From 2022, Canadians will be required to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Switzerland and other countries in the EU that comprise the Schengen Area. ETIAS is a new system that pre-screens travellers before their arrival in Europe. Its key goal is to speed up the process of entering Schengen’s borders for foreign travellers and to safeguard against any potential security risks.
How can Canadians apply to visit Switzerland with ETIAS?
Visiting Switzerland from Canada with an ETIAS visa waiver requires an online application to be completed before travel. The Canadian ETIAS visa waiver platform allows passengers to submit their application online and where it can be screened by European authorities before being approved.
Applicants are required to provide the following data:
- Their name
- Date of birth
- Country of citizenship
- Passport number
- Medical information
- Criminal history
- Travel/immigration history
All the information given by the applicant is checked against international security databases. Therefore, it is crucial that registrants for a Canadian ETIAS visa waiver for Switzerland provide the most accurate information on the application as possible.
Applicants are also charged a processing fee in order to complete the application process which can be paid using a valid online debit/credit card. Care should be taken while reviewing the application to ensure that the information matches the information shown on the traveller’s passport otherwise it might create complications or delay travel plans.
Travelling to Switzerland from Canada with an ETIAS authorisation
The processing of the ETIAS visa waiver application is normally very swift. It will usually take up to 72 hours for an application to be thoroughly vetted and a decision to be reached regarding the granting of a visa waiver to the applicant.
However, in some cases, the processing time may be longer. It is in the traveller’s interest to try and apply for the ETIAS visa waiver well ahead of their planned trip to Europe from Canada in order to account for any delays.
Passport and document requirements for Canadians
All Canadian travellers to Switzerland will need to meet the following passport requirements before applying for the ETIAS visa waiver:
- The passport must be valid
- The passport must have at least 2 blank pages where entry/exit stamps can be placed
- The traveller should use the same passport to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver as the one he/she intends to travel with. The ETIAS visa waiver is electronically attached to specific passports and is non-transferable.
The ETIAS visa waiver is a travel authorisation that allows Canadian tourists a maximum stay of 90 days within a 180-day period within the EU. It also allows for multiple short-term visits to the EU while the permit and the applicant’s passport are still valid.
Basic information about Switzerland
Switzerland is a beautiful country in Central Europe. It is famous for its mountain ranges, the most famous being the Swiss Alpine mountains. There are 208 mountains that are above 3000m. The highest peak in the country is Monte Rosa which is located along the Swiss border with Italy. There are also over 1500 lakes in Switzerland such as Lake Geneva, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Constance.
Switzerland is known around the world for its famous chocolates, cheeses, watches, and banking system. It is also the home of CERN, the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Switzerland is landlocked on all sides by France, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Yet underneath the Swiss-France border sits the Large Hadron Collider which confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle. Albert Einstein is also reported to have developed his E=MC^2 formula in Switzerland.
The capital of Switzerland is Bern. However, Zurich and Geneva are also some of the most well-known cities in the country. The country has a total population of 8 million people. It has 4 official languages, Swiss German, French, Italian, and Rhaeto-Romantsch. Its official name is Confoederatio Helvetic which means Swiss Confederation and is the reason why its abbreviation is CH.
Tourist information for Canadians visiting Switzerland
There are a number of tourist attractions in Switzerland, 12 of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. People around the world are familiar with the beauty of the Swiss Alpine Mountain ranges, particularly the Matterhorn which stands at an elevation above 4000 meters along the Swiss-Italian border.
The largest glacier in Europe, the Great Aletsch Glacier, is located in Jungfraujoch, or “Top of Europe” as it is also known. At the base of the Jungfrau region is the Grindelwald glacier village which has served as one Switzerland oldest resorts.
Lucerne, on the other hand, is a quaint city located near lake Lucerne, known for its medieval architecture and for being the centre for art performances in the country. It is also known for some of its monuments such as the Chapel Bridge which was built in the 14th century and the Lion monument, which shows a dying lion honouring the Swiss Guards who died during the French Revolution.
Health information for travellers to Switzerland
Switzerland is one of the top destinations in the world for medical tourism offering world-class treatments through its 500 hospitals, some of which have ISO accreditation and JCI accreditation. The cost of medical treatment is also quite low compared to some of the other countries in the Western Hemisphere. However, Canadian travellers to Switzerland should consider investing in a comprehensive travel health insurance program to cover any medical emergencies that may arise during their trip to the country.
Canadian embassies and consulates in Switzerland
Canadian Embassy in Bern, Switzerland
Adress: Kirchenfeldstrasse 88, 3000 Berne 6, Switzerland
Telephone: (+41) 31 357 32 00
Fax: (+41) 31 357 32 10