Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise normal safety precautions in Switzerland.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Switzerland has low levels of serious crime.
Petty crime, bag snatching and pickpocketing are increasing. They're most common 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:
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:
When you're travelling in alpine areas:
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
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 1000s 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.
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 medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a dated letter from your doctor stating:
Health risks are similar to those in Australia. However, Switzerland is currently experiencing an outbreak of measles. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.
The standard of medical facilities and care is similar to Australia.
Switzerland doesn't have a reciprocal health care arrangement with Australia. 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.
Penalties for possessing, using or trafficking illegal drugs are severe.
Authorities could imprison or fine you.
If you're a foreigner convicted of a crime, authorities can deport or expel you. You won't be able to return for 5 to 15 years.
Repeat offenders may not be allowed to enter Switzerland again.
Crimes that attract this penalty include:
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Since 1 January 1992 Switzerland allows multiple citizenship without any restrictions.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
Switzerland is part of the Schengen area.
You can enter Switzerland without a visa if:
In other circumstances, you'll need a visa.
Make sure you get a clear entry stamp in your passport on arrival.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact an embassy or consulate of Switzerland for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) recommends that children under 18 travelling alone and children travelling with only one parent/guardian, carry a letter of consent from their parents/guardians/non-travelling parent.
The letter should contain:
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:
Switzerland's currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF).
Temporary immigration controls have put significant pressure on borders in Europe.
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 on-the-spot fines.
Information about rail services is available from the Swiss Travel System.
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.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
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 Consulate-General in Geneva.
See the Consulate-General website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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