British Ambassador to Switzerland and to Liechtenstein
We support the important links between Britain and Switzerland. We develop trade,investment and financial cooperation and work with the Swiss government on a range of international issues. (We also cover Liechtenstein remotely.)
Through our public affairs team we offer a wide range of information services to the general public, schools, universities, government departments and the media. Our Science and Innovation (SIN) Section works with UK stakeholders, local Swiss partners and SIN colleagues elsewhere in Europe on targeted activities, designed to facilitate science collaboration and R&D business deals.
We provide full consular, nationality and notarial services for the whole of Switzerland and provides an emergency passport service. Visas are issued at the British Consulate-General in Paris. We also represent the UK’s interests in Liechtenstein.The British Embassy is also the NATO Contact Point Embassy for Switzerland in 2013-14.
Out-of-hours emergency assistance
British nationals who need emergency assistance outside normal office hours should call +41 (0)31 359 77 00 where they will be given details on how to proceed and how to contact a duty officer if needed.
Emergency travel documents
We may be able to provide an emergency travel document if you can’t get a new or replacement passport in time to travel. If you are due to travel in the next 24 hours, you should contact your nearest embassy as soon as possible.
For all other applications, please check what you must bring with you and then make an appointment at your nearest embassy using the links below. Please call your nearest embassy for advice before making an appointment if:
- you have never applied for a British passport before
- you are applying on behalf of a child
An emergency travel document does not guarantee entry to every country. Read what an emergency travel document does.
Urgent travel for first time passport applicants
Please note that ETDs can only ever be issued to First Time Applicants (FTAs - those who have never held a passport before) in very exceptional circumstances where there is an urgent need to travel and there are serious and unforeseen compassionate issues.
If the traveller is a dual national, you will first need to fully explore all other options, ie travelling on / applying for another passport, before we will consider your application for an FTA ETD.
The British Embassy in Berne, therefore, will not accept or process FTA ETD applications unless we are completely satisfied there is an urgent need to travel and the applicant is eligible. You should also be aware that the process of determination will take longer in these cases.
We advise applicants to apply for a full validity passport as soon as you can. To speed up the process make sure you have all the documents needed for a local Swiss Birth Certificate in order not to delay the passport application process. We recommend liaising with your local registry office ahead of the birth in order to find out about the administrative process and documents.
For information on how to apply for your first passport or renew an existing passport, please visit the passport section of this website.
Please note that the British Embassy in Berne does not deal with individual enquiries about passport applications.
For information on whether you require a visa for the United Kingdom and how to apply for a visa in Switzerland please visit this website which is the official partner of UK Visas and Immigration.
The British Embassy in Berne no longer deals with visa enquiries or visa applications.
Notarial and documentary services
Information about notarial services that the British Embassy in Berne can provide.
If there is no specific formal requirement for a notarial service or certificate to be provided by the British Embassy, local notaries or lawyers can sometimes provide these services more conveniently, quickly and cheaply.
Getting married in Switzerland
If you are planning to get married in Switzerland, please see our marriage abroad information about who you need to talk to and the documents you may need. If you require any official documents to be issued by the British Embassy in Berne in relation to the above please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Registering a birth or death
There is no legal requirement for you to register the birth or death of a British national in Switzerland and Liechtenstein with UK authorities. The locally issued certificates should be sufficient for all purposes. In most circumstances there is no requirement to register a birth with us if you are applying for a new passport.
From 09 June 2014 the process of registering births and deaths of British nationals in Switzerland and Liechtenstein will be carried out at a central registration unit in the UK, and no longer at the British Embassy in Berne. Full details are available at the links above.
List of lawyers and interpreters
A list of English speaking lawyers and translators who may be able to help you with official transactions in Switzerland. Please note that inclusion in this list does not constitute official endorsement by the British Embassy or the UK government.
Living in Switzerland
We also produce a guide for British nationals living in or moving to, Switzerland who need information about services that are not provided by the Consular section, but that you may find useful.
Travel advice for Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Please see our travel advice for information, news and updates about Switzerland and Liechtenstein to ensure you stay safe, avoid problems, and make informed decisions when living or travelling abroad.
How else we can help
In addition to the services listed above we can also help British nationals requiring emergency consular assistance in the following ways:
provide information about transferring funds
- provide assistance if you experience difficulties with mental health issues while abroad
- offer support and help in a range of other cases, such as child protection and abductions, kidnappings or someone who is missing abroad and how to make a missing persons report
- provide assistance to British nationals who have suffered rape or serious sexual assault, or any other serious crime in Switzerland
- contact your family or friends for you if you are not able to do so yourself because you are ill, in hospital, or detained
- provide advice following the death of a British national in Switzerland, where possible we will try to notify next of kin
- make special arrangements in cases of terrorism, civil disturbances or natural disasters
- offer support and information for when a British national is detained or arrested in Switzerland
UK law says we have to charge for some services. Details of our current fees and the standards of service you can expect to receive are on display in all our consular offices
What our consular section cannot do for you
Although we try to help British nationals in a wide range of situations, we cannot:
- get you out of prison, prevent the local authorities from deporting you after your prison sentence, or interfere in criminal or civil court proceedings
- help you enter a country, for example, if you do not have a visa or your passport is not valid, as we cannot interfere in another country’s immigration policy or procedures
- give you legal advice, investigate crimes or carry out searches for missing people, although we can give you details of people who may be able to help you in these cases
- get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people
- pay any bills or give you money (in very exceptional circumstances we may lend you some money from public funds, which you will have to pay back)
- make travel arrangements for you, or find you work, accommodation or make business arrangements on your behalf
- get involved in private disputes about property, employment, commercial or other matters
- renew or replace a British passport
Deputy Head of Mission, Switzerland