
Exercise normal safety precautions in Switzerland.
Exercise normal safety precautions in Switzerland.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Switzerland has low levels of serious crime.
Petty crime, bag snatching, and pickpocketing are increasing. It regularly happens on public transport and in tourist areas.
Thieves may steal your belongings when your vehicle is unattended or stopped in traffic.
Tourists are a target for robbery:
Crime rates increase in peak tourist seasons around summer and Christmas.
Criminals may operate at events with a large number of foreign visitors.
Thieves often work in pairs. One may distract you while the other steals from you.
To keep safe:
You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you're connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.
Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.
While there have been no recent terrorist attacks in Switzerland, they can still happen.
Terrorists have recently attacked a number of European cities, targeting:
Local authorities may increase security in major cities during December and January.
Consider possible targets when you plan activities.
To protect yourself from terrorist threats:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Protests or demonstrations may happen.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
To reduce your risk:
Alpine areas have a risk of:
People have died.
The weather in alpine areas is unpredictable. It can change suddenly.
Before you travel to alpine areas:
Mountain rescues can be extremely costly. Check your travel insurance covers you for planned activities.
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
When you're travelling in alpine areas:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare or the welfare of that of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
You can only bring prescription and non-prescription medication into Switzerland if it's for personal use.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Switzerland. Take enough legal medication for your trip. Consider bringing extra supply in case your trip is unexpectedly extended. Leave medication in its original packaging when travelling.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a dated letter from your doctor stating:
COVID-19 remains a risk in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. If you suspect you have contracted COVID-19, follow the advice of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.
Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of Switzerland. Make sure you take precautions to prevent tick bites.
The standard of medical facilities and care is similar to Australia.
Switzerland doesn't have a reciprocal health care arrangement with Australia.
There are no public hospitals in Switzerland. Medical costs can be extremely high.
Hospitals, doctors and medical centres may ask for payment before treatment if you don't have medical insurance.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
If you're convicted of a crime in Switzerland and you're a foreign national, you may be expelled and unable to return for a long time.
Penalties for possessing, using or trafficking illegal drugs are severe.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Switzerland allows multiple citizenship without any restrictions.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
Switzerland is part of the Schengen area with many other European countries.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact an embassy or consulate of Switzerland for the latest details about visas, currency and customs.
Entry into Switzerland
Visit the Swiss Government's Travelcheck website to check whether and under what conditions you can enter Switzerland.
Some airlines and travel providers may require proof of vaccination or a negative test to travel with them. Check with your airline or travel provider for their requirements.
The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) recommends that children under 18 travelling alone or with only one parent/guardian carry a letter of consent from their parents/guardians/non-travelling parent.
The letter should contain the following:
In cases where the second parent is not present, and if possible, evidence of this should also be provided.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can’t guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.
Switzerland's currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF). ATMs are widely accessible, and most major credit and debit cards are widely accepted.
There are no COVID-19 restrictions at the national level. However, cantons may impose varying measures. Check cantonal websites for further details.
Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.
Check local media and ask transport providers for updates on border issues.
Some car hire agencies may need you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP). Get your IDP before you leave Australia.
The standard of roads is generally high.
Pay attention to road conditions in winter.
Ask for local advice on using snow tyres and snow chains.
When driving, be aware that:
It's illegal to use a radar detector.
Penalties for breaking these rules include significant on-the-spot fines.
Information about rail services is available here.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Switzerland's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
You can get consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Bern and the Consulate-General in Geneva. The Embassy is supported by the Consulate-General in Geneva to provide consular, passport and notarial services - all appointments for these services are held in Geneva only.
Australian Embassy, Bern
Address: Weltpoststrasse 5, 2nd Floor – Flex Office
Phone: +41 (0)31 310 17 80
Australian Consulate-General, Geneva
Chemin des Fins 2, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex
Case postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19
Phone: (+41) 22 799 9100
Fax: (+41) 22 799 9178
Facebook: Australian Consulate, Switzerland
Twitter: Australian Consulate Geneva
See the Consulate-General website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
24-hour Consular Emergency Centre
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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