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Switzerland Embraces Schengen Entry Rules

22 Aug 2013


Immigration News

In line with EU (European Union) changes affecting visa regulations, entry and documents, the Switzerland government is revising entry rules for non-Schengen citizens. Switzerland requires non-Schengen visitors to provide official identity documents like passports that were issued within the past 10 years, and that will be valid for 3 months after the traveler’s planned departure from the Schengen area. This will take affect starting 21 August, 2013.

The length of time visitors may stay in the Schengen area will change from 18 October, changes that will primarily affect non-Schengen visitors. This will also include visitors from the British Isles, who spend considerable time in Switzerland and other Schengen countries.

According to the current Schengen rules, regardless of their visa obligation status, citizens of non-Schengen countries may enter and remain within the Schengen Area without a residence permit for up to 90 days per 180-day period starting from the date of first entry.

Starting 18th October 2013, these rules will change so that stay within the Schengen Area without a residence permit will be possible for up to 90 days over any 180-day period. Any Indian who wants to visit Switzerland or any schengen area, applying for a Schengen Visit Visa would be the best option.

This change means that the reference period (i.e., the 180-days period) will no longer correspond to 180 days following the date of first entry. It rather refers to the 180 days prior to the control date (border control on the entry into or departure from the Schengen Area or police check within the Schengen Area). In other words, the duration of stay should not exceed at any time 90 days per 180-day period prior to the control date.

These new rules will not affect most travelers. However, they could have an impact in some situations (e.g. staying frequently in the Schengen Area). Stays that are permitted under the previous rules may no longer be possible under the new rules. A Schengen Visit Visa can be used to visit 25 countries in the EU’s Schengen Visa Members.

In mid-July, Britain and Ireland announced details of the mini-Schengen area they are creating jointly. According to the report from Financial Times, Britain and Ireland have both opted out of the EU Schengen system in order to retain control of their own borders. EU’s Schengen system removed internal border controls for most member states of the Union. However, the two countries want to deepen the existing common travel area, which enables UK and Irish citizens to travel freely between both jurisdictions, in an effort to attract tourists and business travelers from fast-growing Asian economies.

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