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. We also represent the UK’s interests in Liechtenstein.
Emergency consular assistance (24 hours)
For emergency assistance, such as in the event of the death, assault, arrest or hospitalisation of a British national, call +41 (0)31 359 77 00 and follow the instructions to be connected with consular officers.
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 is guaranteed to permit entry into the United Kingdom but does not guarantee entry to every country. Please check if the country you are travelling to accepts the document.
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.
This Embassy does not deal with visa matters. For information on whether you need a visa to travel to the United Kingdom and how to apply, please see the UK Visas & Immigration page.
Notarial and documentary services
Information about notarial services that the British Embassy in Berne can provide. Where local notaries can provide local services, the Consular Section will not provide them and you will need to contact a local notary or lawyer.
Marriage in Switzerland
If you are planning to get married in Switzerland, please see our marriage abroad guide for information about who you need to talk to and the documents you may need.
Please note that the British Embassy no longer issues Civil Status Declarations to British nationals residing in Switzerland who wish to get married in Switzerland.
If you reside outside of Switzerland please also consult our notarial and documentary services guide.
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.
The British Embassy in Berne produces and maintains several guides and lists for British nationals in Switzerland and Liechtenstein:
- Living in Switzerland - a guide
- List of English-speaking lawyers in Switzerland
- List of English-speaking lawyers in Liechtenstein
- List of translators and interpreters in Switzerland
- Switzerland - Prisoner pack - information for British prisoners in Switzerland
- Bereavement guide for Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- List of funeral directors in Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- List of medical facilities/practitioners in Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- Credit/debit card authorisation form
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 our Consular section.
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